Shoot Report – Spirit of Sherwood – December 2015

Spirit of Sherwood Wooden Arrow shoot

Spirit of Sherwood Wooden Arrow shoot

So last shoot of the year and our thanks to all at Spirit of Sherwood for making it a good one.  They hosted a wooden arrow only shoot which unsurprisingly was well attended with an excess of 100 archers. Spirit ground is a long drive for us and knowing they wanted an early start along with the weather not looking great  we decided to stop over in Worksop the night before. For those overseas readers, parts of the UK have been battered by high winds and heavy rain resulting in serious flooding in Cumbria and southern Scotland, with the rest of the country experiencing high winds.
As it was the choice of motel was good as it was a 10 minute drive to spirits grounds and an easy walk to a local bar for an evening meal on Saturday.
3D baboon in the morning sun light

3D baboon in the morning sun light

So Sunday morning saw us packing up and heading down the road to Spirit. As I’ve said the shoot would be wooden arrow only meaning reduced number of classes, with there being Longbow, Amerian Flatbow, Hunting tackle and Primitive, all shooting wooden arrows with feather fletchings and no sights. Here is a link to last years shoot report.

It would be a 36 target course with a majority of 3d targets and only a few paper faces.
3d beaver complete with sawdust

3d beaver complete with sawdust

Our group would include Jackie and Charlie from Castle Bowmen both shooting hunting tackle. This would be the first time Sharon would be shooting her new Blackbrook American flatbow at a shoot, though she had had a little practise down at the club woods.

Sharon Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

Sharon Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

The course included one moving target a festive 3d turkey along with a predator prey.
Throughout the course Spirit had distributed boxes of sweets as festive treats for archers to help themselves,  a very kind and generous touch.

Spirit of Sherwood gift to archers

Spirit of Sherwood gift to archers

The shoot flowed well with no hold ups or apparent problems with the whole thing being completed by 3 pm allowing for all to set off home while there was still light.

3D bedded dear

3D bedded dear

There were some nice new 3d targets I hadn’t seen before including a 3D boar and bear.

Nice 3D bear target I hadn't seen before

Nice 3D bear target I hadn’t seen before

3D Boar hidden behind the tree

3D Boar hidden behind the tree

Being a  pretty flat ground spirit made use of a couple of tree stumps for elevated shots along with a few nicely framed shots between trees including one of a climbing cat 3d I’d not seen before.

Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

3D car climbing the tree

3D car climbing the tree

Overall it was a really relaxed enjoyable shoot with good company and great atmosphere. There we no stretched targets just well set course at sensible distances, well done guys. We were lucky with the weather too as it was mostly dry except for the briefest of showers.  It was nice to chat with friends and fellow stick throwers along with other Fellowship of the Bow Facebook group members.
Sharon shot well and she came away with first in ladies American flatbow sadly I only managed third missing out on first by 8 points.
Thanks for reading and have a safe and enjoyable festive season.

Shoot Report – SVYF – April 2015

SVYF - archers waiting to go out on course

SVYF – archers waiting to go out on course

The weather stayed dry but the wind was ever so present.
SVYF is our club and this means this shoot report will be from the view of the organisers rather than competitors. You can read some earlier reports here Autumn 2014, Spring 2014.
Helping to run a shoot is a lot more tiring than shooting and it gives you a great insight into the work involved in setting courses.
The course this time comprised of 40 targets mostly 3Ds with a few paper faces. I’ve loaded some pictures on my Tumblr site (http://offthearrowshelf.tumblr.com/) already but here are a few more. Sorry there aren’t any action shots was a bit busy.
Predator prey shot

Predator prey shot

3D boar

3D boar

We delayed the start from 10 due to an accident on the motorway that delayed many archers’ arrival. As it was we only had 3 no shows, resulting in over 180 archers attending. It was great to catch up with so many fellow archers, friends and a few readers of this blog. It is always great to meet up with readers of this site so please if you do see us a t a shoot pop over and say hi. (Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for the shoulder)
Ever present tiger 3D

Ever present tiger 3D

The wood surrounds a couple of over grown ponds and is quite sheltered except on one side where the edge of the wood is exposed to open fields. Archers on this side would be battered by exceedingly strong winds, making the archery challenging to say the least. I think the compound archers suffered the most as their arrows were flicked off their rests.
Frog 3D between the trees

Frog 3D between the trees

Besides the high winds the only other problem which was partly under our control was the running repairs on bridges.
Can you spot the 3D Cobra

Can you spot the 3D Cobra

In SVYF we have over 13 bridges ranging from only a few feet in length to over 100 feet. We run regular checks on the bridges, replacing planks etc, but with over 180 archers trekking across them, plus organisers we had a few planks break. The only problem was they seemed to all go on one bridge, we had seven go on one bridge in the space of 20 minutes. Added to this was that target was 40 shot was across the bridge so we had our work cut out for us, cutting new planks, removing old ones and replacing them.
Bedded deer 3D

Bedded deer 3D

Overall the day seemed to run well, with archers enjoying themselves. Sadly not everyones day went as well due to delays on the course, we finally traced these delays to one group that were being very slow in shooting and scoring.
SVYF next shoot is in early October, hopefully it won’t be so windy.
Thanks for reading

Question from a reader – Aiming without sights

Recently I had a couple of questions sent to the blog by one of my readers.
It’s always good to have feedback and if I can help I will.  The subject matter of the questions posed are ones I think many would find interesting as one concerns the concepts of aiming and the other is on reducing the size of your grouping in the target.
I will try and answer each in turn over the next few weeks. Firstly I will discuss focus and aiming. The question was
“When you place your concentration on a small point at the target or animal, while you are pulling and about to get to your anchor point, do you take your eyes off the target for a second, and look at  the aliment of arrow with it ,or simply never see nothing else but the target point…”

There are a couple of things to consider here. One is focus on target with the other being arrow alignment.

Arrow alignment

When I first started archery I was very aware of the arrow. Sighting down the arrow to ensure it was pointing the right way.
This is what is taught to most archers to ensure they are lined up with the target.
I find now that I only do this when using a new bow or one I’m unfamiliar with. The rest of the time it is purely subconscious.
I try to fix my focus on a spot on the target where I want my arrow to hit.

Focus

So the simple answer to this question is no I don’t let my focus wander. I try to keep my point of focus set on where I want to hit. This is far easier said than done and takes practice and concentration. I  find if my eyes wander, then the arrow will follow where I am looking and not where I wanted it to go. Sharon and I both use this technique.
It takes discipline and practice, a lot of practise and I  don’t think I have fully mastered the technique yet.

The only problem is when you can’t pick a point on the target due to poor lighting. Something that can happen on shoots or at the end of the day as the shadows increase and light begins to fade.
Some of you will be aware that I’m not a gap shooter and consider myself as instinctive archer. Subconsciously my brain or should that read brain cell ☺is calculating the distance and telling my limbs when to release when i have where drawn up to. Great in theory but requires constant practice to maintain that awareness and internal sight map. It is also very fatiguing as it takes concentration of all things to relax and not second guess yourself.

Obviously this method doesn’t work for those archers using scopes or sights as they have to calculate the distance to be able to adjust the sights accordingly.

One book I have found resonates with me is Beginners guide to traditional archery by Brian Sorrells (book review here)
 Beginner's guide to tradional archery

The mindset of the author and style of writing is one I have found easy to follow and explain to others.
The concept of one arrow shooting I find  beneficial for developing focus. Here the author explains how you shoot only one arrow and then retrieve it and shoot again. This helps you focus on the individual shot and your form.

Another useful article is this one on various forms of aiming. It covers different forms of aiming from instinctive to gap shooters.

In the next post I will try to answer the question on improving grouping.
Thanks for reading.