3D target set up for shoot off

Shoot Report – 3DA Tophat Classic

Archery 3DA series

Archery 3DA series

The other weekend Sharon and I had the opportunity to shoot a different style of archery competition to the normal NFAS shoots we attend. We shot a couple of the rounds of the 3DAs, being hosted at Long Eatons grounds. You can find the full details of the 3DA tournaments on their website https://www.3darchery.co.uk/
So for us it would have a different scoring system, a different atmosphere to the an NFAS shoot, a different structure, and format with less targets and only one arrow per target, but and probably the most important thing was it was still fun.
This 2 day competition saw archers from across the country shoot 2 courses, one each day each comprising of 20 targets. These rounds would be the Unknown and Known distances (UDC and KDC for short), one being shot in the morning the other the afternoon
We would only shoot the morning on both days, which was the unmarked course. The series is open to amateurs and professional archers, with two different courses, one shot on Saturday and one Sunday.
Sharon shooting on Saturday

Sharon shooting on Saturday at 3D leopard

The format is different to the NFAS in you only shoot one arrow per target, which means you need to focus far more. It does get a little annoying when you miss a shot you’d normally get, but those are the breaks. In the morning the course is UDC, where you can use binoculars to identify your target, but no range finders. In the afternoon you shoot the same course but can use range finders as the afternoon would be the known distances competition KDC.
The course layout is a bit different too, with all targets being walk backs. Rather than trying to give a long explanation here, I’m just going to post a link to their site that explains it far better, including diagrams of how the different layouts work. (https://www.3darchery.co.uk/sample-range-layouts) I have to say I was a bit sceptical as to how well it might work initially.
Due to the set up of the course, one of the safety rules is you can can’t collect if group to the side is shooting. This may sound a bit strange, but when you remember that archers to your side might be shooting at 50 yards and you are at 30 yards so in front of them it makes sense. As I said have a look at the link above and you’ll understand the rational. I was concerned that this waiting round might slow the day down, but to be honest it didn’t, with us finish on both days just after a couple of hours.
 Archers were given 3 1/2 hours to shoot your 20 targets, which was ample time as there weren’t as many people as at an  NFAS shoot being a little over 40 competing and I think about a dozen non comps like ourselves.
Example of shot

Example of shot at a 3D coyote, you can see coloured pegs.

Shooting Pegs

The distances are set by the style you are shooting from 50 yards for the compounds down to 30 yard max for the traditional. This meant no target was over 30 yards from the yellow peg, but those targets could range in size from a 3D Bear to a 3D coyote.
3D bat target

3D bat target

One of the nice shot worthy of mentioning was on the Sunday and was a 3D bat hung upside down from a tree. I feel there is some something to remember with this form of competition, that though targets are set at a maximum of 30 yards, those targets can range in size. This can really throw you at times as you see a large boar and you expect it to be further than it is.
Sharon shooting 3D

Sharon shooting 3D

The style of bow you shoot denotes which shooting peg of which there were 3 you shoot from, the numbered peg being the furthest peg for the sighted compounds, then the red peg and finally the yellow being the closest.
Since we were shooting traditional bows, with wooden arrows we’d be shooting off the yellow peg.
Archers on peg on Sunday

Archers on peg on Sunday

Points and scoring zones.

Scoring is also different different to the NFAS , with scoring zones ranging from 5 points  to 12 points (14 points if you feel confident and name a target zone)
Hit on the target not within the kill zone scores 5 points, 8 , 10 for the inner kill and 12 for what I would call the pro ring
One interesting thing I noticed was the use of binoculars. Okay, so I know I am likely to be hated by some NFAS archers out there but I will say that despite several archers using them, the very use of of binoculars did not slow the day day down and in fact I think they helped. There were a couple of shots where using them helped work out what the target was, since there were some 3Ds I hadn’t seen before and so in turn identify where to aim. People weren’t spending ages looking through them on the peg which is often said. Most of the time it is a quick 5-10 seconds to focus in and that is it. Like the photo below shows, it is more often the group that are using them than the archer on the peg.
Can you see it?

Can you see it?

I wasn’t shooting well having strained my back gardening the previous weekend, removing any chance of practise prior to the event. I was also trying out some new arrows with the Gateway batwing feather fletching cut which I am going to write a review of when I get the chance and experimented more..
Archers massing for the start on Saturday

Archers massing for the start on Saturday

On the first day we shot with David, but shot on our own on the Sunday. One thing I really liked was the chronograph station on the course, where archers had to have their bow speeds checked. Maybe there is something that the NFAS could learn from that.
Sunday would also see a very early start with us having to be on site and ready to start by 8 am, so didn’t get chance to get on the practise range to warm up. Both days were pretty warm and dry with the sun coming out on the Sunday afternoon resulting in the final shoot offs being under a baking sun.
I have to say I was slightly annoyed that I missed some shots that I really shouldn’t, missing one on saturday and 2 sunday. Still managed 138 on Saturday and 137 Sunday.
I think my best shot of the weekend was hitting the standing bear between the trees on Saturday.
3D bear between the trees from compound peg

3D bear between the trees from compound peg

3D bear shoot after zooming in a little

3D bear shoot after zooming in a little

I think there were times when I got the feeling of being a bit of an arms race with the latest equipment, binos, accurate range finders etc. but at the end of the day the latest equipment might help but it is still down to the skill of the archer.
Some have commented on it being expensive to enter and yes I guess it is if you compare to how very cheap it is to shoot at the NFAS competitions.
Overall we enjoyed ourselves and had a laugh, the shoot off on the Sunday between the top shots was quite fun to watch too. You can find a full breakdown of the scores here (https://www.3darchery.co.uk/2018-results) For those curious yes I’d be tempted to give it another go next year.
Thanks for reading.
View from the peg of a 3D squirrel

Hardest lessons to learn in archery – How changing your stance, changes your view from the peg

Unlike other archery societies where you have to have a clear shooting lane to the target, in the National Field Archery Society the course layer can make use of the trees and other terrain to make a shot challenging.

This means that so long as the shot is safe and the archer can see the majority of the kill zone on the target, the shot is permissible. Though I do have to say that some course layers take the later comment on Kill zone being visible to the extreme at times.

So why am I bringing this up?
One of the topics I have been asked about in the Hardest Lesson series is about viewing shots form the peg.

In the NFAS rules it stipulates that when you are at the shooting peg you have to stand with your leading foot behind the shooting peg. It’s not possible for the archer to step forward of peg to view the target. Put simply you have to stay behind the peg, however, changing your foot position, whilst keeping it behind the peg can change your view of the shot.

Reminding yourself that you can do this is especially important as some course layers, myself included, will try and present you with a restricted view of the target. An example might be trying to present a shot that makes it look like you have to shoot through a gap between trees. As shown in the photograph below, where the pegs are positioned directly behind the tree, offering the archer a view between the trunks of the trees to a 3D squirrel on the ground beyond.

View with toe touching the shooting peg

View of target with toe touching the shooting peg

To overcome this restricted view, there are a few tips you can apply to your shooting to help you cope with these situations and overcome some of these challenges. The one I am going to mention here is your foot position in respect to the peg. Below you can see my foot behind the pegs. (Yes I know the boots need cleaning)

Toe touching the shooting peg

Toe touching the shooting peg

Normally people will position their foot the same way at every peg, not necessarily considering how this will impact on the view of the target. This will often be with the peg central to the foot. It is surprisingly consistent in all archers I’ve coached.
Changing your foot position so the heel is against the peg, might offer you a better angle on the target.

Heel touching the shooting peg

Heel touching the shooting peg

So by simply moving your foot a few inches it gives you an easier shot or changes your perspective, offering you a view of dead ground or a clearer image of the target.

View with heel touching the shooting peg

View with heel touching the shooting peg

By moving a little you now have a far clearer view of the target or easier shot.
Hope this helps and thanks for reading.

Sharon shooting 3D deer

Shoot Report – Harlequin Bowhunters – February 2018

Harlequin Bowhunters

Harlequin Bow hunters NFAS shoot

It had been almost a year since we’d shot Harlequins course, not for any reason other than something always came up, so we were curious to see how it had changed. So on what was a bright but cold Sunday morning we headed north up the motorway to Harlequins grounds. Those interested can read a previous shot report here.

Julie about to start the show

Julie about to start the show

Sadly the start of the shoot was slightly delayed as they suffered from quite a few no shows (over a dozen) which caused the mighty admin team of Julie and Sam some hassle on the day as they tried to re-arrange the remaining 120 or so archers.
There would only be four of us in the shooting group, with big voice and little voice as they were nicknamed or better knows as Colin and Corinne both from Centaura Bowmen joining Sharon and myself.
2D bobcat target in the cover of the tree

2D bobcat target in the cover of the tree

Harlequins ground is pretty flat with dense area of evergreens of Laurel or Rhododendrons, and deciduous woodland, which houses there 36 target course. This being a mix of paper,3D and 2D targets. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the 2D targets as it can be a real struggle to draw arrows from.
Sharon shooting 3D deer

Sharon shooting 3D deer

The low winter sun and lack of leaf cover on the trees, resulted in us struggling with some shot as they proved very hard to see.
Sharon shooting into the sun between trees

Sharon shooting into the sun between trees

I’m not sure if it was the low level of the sun (I hadn’t picked up my reactolites glasses) or something else, but by lunchtime I had developed a headache, which gradually got worse as the day progressed. The shoot was a shoot through with a couple of opportunities to pass catering and grab some hot food or drink, definitely something that was needed on the day. It was good to see Harlequin seemed to have recovered from the vandalism they suffered last year.
2D Tiger target between the trees

2D Tiger target between the trees

I thought the course was ok, with a mix of short, medium and long shots. There were a few familiar shots along with several new shots that worked well. My only observation was it felt quite tight in a few spots where you were close to next or previous shot, especially if you were the second group waiting to shoot. Having said this I know that they are looking to reset the course in readiness for their next shoot.
As the sun went down so did the temperature, along with making a few shots more challenging to see with the sun in your arrows.
3D target set between the trees

3D target set between the trees in dappled sunlight

Of all the shots I think the one I liked the most was the 2D Kangaroo target in the hollow, it was framed really well and just looked good. Always think if a shoot looks good, archers will enjoy shooting it.
2D Kangaroo target set between the trees in a hollow

2D Kangaroo target set between the trees in a hollow

Though the day was a bit slow especially in the second half, seeing us waiting on most of the targets, we had a good laugh which helped to keep my mind off my headache. By the end of the shoot my head was pounding and painkillers weren’t doing much. For that reason we decided to leave early. This was the first time i’d left a shoot before the prize giving but knowing we had over an hour drive home, due to road works I wanted to get home.
In some ways I was glad we left when we did as by the time we had got home my headache had got worse despite the painkillers. I was worried it might be developing into a full blown migraine, which sadly it did by Monday. I ended up spending most of Monday in bed, with the curtains drawn. Thankfully I don’t get migraines often.
Thanks for reading.