there were areas carpeted with primroses

Shoot Report – Windrush – April 2018

Windrush shoot with archers massing.

Windrush shoot with archers massing.

Apologies to all readers and followers to this site for the delay in writing this shoot report up. Life has been doing it’s best to keep me busy but here it is at last.
The calendar may have showed as an April Sunday, but I think all who attended will agree it felt more like early February with the biting wind making temperature stay in the single figures all day. The irony of this being a week later we would enjoy the warmest early May bank holiday on record with a temperature swing of plus 20 degrees centigrade. The UK is presently enjoying one of the longest periods of hot weather since 1976!

Sharon on our first shot of the day

Sharon wrapped up warm , on our first shot of the day.

I don’t think the weather would help as it would prove to be a very slow day for our group, seeing us waiting on all but a couple targets as we made our way round the course. I guess this was just bad luck as I know other groups shot round with little or no hold ups all day, but I think we were one of the last groups in. Maybe putting 5 people on the peg (4 compounds and a bare bow) in one group in front was not the best plan. Then again I don’t know if the hold up was further on, but I personally find that waiting to shoot breaks the flow of the day.
One thing to remember if you ever shoot at Windrush is to keep an eye out for deer, who can often be seen running across the fields and woodland.

Not a great photo but there is a monkjack deer running here

Not a great photo but there is a monkjack deer running here

I would struggle all day with the cold and my form which was way off the norm. Looking back as I write this I believe some of my issues were partly due to being soaked on the Saturday. I had been running a coaching session in the morning for a couple of archers, on both the range and taking them round the wood. Despite being wrapped up I had got soaked and cold and Sunday whilst dry was cold.

first target of the day a standing 3D bear

first target of the day a standing 3D bear

Anyway enough excuses onto the shoot report. Windrush woodland is a pretty open wood with few bushes or cover to speak of. This would not be a problem on a sunny warm summers day, but on a decidedly chilly spring day it would prove a bit cold, with many archers and marshals taking the opportunity to warm themselves by the open fire at tea breaks.
The course would consist of 40 targets, all 3Ds, with a couple quite cleverly set, like the hyena by the fallen tree.

Sharon shooting at Windrush

Sharon shooting at Windrush

I feel I should mention that the course layers had gone to the trouble of setting wasp pegs for all 40 targets.
For those not familiar with wasp pegs, they are shooting pegs, set for crossbow and sighted compound archers. The idea being to offer them a replacement first peg, which would be more technical or challenging for their styles. So these archers would shoot their first arrow from the wasp, moving to the red and white pegs if they missed with their first or second.

I’m not sure that the inclusions had the result the course layers wanted. Often these pegs were set a few yards further back from the red, adding a little distance to the shot. In my experience and conversations I’ve had with other archers shooting in these styles indicates adding that extra distance does not make that much of a difference to many sighted archers. To be fair to the course layers there were a few shots where I felt the wasp pegs worked well, such as our first, a long standing bear. Here the wasp peg was not only further back by over cover making the distance harder to judge.

Sharon shooting at 3D

Sharon shooting at 3D

I think it is a shame as I don’t think it quite worked as well as the course layers had hoped as they had put the effort in and should be applauded for trying. I hope it doesn’t put them off from doing it again and takes these comments not as criticism but as observations. I know that wasp pegs are something I struggle to set at times and have spoken at length with archers and course layers about.

One of the more sheltered shots

One of the more sheltered shots

Though this may sound a negative shoot report I do hope to return to shoot Windrush again, as at the end of the day they can’t control the weather. There previous shoot I had really enjoyed and you can read the review here.

Overall it wouldn’t prove to be a great day for me. I have to say I was glad to climb into the car for the journey home, with the car heater on to warm us up.

We decided to treat ourselves with a Papa Johns pizza. Big mistake, as they messed up the order and resulting in us having to pay twice !! Not impressed with that or their customer service who as an apology sent us a token for £10 off the next pizza, but only if you spend £25!!

Thanks for reading.

3D coyote target set behind fallen tree

Shoot Report – Windrush – October 2017

Archers massing before the start

Archers massing before the start

On a beautiful sunny early autumn morning we headed towards Windrush shoot grounds in Oxfordshire. I have to say the old adage that the journey is as important as the destination seemed accurate on Sunday, as due to the early start and route down the took us along some country lanes we ended up dodging squirrels crossing the road, indecisive flocks of partridge who couldn’t decide whether they wanted to cross the road and not forgetting the pair of fallow deer running across parallel to the road in a adjacent field. Added to the wildlife was demonstration of multiple hot air balloons as we approached the woodland, all in all it was quite eventful.

3D fox between the trees

3D fox between the trees

It had been a number of years since we’d shot at Windrush and were curious to see how or if it had changed in that time. Our shooting group would consist of Sharon, myself and the father and son team of Anthony and Michael, both shooting barebow and both on their first NFAS shoot. I have to say I felt sorry for the poor souls having drawn what some might have seen as the short straw and others might see as a baptism of fire with shooting with us. Hopefully we haven’t put them off field archery.

Anthony shooting bedded 3D boar

Anthony shooting bedded 3D boar

The course of 36 3D targets was arranged in a series of loops round the central admin hut which worked well, with about 100 archers navigating the course easily. This meant we enjoyed a shoot through course i.e. no formal stopping at a set time for a lunch break.

Windrush Club hut

Windrush Club hut

Catering was very efficient as was the admin. In fact I thought the whole event seemed to work well. The course was safe and well marshalled, as we saw marshals walking the course checking on archers and targets throughout the day and taking the time to chat. All of which added to the relaxed feel of the day.

Sharon shooting 3D

Sharon shooting 3D

The land itself that the course occupies is a flat ground, being in an open deciduous mature woodland. Windrush course layers try and provide some height difference with the use of a platform in one area for a well-hidden bedded deer 3D.

3D badger target being shot by Michael

3D badger target being shot by Michael

They also make use of a few tree stumps as shooting platforms. I’m not sure if I am completely comfortable with this as I think some might find the footing a challenge. Maybe adding some chicken wire for additional grip or off cuts of decking with the grooves in it would help. Having said that it is only a minor comment on what I thought was a very nicely laid and engaging course.

3D antelope with shooting peg on the stump

3D antelope with shooting peg on the stump

Even though the ground is quite open and flat the course layers offered a good selection of targets at sensible distances that were challenging but not stretched. It is so easy on flat ground to push targets that little bit further back to “offer a challenge” but Windrush didn’t do this. They set targets at sensible distances for their size and used the dead ground or framing to make the shot a challenge.

3D coyote target set behind fallen tree

3D coyote target set behind fallen tree

 

Anthony shooting 3d deer - very nicely framed shot.

Anthony shooting 3d deer – very nicely framed shot.

They also managed to use the cover they did have to make for some very nicely framed shots between trees, over or under fallen trunks.
One thing I did learn was if I listen to the voice in my head more often when something doesn’t feel right it helps. On a couple of shots earlier in the day the little voice in my head was saying “come down, something’s not right” Well I didn’t listen and resulted in having to take another arrow. Now I know what you are thinking. “You’re a coach, you should know better” well yes I should, but sadly I don’t always practise what I preach. Having said that I did on one shot I did listen to the now screaming voice and it did make a difference as I came down and drew up a second time( and yes I did get it with that shot)

3D dinosaur target set between trees

3D dinosaur target set between trees

The day flowed really well with us experiencing no hold ups, in fact the only delay was at one of the food stops whilst Anthony had to replace the rest on his bow. In all it felt a very relaxing stroll in the autumn woodland, whilst chatting with Anthony and Michael about their experiences of archery so far and what their aspirations are. And yes Anthony I am Rob with the blog. By the way, here is the link to the book I was recommending Shooting the Stick bow.
The Briar Rose club saw five members attend and came away with 3 first places, with Sharon winning ladies AFB and me in the gents’ class. Have to say special congrats to Steve on his first in Gents Barebow.
I’d also like to congratulate Eleanor on winning ladies longbow (John let me know when you have sometime with flatbow). By 4:30pm we were all on the road home, making for an early end of good day out.
Thanks for reading.