Bear target face

Equipment review – phoenix archery target faces

 

Bear target face in the woods

Bear target face in the woods

Those of you who shot the NFAS National Championships this year might have already seen some new target faces produced by Phoenix Archery (https://phoenix-archery.co.uk/). Well thanks to the generosity of Mark at Phoenix Archery we have been able to enjoy using a couple of his new range of target faces down at the Briar Rose club course.

The first thing I have to say is that the few faces I have seen do look good, with much more definition than I’ve seen in other faces. They are high definition faces are printed on a plastic fabric rather than the normal paper, making them more water resistant and potentially ideal for the approaching winter months.

Generally the wound lines are pretty generous following the main outline of the animal, though a few of the inner kills are a little small, but not that bad. The reason I mention this is if you have a lot of very accurate archers in the club shooting, maybe compound sighted or crossbow archers. Then it is likely they will shoot out the centre on smaller target faces.

close up of the MeerKat target

Not all the faces are life size and I think this is probably my only gripe. I’m not a big fan of shooting target faces that are half or two thirds size of the real animal.

I think a development that Mark might like to consider is producing these faces on paper rather than plastic as it might reduce the cost and may work better for the smaller faces where the scoring zone could get shot out quickly.

Meerkat target on the boss

Meerkat target on the boss

So how did they get on with being shot? From testing of the faces I have found a few things

  1. They last well in bad weather with no signs of shrinking or warping in the wet.
  2. The faces we’ve had have been out on the course for several weeks and show no signs of fading. Neither has been in direct sunlight but the bear has been in a sunny spot.
  3. It’s worth using a few more target pegs when securing them to the bosses to keep the faces taught.
  4. Wear and tear wise they are pretty good and stand up to arrow damage, the only thing you have to be careful of is drawing the arrows. Carbon and alleys tend to be ok, but we’ve noticed that wooden arrow piles can snag on the fabric when drawing. To be fair Mark mentioned this to us when he gave them to us.

Unlike hessian targets the fabric weave doesn’t close up after the arrows are drawn so you are left with a hole.

Bear target face - close up

Bear target face – close up

Overall I think they can work pretty well especially if you looking for an all-weather target face suitable for leaving out over the winter months where paper faces would simply turn to mush. If you have a few good archers the 24 might get shot out pretty quickly but they will still look cool.

I’m not sure when Mark at Phoenix is going to post the prices details on the website for the full range, but there are some up there, so drop him a line.

Once again, we’d like to express our thanks to Mark for his generous donation to the club of the face.

Thanks for reading.

Sharon shooting 3D between the trees

Shoot report – Thornbury Archers – October 2018

Thornbury Archers October shoot

Thornbury Archers October shoot

So on a very foggy Sunday morning we would load up the car and head south on the motorway to just outside Bristol for the Thornbury archers NFAS shoot. Thornbury had wanted to start early, stating registration would close and they wanted to start by 9:30, so it was an earlier start for us being a little over an hour drive. I’m not sure exactly what time we did get started shooting in the end as it didn’t feel that much earlier than normal. Thankfully the fog quickly burnt off making the journey easier and leading to a lovely bright autumnal day.

Sharon shooting a 3D panther

Sharon shooting a 3D panther between the trees

This was the first shoot we would have done since the NFAS national championships in mid-September and only the third time I’d picked up a bow since, so there would be a few cobwebs to clear and muscles needing reminding of how to shoot. It was a good opportunity to catch up with people and a chance to have a chat with friends we hadn’t seen for a few weeks.

Jim shooting another 3D owl

Jim shooting another 3D owl in the early morning sunlight

The woods are a mix of deciduous trees with a few areas of dense undergrowth allowing for a few dark corners. The land is mostly flat, with only a few gullies and the famous Thornbury tower shot which this year would be at a 3D bear in the undergrowth. The set-up of the course was to be 40 targets, being a mix of 3d and paper faces.

There would be five of us in our shooting group, with Gail in ladies hunting tackle, Jim shooting trad bow hunter (both of whom we’d shot with at Druids earlier in the year) and Martin shooting in the primitive class, with a bow he had only finished making a couple of days earlier.

Martin shooting 3D wolf

Martin shooting 3D wolf

The course layers made some good use of dead ground and also were able to use a new part of woodland offering some lovely shots in the early morning sun and views of some ancient oaks.

One of the ancient oaks and cleverly set targets

One of the ancient oaks and cleverly set 3D targets

This meant there were several new shots as they had reworked areas of the woods completely from our last visit. You can read a shoot report of that visit here.

The day would flow well, with lots of conversations and jokes interrupted by the occasional shooting. This made for a very relaxing and enjoyable day. Top marks to the catering team too, who seemed well organised and had an ample supply of lemon drizzle cake.

Personally I think there were a couple of shots that were stretched, where maybe the red peg might have been better suite as a position for a wasp peg. They did use wasp pegs on some shots, which was nice to see. The two shots that I mean was one at a small squirrel on the wooden stump (One Two Tree) and a paper face caribou in the gully another.

squirrel 3D on the stump

squirrel 3D on the stump

To be fair to the course layers I did think they set some really nice shots, including one of the 3D owls. This target was set to appear as though it was sitting in a nest but was in fact on a post a few feet behind.

Martin shooting the owl 3D between the trees

Martin shooting the owl 3D between the trees

Close up of the owl between the trees

Close up of the owl between the trees

I feel the only negative of the day was the number of arrows Sharon broke, 5 in total with a couple being due to the metal hoop pins used to secure the 3D targets. She had one hit the pin and glance off and another on the same target hit the 3D and penetrate the foam hitting the securing pin. I did mention this to one of the marshals, suggesting in future they might want to reconsider using the metal pins replacing them with wood dowels as it would be kinder on any arrows. Other than the fatalities to the arrows it was a really enjoyable day.

Sharon shooting the paper face tiger on the hillside

Sharon shooting the paper face tiger on the hillside

I’ve always liked Thornbury as on previous occasions they have always had a couple of nicely set targets, normally a fox 3D set to appear to be going through a dustbin. Whilst they didn’t have this shot this year, they did have some very nice shots. Our last being one, a paper face Tiger on a hillside is well worth mentioning as it looked great.

close up view of the tiger face on the hillside

close up view of the tiger face on the hillside

So after a fun day of shooting, we came away with a gold for Sharon in ladies AFB and I secured a silver, missing out on gold by 2 points.

Thanks for reading.

Sharon on the ermin shot

Shoot report – Centaura bowmen – September 2018

Centaura Bowmen shot

Centaura Bowmen shot

Centaura Bowmen’s ground is over an hour drive from home on a good day, so it would be an early start for us to make sure we got there in good time. It is a ground we know quite well, situated outside Derby. For those interested you can read a previous shoot report here.

As it was it would be a warm and pleasant early autumn day, with great company as we were joined by the recently married Mr and Mrs Hands, shooting traditional bowhunter and bowhunter respectively. Congratulations to you both again, it was a great wedding.

Shooting group of Roger, Julie and Sharon

Shooting group of Roger, Julie and Sharon

Since our last visit to their grounds Centaura course layers had worked hard on resetting sections of the course, not easy in the confined space they have to work in. There were a few familiar shots for those that had visited before, such as their very short shot on the weasel. Overall I feel the hard work paid off and the changes worked pretty well, though maybe a few more arrows or red and white tape to clearly mark the new routes would have helped, as in a couple of places people tended to revert to old known routes, which now were defunct.

Mrs Hands shooting paper face

Mrs Hands shooting paper face

The course itself consisted of a 36 target course comprising a mix of paper faces and 3d targets. Many of the paper faces are custom faces produced in house. These have generous lines but some were a bit small for the distances they were set and not that clear to make out, like the chicken, yes chicken target. This was a light brown bird on a brown grass background. Another that sparked debate as it wasn’t that clear was the black badger on a black background, on a black boss.

Mrs Hands shooting

Mrs Hands shooting

There were a couple of predator prey shots would allow you to boast your scores if you were lucky enough to get the predator with the first arrow.

Roger aka Mr Hands shooting a paper face wolf

Roger aka Mr Hands shooting a paper face wolf

As I have said in previous shoot reports Centaura operate a lunch break as otherwise due to the route round the wood you would only pass catering once in the day. On this occasion they set a lunch hour break from 12:30 to 1:30. Maybe this was a bit too long but, it allowed archers to get back to the muster point and grab some food without having to have to then rush back out for the restart. This made for a more relaxing lunch break allowing archers to chat over a coffee and sandwich.

One thing I think the organisers do need to do is marshal the lunch break stop carefully. At 12:25 they sound a horn to inform archers to finish shooting the target they are on. Archers were instructed at muster not to start walking off course until the second horn sounded at 12:30. This was to ensure archers could walk safely off the course. Unfortunately not all archers followed these instructions, meaning some started walking off at 12:25, worse still some took short cuts across the course using old paths. I know I stopped one group who were walking off early.

Sharon shooting 3D panther

Sharon shooting 3D panther

As is pretty normal for Centaura the shoot was well attended with over 100 archers. The reworked course flowed well with no obvious hold ups though it was a little slower in the afternoon, possibly because it was post lunch or because we entered the area of the course which had quite a few smaller faces.

We, along with many other groups had shot 20 targets of the 36 target course by lunch break.

Despite being so well attended or maybe a testimony to good organisation involved, it was an early end with us leaving by 4:30 pm after all the prizes and raffles had been awarded.

Sharon shot well winning ladies American Flat bow and I managed to place first in gents flat bow too.

Thanks for reading.