3D deer in field

Shoot Report – Barry Cheadles’ 3D course October 2019

Sun through the trees

Sun through the trees

This was another shoot where I would be behind a camera rather than a bow, but I wanted to get something written and out there as I feel its worth promoting. This isn’t an NFAS club by run Barry Cheadle who does all the course laying and preparation.
Situated at Bower Hill, Nr Button Oak its about a 45 minute drive for us, depending on the traffic. In fact it wasn’t the traffic that delayed us but the weather, as when we were packing the car to leave we were having to scrape the ice off the outside, that was  once we got that far as the padlock on the gate was actually frozen. Anyhow lets get back to the shoot report.
Groups mustering

Groups mustering

The course consisted of 30 targets, all of which were 3D targets ranging in sizes from some small rabbits to wolves, not forgetting the small carp set in the stream.
The grounds are a hillside which comprises a mixed woodland and sections of confers, offering a variety of terrains and lighting.
Archers in the woods

Archers in the woods

One negative comment I will make and to be fare was completely outside of Barry’s control. The previous day the area, like much of the UK had had very heavy rain. This made some of the paths and routes through the course quite treacherous underfoot, with them resembling streams rather than pathways. I know Barry is looking at this for his next shoot and as I said I don’t think he was expecting the weather we had the day before.
Archers waiting for the off

Archers waiting for the off

This wasn’t his first shoot and I was glad to see the course numbers were up from previous shoots he’s organised with there being over 40 archers all of them shooting unsighted classes.
Archers gathering

Archers gathering

The scoring system  was different to other competitions but was easy to follow. Barry combined elements from the NFAS and  Border archery competitions. You got your shooting peg on which there was one for an adult and one for a junior. You shot your first arrow and if you were in you were going to score 15 points if in the animal or 20 points if in the kill /  central marked zone. If you were not successful of your first arrow you can take a second row from the same peg, with a potential of 5 points or 10 points. This made it very easy for both the maths and also for newbies or experienced archers. It also made for a pretty fast shoot, which is ideal in the winter months.
Wooden arrow and Carbon arrow

Wooden arrow and Carbon arrow fighting for central spot

Unlike the NFAS you weren’t having to move pegs and it meant you could try and adapt for your second shot if you need one.  I wonder whether it makes it a bit easier for the course layer too as you set your shooting line and have less issues with different positions along that line. I’ve commented already on the weather on the previous day and early morning but have to say that Sunday was a truly glorious day with bright sunshine if a little on the chilly side.
As I said getting round in a few places was quite challenging due to the previous days heavy rain fall. I think a few more direction signs might have helped too as Barry was using new areas of the woodland.
Archers in the field

Archers in the field

Not all targets were in the woods somewhere outside in fields making for a bit of a nice mix. He also has the ability to shoot out from the wood into fields or from fields into the wood which offers a nice contrast.
3D deer in field

3D deer in field

There weren’t that many long shots, by long I mean over 30 yards but I think it is quite a technical course and works well for developing skills.
I hope Barry will run future shoots as I’ve been to a couple of his and each has improved on the previous. He asked for comments and feedback and I think he’s received lots, the majority of which have been positive and constructive in any criticism.
Sharon shooting

Sharon shooting

One interesting thing Barry has to do, which is the same as we have to at our shoot grounds is to mark any deer targets. He actually puts some coloured tape around the ear all the neck to signify it is actually a target, as his area has a small resident wild herd of deer which occasionally puts in an appearance.
On the peg waiting for the start

On the peg waiting for the start

 In all I think it was  a really good day I think the only downside was if the fact that it was 30 targets without a break I think maybe in future he could reorganise the paths so that you can have a break halfway around.
Considering this has been set by one person I think it’s done really well and want to wish him the best of luck in the future.
Thanks for reading.
Bit dark, but purple shaft with bat wing fletching

Equipment review – Batwing feather fletchings

Rob Shooting

Rob Shooting

Okay, so for the past several months I have been trying out a new flethching profile on my arrow set up. In the past I have always stuck with the shield profile, with Sharon preferring a parabolic profile on her arrows. I feel that a lot of the time it is personal preference, but I’ve found a 4 or 5 inch shield to work well on my flatbows and a 3 inch has always been my preferred choice on my recurves.

These new fletching are a completely different profile called Batwing and being produced by Gateway (https://www.gatewayfeathers.com/ ). So would they prove to be a Joker in the deck or a hidden ace? Sorry had to include some kind of Batman related joke. You can partly blame Sharon for the joke as she’s nicknamed this batch of arrows the Jokers due to the colour scheme resemblimg the colours of the Jokers suit from Batman. Then again it might be nothing to do with colours and more to do with how I shoot them.

So why those colours?  Well I went with bright yellow fletchings and green nocks in the hope I would be able to see them in the target against the purple cresting.

Batwing fletching

Batwing fletching

The purple was partly because of it being club colours and a follow on from testing out the paints Lee had provided me for the Goblin Snot paint review a few months back. If you haven’t seen the review I was quite impressed by the paints.

Back to this review, the fletschings come in three sizes, 2 inch, 3 ½ inch and 4 ½ inch. Though I have all three sizes I’ve only tried out the latter two sizes on my flatbow. Of these two, I found that for my flatbow setup the 4 ½ inch have proved best. I know a couple of compound archers have tried the smaller size on their arrows with some success too.

For reference I normally shoot a 5 inch shield fletching. Whilst the 3 ½ worked ok, I found that they weren’t as forgiving when I had a poor release.

I’ve found the 4 1/2 inch offer stability in flight which is comparable to the larger five inch fletchings.

As I know some of you will be wondering about arrows speed and having put the arrows through a chrono the arrows are coming in at 176-180 Feet Per Second. That may not sound very fast but remember I’m not shooting carbon arrows, but wood ones. For those interested the arrows weigh between 455 and 465 grains, with a 80 grain pile up front and measuring 29 ½ inches being made from port orford cedar.

I wanted to wait before writing up this review so I could test them in a variety of conditions, which I think I have now managed. For those of you who shoot field, you know what it can be like shooting in a wood with variable cross winds between trees. One thing I have noticed with shooting these over the last few months  is they don’t appear to be as adversely affected by wind as my previous choice of five inch shield.

Wet weather, yes it is something that we as field archers have to encounter and despite having one of the warmest and driest summers on record in the UK we did get some rainy days. Wet weather has a huge effect on feather fletchings, often resulting in the feathers profile flattening down and offering very little stability. I was curious to see how these would cope in wet weather and whether the shape would make a difference. I have to report they don’t appear to have the same problem as normal shield that collapse and flatten.

I was a bit worried that their shape might result in them not coping with the occasional foray into the undergrowth which can happen when I miss the target, but so far so good. They don’t seem to have a problem with returning

I bought mine from Merlin Archery in Loughborough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgYQlcB7yww

So overall I think they work pretty well and look quite cool too.

Thanks for reading.