Safety after a storm

I know safety is not thought of as a very exciting topic for many but last weekend the country (UK)was battered by strong winds. This resulted in damage at our club woodland and has prompted this quick post.
With trees coming into leaf, thanks to a very pleasant spring I guess it was inevitable there would be some damage from the gusts.

Storm damage

This is one example of what we have seen and was directly above one shooting peg. Sadly it was not the only example with another tree falling within inches of one target peg.
We were very fortunate as we had closed the wood for shooting whilst running a work day in preparation for upcoming events.
It’s really important to check your woods for any widow makers, these being branches hung up in trees and likely to fall at any point.

More storm damage, yes the bow was fine.

Other hazards can be from branches that have already fallen and are blocking paths or targets. Look out for those trees just off pathways and routes that may have been damaged too. We have a lot of holly bushes in our wood and these tend to support falling or fallen wood. This effectively makes it’s an accident waiting to happen and we have spent a lot of time checking and clearing them.
So, can I suggest that everyone check and double check their woodland. If you find yourself in a wood during such weather take particular care and be aware of your surroundings. As I said earlier we were working in the woods setting up new targets and there were several times we heard the cracking of wood. For this reason we worked in pairs ensuring no one person was left alone and therefore vulnerable if they did fall foul of a broken branch.
We’ve conducted a brief survey on Sunday and will be checking the woodland in more depth this weekend.
Stay safe and thanks for reading
stream running through valley

Field archers are a lucky bunch of people

stream running through valley

Stream running through valley

I just want to share a quick thought with you. I have come to the conclusion that we field archers are in many ways a lucky bunch of people. Why?

Well we get to walk round some wonderful woodland across the country, whether this is at a local clubs ground or at a championships. Not only that we also get to shoot bows in woodland. How cool is that!
Okay so the latter makes us sound a bit like big kids, which granted some of us are. In fact one reader of this blog commented that to me at the Paget shoot a few weeks back. He said how if he was having a bad day he’d just remind himself he’s in a wood shooting a bow, like a big kid.
But to be serious for a moment, that connection to nature should not be forgotten as it is too easy to overlook in an era where the majority of use work 9-5 in offices, and have lives packed full of different stresses or when we are having a bad few shots.
A course - 3d deer panorama

A course – 3d deer panorama

To highlight this just think about this fact and you’ll realise how lucky we are.
Much of the woodland that is used for the NFAS championships over the years have been privately owned woodland, or parts of country estates which are out of bounds to the general public normally. Yet we’ve been lucky enough to see it and wonder round enjoying it. This is not half due to the hard work and considerable effort of the organising committee of the society who work long hours at finding suitable venues.
View of the field surrounding Y course

View of the field surrounding Y course

So when you have a bad day at a shoot, stop and have a look round. Try to enjoy the scenery, you might not get the chance to see it again. Taking that moment can really  help. I know at least one very capable archer, who when they are on the shooting peg, tries to tune into the sounds around them (no not the chatting of the group) but the sound of the birds or wind in the leaves. Its’ a way they use to calm themselves before making the shot.
It can be a bad shot, but not a bad life being a field archer.
Thanks for reading.