Monday, 29 June 2009

Avalon Archers 3Ds Shoot Report 27th & 28th June 2009

Avalon ArchersHaving finally recovered from my shoulder injury, thanks to time and my Osteopath (Marcus Vaz), I would finally be able to shoot my longbow again. So I was looking forward to a couple of good days shooting regardless of what the weather forecast had suggested. I had never shot Avalon before and had not realised what I had been missing and to say that the Avalon course is one of the best I have shot is putting it mildly this was on a par with the 3D Nationals course. I say this because I do like variety in a shoot and Avalon had a lot of that to say the least.
For those who have never shot Avalon their woods are based just outside Sandy in Bedfordshire and cover some rolling woodland providing a number of interesting and entertaining ups and downs. The varied trees and undergrowth allowed the course layers to devise some devilishly difficult shots for the average height freestylers never mind the tall longbow archers as you can see from the photos. Yet again I decided to records the Nokia Sports Tracker application a go and recorded the route, for posterity, as a Google Earth file below.

The Avalon shoot was a 2 day shoot where we essentially covered the same course on the Saturday and the Sunday but over Saturday night the magic course laying pixies had been out and moved the pegs and a number of targets. Obviously these were slightly sadistic pixies because the pegs were moved to some rather more interesting and difficult positions.
As a Westcott Archer I must says that we fielded a good turnout for Avalon with a grand total of 13 Archers most of who were shooting freestyle; oh well you can't have everything but the Westcott reprobates can be identified below.
Westcott Crew

Saturday 27th June

Saturday was looking like it was going to be a glorious day, although the weather forecast did suggest the odd heavy shower, and so it was to be hot and humid with any slight breeze welcome. Having registered, and found out we were shooting with Ruth and James starting on target 34, it was off to for the traditional Bacon Butty to start the day. With the bacon butty summarily munched we were off to our first target a small bear hidden behind the trees branches. On the sound of the klaxon we were off for the day with James taking the first shot. This target was interesting on so much as although you could see the bear the kill was difficult to find (branches and the like). Once the bear was cleanly dispatched a short walk brought us to a slightly longer Javelina hiding through the trees. This proved to be a good shot and we all moved on happy. Now we started our trek up the hill (Avalon has a lot of those) for another longish straight shot at a deer, of one type or another, with quite a lot of bracken behind. Any overshoot, ad we had a few of those, meant rooting around in the undergrowth. Fortunately for us, mainly Ruth, we had Adrian from Westcott in the group behind to find the arrows that we had missed. Once the deer was out of the way it was up the hill again to a short Hare (Jack Rabbit) and then onto a short but tricky, because of the trees, Mini Bear.
With the Mini Bear out of the way we move out of that part of the woods and across the track to the take on a long straight Goat; a nice open shot but with plenty of trees behind. Once we found all our arrows we were off to target 40 the last before our first tea, well coke, break of the day. Now target 40 was basically a point blank shot at a very small rubber lizard and probably harder for the freestylers than for the longbows (I can say that because I hit it with my first arrow).
With the tricky lizard done and the coke drank target 1 awaited. This was a small ladybird down in a dip with a kill on one of its spots. Moving on from the ladybird we had to shoot a wolverine from some rather interestingly place pegs. Again this was a slight downhill shot but fortunately, on the Saturday, there was a bank behind. Having sorted the wolverine it was off for the first of a new of turkeys and then a mountain lion down a dip and through some rather annoying trees. This was a brown target with a brown background and a lot of brown around it; need I say more.
The next target was a very long wolf which although open was tricky to judge. Now I don't generally need to worry about how far the target it, everything being 4 inches, but this was estimated as a 40 m / yrd (depending if you spoke to Ruth or James) shot. Given that Ruth was initially worried by the distance her first 24 of the day put her mind at rest.

Following this long shot the organisers had decided we could do with another short, but tricky, turkey which cost me my first broken arrow of the weekend. A first arrow hit but the tree in front took its toll and removed the know and fletchings. With the turkeys goose cooked we were after some venison to follow and the course layers provided it with an ample long bedded deer through the trees.
Having sorted the long shot it was back to the short shot with a raccoon through the undergrowth. The picture below shows the view from the red, white and blue pegs and the only way I could photograph the was to stand to the side.

Well having dispatched raccoon we were back to the long tricky down a dip shots for another wolf but this time the wolf was angled and proved somewhat more difficult to hit. Moving on from the wolf it was time for a coyote hidden amongst the undergrowth. This was soon dispatched and we followed the orange tape through a building and then into another but where were the pegs? Well this was Avalon "pista de resistance" and also my one major complaint about this shoot. Having found the pegs inside the building we could see our next target, a cougar, through the windows.

This was going to be rather interesting because their was a lot of concrete around these windows and a fair amount of metal work in them. Very interesting and difficult shots especially because the roof of the building was only about 8' and given I am 6'7" with a 79" longbow there was no easy way to hold it and shoot.
With all of the adults having shot it was time for my son, a cub, to take his shot from the yellow peg across the inside of the building and through the widow. Essentially it was the same place as the white and blue pegs. At this point I should have known that it was dangerous but having just shot the cougar through the window I decided to let him have a go. This was a mistake because unfortunately he missed the window and the ricocheting struck him in the head and only missed hes eye because he ducked. Needless to say once we had calmed him down and stopped the tears he took his second and third arrows from the other side of the window. Although I did mention this to the marshals the course layers decided that the shot was safe for the Sunday an left the yellow peg where it was.
Moving on from the cougar it was time to travel back into pre-history are shoot a 2D-3D Velociraptor and then back to reality with a bobcat where everybody, bar me, scored a 24. Then we were back to pre-history with a small hidden stegosauruses and then out into the open. At this point the heat of the day really hit you and you began to wish you were back under the trees. The shot from the open ground was back into the trees and over the bracken at a distant ram which blended rather well with the background. A brief walk back undercover brought us to brown mini bear hiding behind a tree. Set at an angle you could just about see the kill but hitting it required some fancy shooting to miss the tree. This said I did and hit the bear with my first arrow although I missed the kill.
Mini Bear dispatched it was back to shooting across bracken into open ground to take out another deer with relative ease and then back into the wood proper for a grazing doe through yet more trees. After the deer it was a case of spot the frog on the next target, yes it is the green lump that blends into the background, and this is where the longbows showed the freestylers how to shoot with both of us hitting the 24.

With only the climbing bear between us and lunch we quickly disposed of it and then off for a well deserved break to down a few cold cokes and burgers or in James's and my case a "MacSue" which consisted of Burger, Sausage and Bacon twice on a bun. To say it was a mouthful is putting it mildly.
Once the MacSue had started to settle we moved onto target 21 a hiding Jackal with the bright afternoon sunny behind it. Contrast was the name of the game here but the MacSue was having positive effects. Moving on from the Jackal we were shooting another 2D-3D this time a kangaroo that appeared simply as a silhouette where yet again Adrian proved his worth for James this time finding the arrow that missed.
Moving on from roo we were back on a turkey shoot and the prong horn to follow another long shot through the trees. Next on the list was Skunk close range but tricky through the branches, or so I thought until Sunday, but given the poundage of my bow I well and truly skewered it.

Now we had finished with the short shots for a while and the course organisers had decided to provide us with another long downhill shot, this time, at standing bear. The bracken between the red peg and the bear made this one a difficult target to judge but 4" was about right for me. The next shot was a standing buck (yes there is a deer in this photo) across a small valley and provided me with my luckiest shot of the day where I just clipped the back of the deer.

With Bambi gone we were shooting Kermit again and then leopard through a V in a tree which surprisingly did not catch anyone out. Target 30 was a head on badger through the branches whilst target 31 provided us with another deer again through the trees and up the hill.
Our penultimate target of the day was yet another turkey carefully placed behind a large conifer and required a bit of squatting to see. We rounded off the day with another Bob the Cat hiding behind the leaves by a tree.
So having had a throughly enjoyable, if rather warm and humid, days shooting it was back to the tea cabin for some ice cold water and then the drive home thinking they put some trick shots in there today for us. Little did we know what Sunday was going to bring.

Sunday 28th June

When we left home on Sunday it looked like it was going to be another glorious day but as we approached the Avalon ground the mist set in. No problem it meant it was going to slightly cooler than the Saturday and hence a blessing until it burned off later in the day. On arrival it was time for another bacon butty before we started again on target 34 which at first glance looked like it was the same shot. As yesterday it was a small walking bear but for today they had moved the peg. This was going to the way it was for the day, in general, the same targets but the pegs had been move. As I mentioned earlier this was done by some sadistic pixies because you need to be a short pixies contortionist to even see soo of the targets from the red peg.
Given this I will not run you through the targets again just highlight some with specific photos.
Target 3

I bet I could not do that again if I tried.
Target 11

Two windows from the Red peg but still the cubs peg was inside and dangerous. Ruth managed to turn one of her aluminum arrows into a banana by bouncing it off the far wall.
Target 16

The brown mini bear prince turned into a frog.
Target 17

The deer looks a long way away from half way up the hill.
Target 18

There is a deer behind that there log but yoga is a must have skill.
Target 25

Here we go again.
Target 29

How the hell am I going to get the Leopard?
Target 30

Watch out for the electric fence; fortunately the longbow does not conduct electricity but positioning for this shot put other parts of my body close to it.
Target 32

Where's that turkey.
After completing another thoroughly enjoyable day it was simply down to waiting for the prize giving or in the case of Avalon the evening comedy entertainment. Due to a number minor computer hitches the results were modified a few times and our compare for the evening performed well. In his own words "I would like to thank you all ....."
At the end of the day the Westcott team faired well with:
  • 1st Cub Longbow
  • 1st Ladies Freestyle
  • 1st Gents Freestyle

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