Monday, 17 August 2009

Fleet Ibex Shoot Report 16th August 2009

Fleet IbexIt was that time of year Fleet Ibex were running the "Ken Dendall Memorial Trophy" shoot, the last of the season, and the weather forecast looked like it was going to be a good day. The English summer had returned and the Fleet Ibex woods were going to provide another great days shooting. Having arrived early and registered, I remember my NFAS cards this time, it was time for the, you guessed it, traditional bacon butty and a chat with some of my fellow Westcott archers. Today John and I would not be shooting with James and Ruth, our usual partners, because of Ruth's hectic work schedule. Instead it appeared we would be spending the day with Fred and Terry our fellow Westcott archers.
I was looking forward to today because I was going to be able to shoot the course using my bow rather than a borrowed bow as I had during the 17th May Shoot and I was hoping for a better score (considering what I scored in May this was not going to be difficult). Also John had decided that he would shoot the 12 - 14 pegs which meant he would be shooting his first arrow from the blue peg rather than his tradition cub peg so there was also going to be the chance that I would score more than my 10 year old son and that would be a first.

The organisers of the shoot had also decided it was time to enforce some of the NFAS rules on arrow markings and any arrows recovered that were not sufficiently marked would be sold back to the Archer for the princely sum of £1 and the proceedings would go the the charity of their choice. I thought this was a good idea especially because all of John's and my arrows were marked appropriately.
With administration out of the way and being warned about the Adders we all walked out to our first target and awaited the horn that would start the shoot and as usual I have recorded the days route as a Google Earth File.
We were starting on target 37 so it would not be long before we passed the tea hut. We all exchanged cards and got read for the first shot of the day a small Deer through the bracken (their is always a lot of Bracken). Once the horn had been sounded we all wounded the Deer and then proceeded onto the Turkey through the trees. For those who have shot at Fleet Ibex before you will probably remember this shot because you have to be just the right height and no one in our group was. I was too tall whilst everyone else was to small. This meant that if the branches overhead did not get in the way then the branch across the middle of you line-of-sight did. The net result was some interesting contortions. Having finally hit the Turkey with my third arrow it was time to hunt the arrow in the bracken behind. This proved fruitless and my only hope was that someone else would find it.
Moving on from the Turkey it was a quick walk to the Cobra through a small window in the trees. This was a nice shot just the right distance and turned out to be my first kill of the day and I hoped it would be the first of many but then again I'm always optimistic. Having despatched the snake in the grass it was off to target 40 and a Bear with it head in a dustbin which apparently was strangely attractive to arrows. I'm sure Ranger Smith would not be to pleased that the Fleet Ibex team we feeding Yogi.
Bin Bearbin bear
Having complete our first section we were back to the tea hut but it was not time to stop and we rolled straight on to target 1 the Buck and Doe. This was an interesting shot because the Doe covered the rear half of the Buck and did not count and with the psychological impact of the trees made for a very small window but I was on form and managed a first arrow wound. With the Buck out of the way target 2 was another Bear this time standing or was it trying to climb into the window of the hut. They really must be careful where they keep the food.
standing bearStanding bear
With the Bear dispatched it we off to what would become a typical shot for the days shooting a Boar partially obscured by a fallen log. This was interesting because boars and logs are a very similar colour and took two arrows to wound. The next shot was a long Deer in the bracken that required the presence of a marshal with a metal detector to help find the arrows.
With the deer dead it was back to the Turkey shoot with another of the Christmas treats hiding in the bracken through the trees. Moving on from the turkey it was time to shoot our first kitty of the day a Leopard climbing over a tree and then onto another Standing Bear with its lower half masked by the bracken and hence a temptation to shoot high. Moving on we to target 8 we needed to shoot another Turkey but this time is was a single arrow only and consequently my first blank of the day. Such a simple shot but no turkey lunch for me; oh well there's always the next target and a full grown Bison is hard to miss or so you would think.
This was a long downhill shot that was very deceptive and the ground dropped away more than it appeared. Terry shot first, let the FreeStyle guys show us the way, and his arrow made a very odd sound and we assumed a miss so he took the second. Fred required 3 and then it was my turn a long shot with a high arc and my arrow followed Terry's and I assumed I missed so I was off to the white and a second shot. On arrival at the target it turned out that my luck was in and the first arrow had hit the leg. Terry on the other hand was not so lucky his arrow had just missed the target and hit the support pushing the pile up the shaft (the first arrow he was to break).
With the bitter sweet success of the bison history it was time for the Honey Badger and then onto another deceptively simple single arrow shot at a Doe on the path. With the psychological effects of the bracken and the bank I did it again and pulled the shot too high ricochetting of its back. Target 12 was next and this was yet another interesting shot a BobcatBedded Deer hidden in the bracken and then an uphill, pig of a shot, at another Boar.
positioned behind the V in a tree but from the Red peg it was also a shot over a bank but the white provided a downhill shot from the top of the bank. Moving on it was our penultimate target before lunch and another
Time for lunch a double burger and a cup of tea.
Rested and refreshed it was off for the second half(ish) of the course starting with a Cheetah through the trees and then onto another Boar.boar This proved to be an interesting shot with my first arrow flying wildly left of the target and hitting the number 16 which rang out loud like the dinner gong making John jump. It's a good job emergencies are signalled by a whistle and not a gong. But having put myself off the next arrow missed as well going right but finally I pulled it together and planted one in the middle. With the clouds all gone the afternoons shooting was going to be a high contrast affair with the targets in the dark of the trees whilst the peg were in the open. The next target, a Deer, was going to be the first but not the worst. After the Deer it was time for another Bobcat and another Deer followed by a third Deer before we came across one of those half laying half standing Boars where if you do not get it just right it's so easy to shoot straight over its back.
With the pork crackling it was time to go hunting for some boots with a long shot at a Crocodile (or maybe an Alligator) under a log. Unfortunately for Terry his miss from the Red peg cost him another arrow when it his a buried rock in the ground. As I mentioned earlier the tricky under or over the fallen tree were going to be a common occurrence during the day with our next target being a Bedded Deer under and behind a fallen tree. Another target were your line had to be just right but that's what makes Fleet Ibex such fun. Now it was time for a change and the next target was a GoatTarget 25 provided us with a Howling Wolf and then it was on to another Turkey. Moving swiftly on from the Fowl target we were back shooting a Doe trough the tangle of tree limbs before moving onto a nice longish shot up the at an Ibex. Yet another trick 3D because the way it stands means it's easy to go over its back if you aim just that little bit too far to the right.
well something like a Goat though the trees an up a hill. Another where missing target meant you would be looking for you arrows for quite a while. As I mentioned before the afternoon was all about contrasting light and the next few targets certainly brought it home. The Mini Bear on 29 all but disappeared when you aimed whilst the Bedded Ibex on 30 did vanish in the glare.
If you look at the photos above their is an Ibex in the first whilst the second gives you a hint of what the light was like and the only option was to shoot where you thought the target was. Moving on from the next target was another, nice, long uphill Howling Wolf followed by a Baboon and then another well hidden Deer. I was getting used to the uphill or downhill targets concealed by fallen trees what was handy because the next target was a Brown Bear with its lower half covered by a fallen tree.
Our penultimate target of the day was a long long long shot at a very large Bedded Elk. Now this Elk was big and the net result of that was that it looked a lot closer that it actually was with 3 out of the 4 of us hitting the rotten tree in front of it. Having overheard conversations through the day this was a common occurrence for this very well laid target.
Having finally hit the Elk it was time to shoot the final target of the day a Fox and then to total up the scores before picking up the target and return with it to the tea hut.
After an excellent days shooting, where I significantly out performed my previous score, Westcott walked away with 3 Medals for Cass, John and Shel not a bad day really. To think if I had not blanked that 1 shot Deer I would have been in line for a Medal as well but there is always next year and I will certainly be booking my place as soon as I know the dates.

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