Monday, 21 September 2009

NFAS Nationals September 2009 Shoot Report

NFAS Nationals 2009 BadgeFollowing last years successful and enjoyable Nationals at the Heart Of England Conference and Events Centre this years were to be held at the same location taking advantage of their extensive woodlands. Summer had finally return and again we were going to be able to bask in the rays of a glorious English Summer.
As with last year we travelled up in the Friday to a local B&B (recommend by Fred and Terry our fellow Westcott Archers) and an excellent recommendation it was on arriving at the Bonnifinglas Guest House each guest was provided with a can of larger to settle us in for the night. Following a hearty full English breakfast on Saturday morning it was off to the Heart Of England for our first days shooting. As usual at the Nationals the course were split A & B for the traditional wooden arrows and X&Y for the sighted archers. So given that I am traditional I can only comment of the A & B courses and will leave the others to another blogger.
This year the A course was set by S.V.Y.F whilst the B course was laid by Excalibur both were going to be excellent courses but completely different. Where Excaliburs section of the woodland restricted them to short shots the S.V.Y.F portion of the wood provided ample room for the longer than it looks shots as I was to find out on the Sunday.

Google Earth Files

Saturday 19th

Saturday started with registration and the now mandatory arrow check before registration. We were due to shoot the B Course today and hence the long walk out to the furthest reaches of the woods and having finally arrived swapped cards with our shooting partners for the day, Phil and Dave, the air horn sounded we were started our days shooting.
The first target of the day (22) was the standing Fox, nobody like this target, short distance and it should have been easy to hit but it was not the case and took a couple of arrows but at least I didn't black the first shot of the day. Moving on back to the path we were going to be zig-zagging off it was time to shoot a Black blob which I then was a Beaver and an incredibly small one at that. Having shot the blob it was back to the path for another short shot and this time it was a Stag. We were their thinking it's the same distance as the blob but many times the size we can't miss but you know what you can.
grazing deer Having disposed of the Stag it was of along the trail for a Grazing Deer through a very narrow window. Having wounded the deer it was time for a Raccoon before we moved to the edge of the woods for a longer shot across the find at a Reindeer obscured by the long grass in the field. This shot caught out every one in the group being longer than it looked. Having second arrowed the Reindeer we were out in the field for another long Deer and and then onto, what was going to be my only 24 of the day, a short down a bank shot at a Jay.
Having disposed of the Jay it was back into the woods, via a quick Mars Bar break, and time for another Raccoon through the branches of the trees and then on to another Fox.
With the Fox history it was time for out first Ground Squirrel of the weekend which started John of with his usual "Alan, Alan, Alan, Al" comments. Having shot Alan or was it Steve we moved onto another extremely short shot this time a Red Squirrel through a small gap in the trees. This is the Squirrel that is all tail and no wound line, to speak of, and through the trees it was a trickier shot than usual. Squirrel
The next shot was not much better being a Hare through the undergrowth but then they switched again it was time for another long shot at a standing Stag through a narrow corridor through the trees. I was pleasantly surprised that I had managed no ricochets and hence no missing arrows. Following this interesting long shot at a large target we were back to the tiny tiny Stoats down in a ditch. This was a long shot for such a small target and hence it took a couple of arrows.
At least we were back to the break area and it was time for a well deserved burger and tea. At this point Dave had to retire and so it was that after lunch we moved on as a group of three to start the afternoon with a small smelly Skunk quickly followed by a Turkey and then it was onto the larger targets again a walking Bear up a slight hill and through the bracken.
Having disposed of the bear it was onto the Mule Deer through the bracken another longish shot that was rather deceptive in its appearance. With game on the menu it was time to take out Rocky Raccoon before moving onto a small well hidden Rabbit through another narrow corridor in the trees before moving onto another Pig of a shot at a Wild Boar with its head and back end hidden by the trees between it and the Red peg. Another longer open shot followed at a standing Deer and then we were back to the small targets again with a Fox followed by a sitting Rabbit.
It was time to switch now from the furry animals to the feathered kind with a Duck through some overhanging bracken. Ok we know it does not grow like that but the Excalibur Course layers improved the shot. With the Christmas Duck skewered it was time to get the Goose course with a medium length shot through the bracken again. With the Goose cooked we were back to our furry friends with a large long Bear and then another Hare through the Bracken. We were now back to the small targets again with a Partridge followed by a small Fox (well I think it was a fox), a Rabbit and finally a Pheasant before we had a final quick stop at the break area.
Following a quick break it was time for our last three targets of the day another small Fox followed by a longer shot at an Antelope and finally to round off an excellent days shooting another Ground Squirrel / Prairie Dog and another round of "Alan, Al, Alan, Alan, Alan, Al" before we headed back to registration to hand in our cards and it was only 15:00. Fortunately I was not one of the many cars that had been trapped in the car park and after a short shopping spree at Carols and John trying to convince me to buy a 3D Elk that stood taller than him we managed to get away early and relax for a while before heading of for an Chinese with the rest of the Westcott crew.

Sunday 20th

Sunday started with another Full English breakfast and off to the Heat of England Centre again and this time they had decided to arrange the car park so that their were spaces between the rows of car resolving Saturdays issues with trapped cars. Today we simply collected the cards with no arrow checks and we would be the last group out shooting the A course. The A course had been laid by our friends at S.V.Y.F and in the pre-shoot blurb we were told that they had done the best they could with the wood they had been given but they were just being sneaky because this was an exceptionally well laid and tricky course.
So wandering out to our first target (33) we exchanged score cards with Rob and Alan, our shooting partners for the day, and prepared for our first shot of the day a very long Deer little did I know this was going to be the standard for the day. Saturday was mostly short small tricky targets today was the exact opposite long large tricky targets and after Saturday a challange.
After blanking the Deer, not a good way to start the day, it was on to a long medium sized Fox along a small gully by the side of the road. Another blank and my day was not looking good especially when we came to the next target the head on Turkey a horrible target with a wound the size of the kill on a normal deer but it was not to be a hat-trick and I killed the bird and then it was on to a medium distance Fox over the bracken. The fox despatched we arrived at the break area and having convinced John it was not lunch time we had a quick coffee and mars bar then off to target 1.
target 1Walking up to target 1 we initially missed the red peg expecting to walk into the woods to find it but no we should have known it would be on the road. This was a loooong shot at a Ram, uphill and down dale, through the gates of one of the paintball bases. Very deceptive and we all dropped short on our first arrow and high on our second but cracked it with the third. This was definitely going to be an interesting day and it was at this point we decided that shooting order would be decided on who scored the highest on the previous target and would inevitably lead to an interesting scenario of post kill first arrow miss but it made the day entertaining.
Anyway having shot the ram we moved on into the woods and came across a slightly shorter Hare through some tightly packed trees that I managed to 24, my first of the day, which inevitably meant I was to shoot first on the next target a Goose and you guessed the first arrow went no where near it. With the Goose cooked it was out onto one of the tracks and a long shot at a walking Bear the type you shouldn't miss but I did with the classic under - over - under shooting. Oh well their was always the next target a long Deer down another track with, for added entertainment, a bend on the apex of which grew a stand of saplings we were shooting through but to make up for the missed Bear I scored my second and final 24 of the day.
One of my best shot of the day and I was up first on the next target a Boar and yet again that first arrow would not go in.
The net result was I was not shooting first for our next target a Turkey or funny enough the following a Skunk the last target before lunch. Following our Burger, Tea and a few discussions with fellow archers on the Y course who were sharing the same burger van we were off to the second half of the course starting with a sneaky Rabbit through the trees and very tight for a longbow. With three arrow shot, although as it turned out only the first was required, it was time for John to shoot and standing on the yellow peg we could see that he had better not miss because from the cub peg the anyone standing by the burger van was in-line for an overshoot. So with a low draw and sure eye the Rabbit was killed.
Moving on our next shot was a Javelina and a 2 for 14 meant I was up first for the next target a long Martin Mule Deer through the undergrowth and then on looping back round to the burger van another well placed Red Deer. Moving back across the path it was time for another long, single arrow, Antelope closely followed by a Boar and then onto the Duck with the reflection. One of these days I will go to a shoot where they hang this upside down just for the fun of it nut today the duck was not a problem which meant I was now up for first for the next looooong Deer and with John on the camera trying to get some action shots of my arrow in flight I killed it with the first although I thought I had missed.
DeerHaving killed the Deer it was time for a tiny short Partridge, hidden behind a tree, and then thankfully onto a larger target over a slightly longer distance. Well I say a larger target but that is all relative and the Prairie Dog is larger than a Partridge. With the two small short targets over and done it was back to the longer larger targets with the next shot being a brightly lit Wolf through the trees and then back to the burger van for a short break before we started on our final stint of the day.
Short break over it was down the path to the first of our final targets a long, forward facing, Bear through a narrow corridor of low hanging trees. A very nice well laid target that I managed to kill with my first arrow. Moving on into the woods the next target was a Fox and because I scored the highest on the Bear I was up first and well the first arrow gremlin struck again with my arrow ricocheting off a tree to the right front of the target and disappearing into the brambles behind. When everyone had shot and scored it was time to venture into the brambles behind with the vain hope I might recover the lost arrow and as luck would have it just as I had given up all hope I found the offending shaft in perfect condition. With my arrow recover it was off to the next target a well framed small Red Squirrel that need to be shot through the overhanging branches.
Having skewered a squirrel it was time for another long Deer, the one with the tree in front which proved interesting for Alan, and then to a long Fox in the snow. This was quickly followed by an even longer Standing Deer shot up one of the many paths which provide a nice open shot. Bob the cat was next and then it was back to the itsy-bits-tiny-weeny Stoat before moving onto a reduced Reindeer. Reducing the size of the animal always play havoc with judging the distance but I managed to kill the reindeer with the first arrow.
We were now into the final stretch and our next target was a large long walking Bear and another long Stag which I managed to miss. Our penultimate target was a large long Mountain Lion which I again missed so it was down to the last target to make sure I did not finish the day the way I started. Another Prairie Dog that was not going to get away from me and although I shot three arrow the first had done the job.
With all the targets shot it was time to pick up the last and return it to the practice field before returning to administration with the scores and then the wait for the sighted archers to return before the raffle and prize giving. On the whole another excellent days shooting on a very well thought out and laid course.
At the end of the prize giving it was not a bad day for Westcott either with Shel getting 3rd in the FreeStyle, Mark a 3rd for the Compound Limited and John a 1st in the Cub Longbow.
Shel (Bronze FreeStyle) / John (Gold Cub Longbow) / Mark (Bronze Compound Limited)


Just another Jones said...

Great write up of the event, which was my first nationals, but hopefully not my last. Really enjoyed shooting with you all on the Sunday and thanks for being such a good sport all day, made it a great time.


PS can I take a copy of a couple of the photos for our club site. I didn’t remember to get any of the courses

The Old Toxophilist said...


Feel free to copy / link to the photos.