Monday, 20 September 2010

NFAS Nationals September 2010 Shoot Report

Gaddesden EstateHaving enjoyed last years Nationals I was looking forwards to this years which was being held at Gaddesden Estate near Hemel Hempstead. Although I do not particularly enjoy shooting faces the the Nationals are always an entertaining shoot and I suspect that is mainly due to the social aspect. As you may or may not know this would be only the second time out for my new Garry Evans longbow and I was still getting used to it and so I was not expecting too much from the weekend. On the other hand John was hoping to win the Cubs Longbow again and maybe receive the trophy this year but alas that was not to be the case.

Having postponed a trip to Dallas so that we could shoot at the Nationals and our planned camping which John had being looking forward to for quite a while. With the weather promising to cloudy but fine with cold nights we were looking forward to a good weekends shooting and so it proved to be. As usual the 4 courses were split into A,B,X and Y with the real bows shooting wooden arrows on the A and B courses. These courses would prove to be completely different and taxing in their own way and in my opinion B course was significantly better than A course and that was simply down to the fact that A course was laid for a Hobbit. I spent all of Saturday trying to avoid hitting the upper limb of my longbow on the overhanging trees. Now given that I'm 2m tall and have a bow of a similar size you may thing that it was simply because I was not a standard size but having spoken with a number of longbow archers they all had the same complaint. Now B course on the other hand was laid by a traditional longbow club (Celtic Harmony Longbow Archers) so although they did have some interesting and difficult shots I was not worried that I may destroy my bow in the processes.

Saturday 18th

Today was going to be the day I least enjoyed over the weekend because we were shooting the A Course, which as mentioned was designed for a Hobbit, a hilly back to back shoot with too much overgrowth although as usual we had good company shooting with Anna-Marie, David and Richard. We were to start on Target 15 which turned out to be a Turkey so having dragged ourselves out of the tent and filled up on bacon rolls, one for me and two for John, we set off to our designated target to await the starting horn and the associated repeating shotgun blasts. During our individual course briefing we were informed if anyone scored more than three hundred they would be lucky !

Having exchanged cards and started my phones GPS Track (Google Maps File) the horn sounded and we were off. The first target of the day was a Turkey. Now I hate Turkey faces and anyone who has shot one will understand why because the wound lines are never generous but today I had no problem and started with a 20. If today was going to follow this vein it would have been an excellent days shooting but as it turned out it did and this, open relativily tree free shot, was the exception rather than the rule.

StagHaving killed the Turkey we moved on over the brow of a small hill to a large standing Stag across a small valley and a 10. Then it was off to the Hare a tricky shot without the overhanging trees and as it turned out my first broken arrow of the day following a ricochet off the branch next to it. Since I started shooting the new ow I have noticed that if I miss the target the arrow does not tend to survive but that just give me more incentive to at least get it on the boss.

Having blanked the Hare it was off to a tiny Jay hidden in the roots of a fallen tree and unfortunately another blank. Having climbed in to extract my arrows it was off to target 19 and a longish Stag through a smallish gap between two large trees and the type of shot I'm beginning to like because my arrows are tending to fly straighter these days.

AntelopeWith venison for dinner it was off through the trees to a Prong Horn Antelope and unfortunately another blank. The picture to the left will give you a flavour of the woodland we were shooting in.

Next it would be a Wolf and a slightly more open shot through the tree before moving onto a small hidden Raccoon in the undergrowth. With the tea hut visible we ducked back into the woods for another longish shot at a Puma and as it happens a nice 14.

Then cam the nemesis of most archers the Duck a target that was placed low with a over hanging branch and a set of pegs in the middle of the branches of a fallen tree. If you missed from the Red peg the shots from the White and the Blue were even worse. Having missed from the Red peg I tried to shoot from the Blue, which required trying to squat, and fell backwards almost at full draw. Fortunately I did not release the arrow just squashed one of my metal water bottles and repositioned myself again. The result was a ricochet off the overhanging branch and another broken arrow. After that I decided to nail it with the 3rd and score a 4 but to say this was not a nice target is putting it mildly.

Duck Duck
With the Duck disposed of it was time for a tricky Partridge and then on to a Deer down a small hill and another 16. This was a nice shot but I'm glad it was not raining because trying to walk up to the next target would have been difficult in the wet. Having made it up the hill to the next target it was time to shoot a Fox through the trunks of two large trees and then  it was time for a nice open Wolf shot through the trees and a 14 before moving onto a Honey Badger that looked remarkably similar to the previous Fox.

BearHaving 16d the badger it was time for a Rabbit hidden by the undergrowth before moving on to a larger walking Black Bear through the branches of the trees and down a slight hill. With the Bear out of the way it was time for a short shot at a Curlew and then onto a rather expensive lunch with a Bacon roll for John and a Sausage bap for me.

Following a short break our next target was a tricky little Owl down a small hill and a blank. Today was not going to well at all really. The next shot was that Mountain Goat, we all know the one, with the large horns that curl around over it's body and attract the arrows. Well today it turned out that they did not attract my arrows and I was pleased with a 16 but this was quickly followed by dejection with only an 8 at a Deer I should not of missed.

RaccoonWith the deer out of the way it was time for a nice Raccoon shot and a 14 if it had been a 3D it would have been a 16. With Rocky the Raccoon out of the way it was time for that Fox the skinny one and then onto a long Antelope. Another good shot that unfortunately I messed up but such is life.

A 20 on the Stag that followed almost made up for the previous blank as I plumbed it just right of the 24 but that had been the story of the day so far. The grazing Deer that followed only provided a 10 but a first arrow on the following Pheasant was a good result.

Next was a long shot at the Martin Grizzly Bear and this was probably one of the best of the day with a nice 24 on a well placed target.

With the bear behind us it was time for a Goat over the undulating ground and then onto a small Partridge and another 24. How could I 24 the tiny targets and miss the big ones. Well to be honest with the partridge luck probably had a lot to do with it. That and the fact there were no overhanging trees for me to worry about breaking my top limb on. Moving on it was a Turkey shot well 3 shots actually to make sure that I was within the wound lines and then onto "The Stoat" and then "That Red Squirrel" before our final break of the day and quick tea before the last three targets for the day.

BoarHaving refreshed ourselves it was time for the last three targets of the day. We would start on a Rabbit with generous wound line, almost a 3D, and then moved quickly onto our penultimate target a medium distance Boar through the trees and a 24. But this was to late in the day because I had already made to many silly mistakes to recover.

On to our last target and it was a case of make sure I did not miss it because it is never good to finish on a blank. With only a Ptarmigan standing between me a cold(ish) beer it still took three arrows to score and then we were done for the day. It was only 15:30 and the evening Hog Roast was not going to start until 19:00 so it was a case of sit around the tent and chat with the other Archers who had finished the A course and discuss the pitfalls of the day. Although the course was obviously laid for a short Longbow archers in many way it was still a very entertaining course and did make you think about the shot although for me my overriding thoughts for the day were not about the shots but all about how to avoid breaking the upper limb of my new bow on the overhanging tree. As such this definitely put a damper on the days shooting and having spoken to a number of the other lonbow archers they were of the same opinion. Oh well tomorrow it would be B course that promised to but just as entertaining but flatter and slightly longer.

Having packed away the gear for the day and dug out a beer or three we wandered off to the Hog roast and had some nice Pork Baps before spending the rest of the evening drinking Sam, Owen, Pete, etc around the glow of Sam's bouncy ball and having finally run out of beer it was off for a good nights sleep before Sundays shooting.

Sunday 19th

RaccoonAfter a good, if wet, nights sleep it was up early(ish) to get breakfast register and maybe take the tent down. Today we would be shooting the B Course which promised to be flatter but just as entertaining and the weather had cleared up ready for a good day. As if usual with the Nationals the groups had been re-arranged and hence we would be shooting with some new fellow archers. Having walked out to our starting target, 10, we met Madelaine and Cliff, who we would be shooting with today, exchanged cards, turn on the GPS (Google Maps File) and wait for the horn.

Once the horn had blown and the shotguns were fired it was time to shoot the first target of the day a Raccoon between the V in the trees and a 16. A good start and one I hoped to keep up given that this course had few overhanging trees. With the Raccoon sorted it was time to move on to a Standing Wolf through the thin saplings and a 2 for 10 even though I shot all three. Maybe one day I'll get used to the wound lines but I suspect with faces I'll be shooting 3 for a long time whichever arrow scores.

A Turkey was our next target quickly followed by and Antelope over fairly open ground although the was an interesting pair of trees just in front of the red peg. A Short Hare posed a bit more of an issue providing me with my first blank of the day but as long as did not get to many of them it would not be that bad.

PumaGoatWith the Hare running into the distance we moved onto target 15 and a nice long Boar over the undergrowth with nothing but Rhododendrons as a backstop and a pulled 2nd arrow went flying into them. I was not the first to do this because I went looking for one arrow and came back with two. Having left the Boar for bacon we moved onto a short Rabbit, with generous wound lines, and then a Puma through a series of gaps in the trees. A nice shot for a longbow archer and then it was onto another Rabbit and a 16. It's good to know that the small ones can be hit with the first arrow and with that it was off to take a shot at an Antelope down a small alleyway in the trees and then onto a Goat through the trunks of the trees.

With on Goat out of the way it was onto "That Mountain Goat", yes the one with the curly horns and as with yesterday I missed the horns and scored a 16. I may not get a kill but at least the bum is away from the horns.

GrizzlyBearThe goat was now toast and it was on to a small Partridge in the bushes before shooting a nice long Stag over the fallen trees. The Martin Grizzly Bear was our next shot and was partially hidden behind the branches of a fallen tree but I was not going to let that stop me and scored a 20, will the Strawberry is quiet small, before we moved on.

A short open shot at a Doe was next and this should have been a simple case of first arrow for all of us but for some reason this was not to be the case and 3 arrows later only a 4 was score with a couple of close but not quite line cutters.

Maybe I needed some lunch and as luck would have it our next stop was the tea tent and feeding a Bacon Roll to John and a Lamb Burger for me we all waited for the groups in front to move on. Having waited a while for the fresh Lamb burgers to cook it arrived just as the marshal were hurrying us up to the next target so I needed to munch whilst walking to target 26 and a queue. Oh well no problem time to finish the Burger before shooting.

Our first target after,an early, lunch was another Raccoon through the branches of pine tree and the burger must have been what I needed because a 20 was good result. With rocky out of the way we moved onto an interesting shot at a Honey Badger from the top of a tree stump and more success with a 24.

badger dancebadger
DeerSquirrelThe following Reindeer brought me back down to earth and then it was time for "The Duck" but today it would not cause me a problem although I did shoot 3 arrows just to be sure. With the duck Crispy it was of to the next target a long shot at a standing Deer before we moved onto some smaller targets and a Red Squirrel. Now normally Squirrels are hard to hit, especially over any reasonable distance, but to day I seemed to be able to hit the smaller targets and a 2 for 14 was a good result.

Although this was the Nationals we also notice at the Red Squirrel that the course layers appear to have put down some very realistic 3Ds. In fact so realistic they kept running away as we walked past the fences of the Pheasant & Partridge release cages.

StoatHaving completely blanked the 3D targets it was time for a tricky, although it should not have been tricky, Wolf and onto a Pheasant in the undergrowth and another 16. Now having said I was hitting the smaller targets today it was time to prove my self wrong because our next target was the Stoat and a tricky little thing he is. Having surrounded him with two arrows, both of which would have been a wound on a 3D, only my third was within the wound lines but on this target a 4 is pretty good.

Moving on from the Stoat it was back to the larger longer targets and a Red Deer that also proved more successful at evading my arrows than it should have but then again that happens every so often. Our next target was to be the Fox, that looks like the Honey Badger with a different face, and back to the Turkeys. I hate Turkeys because they are all feathers and no body but for this shot I pulled out the stops and nailed it with the first. This was an interesting shot and the new bow definitely made it easier because the overhanging tree would have been in the trajectory of my arrow if I was still using the old bow.

Now we moved back to the smaller targets and a Curlew through a gap in the trees but one arrow did the job and gave me my best 24 of the day plumb in the middle of the 24 ring. There is always one shot that's great in a day and this was today's.

Curlew Curlew
Now would this be the start of a run for me having found a first arrow that seemed to be doing the job I certainly hoped so and so on the be Fox that followed I shot and yes in it went. So moving onto the the Stag that followed it did it again and then it was the Jay. So with a tricky little shot through a smallish gap in the trees I missed the wound line, but at least I didn't hit the tree, and it was down to the second arrow to recover with a 14.

It was almost time for another cup of tea and with only a few more targets between me and a Cuppa it was a quick 16 on the Javelina and then a short walk to a Black Bear down one of the many pathways. Our penultimate target for today and the weekend was a Ptarmigan which proved rather elusive and I blanked it. Not good but I could still redeem myself on the last target a Wild Cat, through the sapling and small branches, and so I did finishing the day on a 16.

All in all this was a much better days shooting and finishing at 15:30 we had plenty of time to return and pack up the tent, well I did, before the presentation that started around 18:00. These sighted archers always take longer to shoot a round that the traditional archers. So we waited for the raffle and John to receive his Silver and then it was of home across country to avoid the M25 and the delays we had on the way up. It had been a good weekend and I'll be looking forward to next years assuming NFAS get a new Field Officer.




Me John

Me John
15 Turkey 20 20 33 Owl - 10
16 Stag 10 16 34 Mountain Goat 16 20
17 Hare - - 35 Deer 8 16
18 Jay - - 36 Raccoon 14 16
19 Stag 16 16 01 Fox 24 16
20 Prong Horn - 10 02 Antelope - -
21 Wolf 10 20 03 Stag 20 20
22 Raccoon 4 16 04 Deer 10 20
23 Puma 14 10 05 Pheasant 16 10
24 Duck 4 14 06 Grizzly Bear 24 16
25 Partridge 8 20 07 Goat 10 -
26 Doe 16 16 08 Partridge 24 4
27 Fox 4 24 09 Turkey 16 14
28 Wolf 14 20 10 Stoat - 10
29 Honey Badger 16 14 11 Red Squirrel 8 -
30 Rabbit 10 - 12 Rabbit 10 10
31 Black Bear 16 16 13 Boar 24 20
32 Curlew 8 4 14 Ptarmigan 4 8

Total 398 446



Me John

Me John
10 Raccoon 16 10 28 Reindeer 4 16
11 Wolf 10 24 29 Duck 16 -
12 Turkey 4 16 30 Deer 16 14
13 Antelope 10 4 31 Red Squirrel 14 10
14 Hare - - 32 Wolf 14 20
15 Boar 4 16 33 Pheasant 16 16
16 Rabbit 16 20 34 Stoat 4 14
17 Puma 14 10 35 Red Deer 4 4
18 Rabbit 16 4 36 Fox 16 16
19 Antelope 16 20 01 Turkey 16 20
20 Goat 14 16 02 Curlew 24 8
21 Mountain Goat 16 16 03 Fox 16 10
22 Partridge - 14 04 Stag 20 4
23 Stag 10 14 05 Jay 14 -
24 Grizzly Bear 20 16 06 Javelina 16 -
25 Doe 4 16 07 Black Bear 10 -
26 Raccoon 20 16 08 Ptarmigan - -
27 Honey Badger 24 16 09 Wild Cat 16 -

Total 450 406

1 comment:

markstevens said...

Thanks you for your comments about the B course, our club (Celtic Harmony Longbow Archers) laid it . There were a few members that spent over 7 days at the Gaddesden Estate trying to get it right. I spent a day putting out the bosses & another as a marshal . As you say we are a traditional longbow club & we do consider things like the lengths of longbows & obstructions. We have laid our own open shoots before ,but never something as important as this. I am glad you enjoyed it.Great pictures by the way. Thanks again, & will pass your shoot report on to the club.