Sunday, 1 May 2011

South Wilts Bluebell Shoot Report 30th April & 1st May 2011

South WiltsIt was time for the South Wilts Bluebell Shoot and this year it was being run over two days, the Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend, and the weather was looking a bit dubious according to the Met Office but in Met Office tradition they were wrong and we were in for another 2 excellent days. This year the Bluebells had timed it right and as we were walking through the woods we were surrounded by the pale blue of there flowers.

I had been looking forward to the South Wilts shoot for a while as it is one of my favourite shoot locations having an excellent wood and exceptional course layers.

Having failed to start the day correctly at Fleet Ibex I decided that a Bacon Butty and a cup of tea was a must so after registering and making excuses for John it was off to grab the required sustenance before chatting to a few of the other Westcott archers and checking if Fred needed me to break any arrows. With the tea and bacon gone all that remained we to wait to be shown to our starting targets and find out who I would be shooting with. Today (Saturday) I would be starting on target 31, half way around the course, and hence a reasonable walk out.

Having reached the target and introduced myself to Mike and Alison all that remained was to await the long blast of the air horn and we could commence our days shooting.

Blue Bells

On the sound of the air horn it was time to start the shooting with a nice shot through the trees at a Boar and a 20, well the Bacon Roll certainly seemed to be doing the trick, and then on to a tricky Bedded Deer through a V in the trees. The Deer only netted me a 4 but hey-ho it was only the second target.

With the Deer out of the way it way time for some more Bacon with a Pig and a 10 before I was was back on form with two 20s in a row in the paper face Red Squirrel and Bear that followed. Not bad three 20s in five targets I can't remember ever starting this well.

BearThe Tiger that followed was to know the shine off things with a 10 but I was quickly back into the swing with a 20 on a paper face Turkey before we moved on to an excellent shot at a Climbing Bear. Now the South Wilts Course Layers had actually mounted this part way up a tree and hence off the ground carefully hiding this with the dead ground between the pegs and the target.

With the Bear out of the tree it was time for an easy Jackal and my first blank of the day. It was so easy that no one could miss but somehow I did and it was not going to be the last.

But as I moved onto the following Otter I put the Jackal out of my mind because the next stop would be the tea tent and a nice cuppa. It was time for a quick break and an early lunch before we were off to target 1 and a paper face Deer up a long gully by the track.

The early lunch did not seem to have affected my shooting so after a single arrow it was onto the next paper face a Walking Bear before crossing the track to a Fish. This was a tricky downhill shot into a dry ditch and eventually took three arrows before I finally hit. Their was definitely something fishy about this shot and the way the target was positioned but I'm not one for carping on about thing and so with a 4 on the cards it was off to a paper face Skunk and another blank.
Although the next target cost me two broken arrows, that not even Fred could reuse, it was an excellent shot with a Standing Bear between two trees. Their was not a lot of room either side of the Bear an pulling either left or right would result in a tree rather than a Bear and guess what the first was right and a tree whilst the third was left and another tree. The second was just over its shoulder and into the backstop. Now shooting a 75lb longbow is fun but the results of missing the target and hitting a tree tends to be catastrophic for either the arrow or the tree and today it was going to be the arrows (first time out as well).

KestrelRaccoonNext we were off to a paper face Bear and a first arrow that disappeared under the backstop never to be seen again before moving onto a Standing Deer and then a Kestrel. With the Kestrel off its perch (almost literally) it was time for a paper face Rabbit and an easy Javelina that was trickier than it looked before a paper face Raccoon through various Vs in the trees.

With Rocky out of the way it was time for a Bobcat and then onto another paper face Turkey before winding our way to the "Hobbits Standing" that was being frequented by a Goose. Now this was a tricky shot because the kill on the Goose was just about a large piece of 3 by 6 and my first arrow buried itself to the end of the pile in said piece of wood. So having scored the target it was time for the trusty knife and some serious modification to the wood. It was interesting to see on the Sunday that although I was the first I was not the last.

Having finally retrieved my arrow it was a short walk to a Bedded Stag that should have been impossible to miss but I decided to prove the wrong and completely blanked it. Oh well at least the backstop stopped me burying any arrows in a tree and then we were off to another paper face Turkey and then onto a Howling Wolf. This was quickly followed by a brown thing that I assume was a Porcupine and a 10.

After a short walk it was time for a small Jay face over a reasonable distance much easier to shoot than when you are 1m away (I've gone metric). Although it was easier it still took two arrows to kill. The next target was a Walking Bear and back to being a reasonable size and so having 14d the Jay I managed a simple 16 on the Bear and with the arrows pulled it was time to head back to the tea tent for another cuppa and a chocolate bar.

BisonNow fully refreshed it was off to target 21 and a long Bison that even managed to miss from the blue peg, how embarrassing, but than I could blame it on the sugar rush. Having picked up the arrows it was off to the next another Otter and a 16 before it was time for THAT Duck face; you know the one with the reflection that seems to attract the arrows. Anyway with the Duck blanked it could only get better, or so we thought, but no the next was a small Partridge face from quiet a distance but a luck second arrow provided a Kill.

Moving swiftly on it was time for another 3D Pig before back to a face of a Hare through two trees. A tricky little shot but again I was saved by the second arrow before we moved on to a Standing Deer (or may Antelope) and then the wild Orchids.


Having avoided the Orchids it was time for a shot at another Wild Boar but you only know it was a Pig when you went to retrieve the arrows because all you could see from the pegs was a Brown body through a small gap in the trees and we assumed the kill was somewhere in this area. I didn't find the kill with my first arrow but I did manage a wound which given the amount of target there was and the number of trees was rather good. Having skewered the Pig it was time for penultimate target of the day a long downhill Standing Deer through and V in the trees. Another tricky shot but the tree were really focussing my mind today and another 16 was on the score card.

We wrapped up the day on a nice Rabbit face before the long walk back to the tea tent to hand in the cards and the pack up for the day. On the whole it had been a great days shooting with many a shot that was trickier than it first looked and a reasonable score given my previous exploits this year. I was not camping so was going to miss the fun of the evening and strange men in Mankinis, as modelled by the Standing Bear on Sunday.

Sunday was another bright sunny day, not quite as good as Saturday, and the South Wilts course layers had been busy the night before moving all the targets and pegs so it was a completely different course we were shooting. Following the success of Saturdays Bacon Roll I decided to start Sunday off the same way. Today I was not going to have to walk far to start because I was starting on target 1, just round the corner from the tea tent, and would be shooting with Lorraine, Andy and Alan.

Once the horn had sounded it was time to shoot a Prairie Dog (not Alan jokes today) face up a gully and a 10 to start the day. Moving quickly on it was time for a Standing Deer that was not quite as far as it looked and then the Crocodile. The Croc was the replacement for the fish and there was a tricky little branch at just the wrong height that cause my first arrow to ricochet down into the ground splitting it along the grain in numerous places. Only the 3rd target of the day and I'd bust an arrow hmmmm.

Anyway with a blank it was on to the next the funny brown Porcupine / Badger and back to scoring before heading back to where the Standing Bear had been yesterday. As I said the course layers had been busy and the bear had been replace by a tricky Turkey shot through the undergrowth past the trees. Now the trees down here are hard as I had found out on Saturday (with two broken arrows) so I had not intention of missing the Turkey. So with a 16 on the cards it was off to a long Climbing Bear with the tree stump base between the bear and the peg. In the end I finally wounded the bear but at least I did not loose an arrow like yesterday.

A short walk brought us to a Deer face and then onto an Owl on a tree stump. This replaced the kestrel from Saturday but was further away and although larger was just as tricky. We would be sticking with the birds for the next target a Curlew face before a 3D Leopard and then a Fox. Having shot the fox it was off to the next target and a short wait that allowed us to spot a real fawn in the field next to the pegs. Having watched it wander away looking for its mother it was time to shoot a Standing Wolf before a tricky Howling Wolf and then a Ptarmigan in the "Hobbits Standing". At this point you could see how many people had missed yesterday and spent there time cutting out their arrow. This was to be the first of a run of faces before a lunch and although I'm not to keen on faces I was not going to do to bad.

FoxThe next face was a Stag and then onto a Pheasant before concluding the run with a Mountain Lion. Only three targets stood between me and a cup of tea so in quick succession we shot a Badger, Fox face and finally a Black Panther (Saturday Tiger turned around) although the Panther did get away.

Time for a cheese burger and a tea before moving onto target 21 which was no longer the long Bison but had been replace by a shorter Standing Deer and hence a more successful shot. The Standing Deer was followed by a Bedded Deer that I managed to put more first arrow under although I have no idea how I managed this. So having only scored a 10 it was of to another Fox face and a 16 before the Stoat and a very trick red shot that was going to stretch my legs. Having missed the red the white was an easy shot for a tall archer over the top of the fallen tree that caused the issue from the red peg.

OtterHaving finally straightened my legs it was off to a Walking Bear and what should have been a simple shot but as things go turned out to more difficult than anticipated requiring two arrows to wound. So as the Bear wandered away unperturbed by my attempts it was off to an Otter hidden between two trees and a nice 20 to recover. Things were on the up and then came the large Mountain Goat (well I think it was) and a blank I mean how could I miss something that large but I did.

Oh well their is always the next target but I had forgotten where we were and the next target was 28 which yesterday was the hidden Boar where you could only see part of it's body. Today the course layers had decided to make it more of a challenge and replaced the Boar with an Owl hidden within the trees and hence a smaller target. The net result was another shattered arrow as my first clipped its right wing and kick into the backstop snapping the shaft just behind the pile. The second suffered no such fate skewer it through the head.

LionWith the owl wiser it was a short walk to the back of the queue at the next target. Now a queue on a South Wilts shoot is usually an indication of a very interesting target and the next shot was interesting indeed. It consisted of a downhill Lion and was extremely deceptive catching out the compound archers as well as the traditional. After three arrows I was happy to score an 8 from what was probably one of the best shots of the day. A paper face Prairie Dog followed and then it was quickly on to a longish Standing Deer and another 16 so today was feeling better than Saturday although in reality it was about the same. Quickly wounding the Deer and we  were off to a Walking Bear face and then an Antelope which proved trickier that it should have been.

Obviously the course layers had been playing tricks with us allowing us to get out eye in for the large long shot because the next was a Jay face at a short distance that provided little time for the arrow to straighten having curved around the bow and then we were back to the long Standing Deer shots before what was the scariest shot of the day a Standing Bear in a mankini. I mean where do you aim and how do you shoot whilst trying not to laugh.

Well it was enough to put me off for two arrows and hence only a 4  but it was a rather entertaining site. Next up was a plain old Raccoon face and with a bit of composure a chest shot provided a 20 to compensate for the Bear. With only three to go it was time to make them count and the next Mountain Goat provided 8 and the bright orange Frog that followed a 10.  With only the Goose to go what could I do ? As it was I finished on a high with a 20 and a great way to round off the day.

As usual South Wilts provided an excellent, entertaining and challenging course and to top it all the weather played ball as well. If I don't book for the Isle of White shoot on the 4th September I'll be back at South Wilts looking forward to another great day.

Saturday 30th April


Me John

Me John
31 Boar 20 - 11 Raccoon (Face) 20 -
32 Bedded Deer 4 - 12 Bobcat 16 -
33 Pig 10 - 13 Turkey (Face) 10 -
34 Squirrel (Face) 20 - 14 Goose 10 -
35 Bear 20 - 15 Bedded Stag - -
36 Tiger 10 - 16 Turkey (Face) 16 -
37 Turkey (Face) 20 - 17 Howling Wolf 16 -
38 Climbing Bear 16 - 18 Porcupine 10 -
39 Jackal - - 19 Jay (Face) 14 -
40 Otter 10 - 20 Walking Bear 16 -
01 Deer (Face) 16 - 21 Bison - -
02 Bear (Face) 16 - 22 Otter 16 -
03 Fish 4 - 23 Duck (Face) - -
04 Skunk - - 24 Partridge (Face) 14 -
05 Standing Bear - - 25 Pig 10 -
06 Bear (Face) 10 - 26 Hare (Face) 10 -
07 Deer 16 - 27 Standing Deer 16 -
08 Kestrel 16 - 28 Wild Boar 16 -
09 Rabbit (Face) 14 - 29 Standing Deer 16 -
10 Javelina 14 - 30 Rabbit (Face) 16 -

238 -
242 -

Total 480 -

Sunday 1st May


Me John

Me John
01 Prairie Dog (Face) 10 - 21 Deer 10 -
02 Grazing Deer 10 - 22 Bedded Deer 10 -
03 Crocodile - - 23 Fox (Face) 16 -
04 Badger 16 - 24 Stoat (Face) 10 -
05 Turkey 16 - 25 Walking Bear 10 -
06 Bear 4 - 26 Otter 20 -
07 Deer (Face) 8 - 27 Mountain Goat - -
08 Owl 16 - 28 Owl 10 -
09 Curlew (Face) - - 29 Lion 8 -
10 Leopard - - 30 Prairie Dog (Face) 16 -
11 Fox 16 - 31 Standing Deer 16 -
12 Wolf 10 - 32 Walking Bear (Face) 10 -
13 Howling Wolf 16 - 33 Antelope 10 -
14 Ptarmigan (Face) 4 - 34 Jay (Face) 14 -
15 Stag (Face) 14 - 35 Standing Deer 14 -
16 Pheasant (Face) 20 - 36 Standing Bear (Mankini) 4 -
17 Mountain Lion (Face) 16 - 37 Raccoon (Face) 20 -
18 Badger 16 - 38 Mountain Goat 8 -
19 Fox (Face) 20 - 39 Frog 10 -
20 Black Panther - - 40 Goose 20 -

212 -
236 -

Total 448 -

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