Wolverines Archers, first shoot of 2009

Last weekend waf fairly tumultuous it began with me discovering that my kitchen had been completely flooded, and ended with me winning my first ever archery medal. I’ll be honest I was pretty upset when I discovered my kitchen was under four inches of water, fortunately my younger brother was on hand to help sort it out, as was the rest of my family, even Richard rushed over to help out when he heard what had happened. Thankfully the damage wasn’t too bad after a week or so of drying out and removing the flooring it looks like all that needs doing is to re-floor the kitchen and it should be right as rain 😉

The following morning Richard picked me up pretty earlier for out first official archery shoot of 2009. It was a special invitation only shoot hosted by our friends at Wolverines Archers near Stoke. Im guessing there were at least a hundred or so archers there, all the pegs were pretty much full. I ended up shooting in a group comprising of three compound archers and me with my HT recurve and wooden arrows. I don’t have anything against compound archers, in fact I quite enjoy shooting with them it tends to make me more competitive and consequently I concentrate more. An archer shooting with a recurve and wooden arrows is never going to keep up with a compound with carbon arrows, but the fun is actually in trying to keep up with them. Richard always says the same, that trying to keep up with them makes you focus more.

That certainly worked for me, at the end of the day I came third in my category and was awarded a bronze medal! I know a lot of the other archers in my category, you get to know everyone since its often the same crowd of people at the same events. Many of them are far more experienced than I am, so I was pretty proud – still am 😉 Everyone in the team cheered me on which was a great feeling!

Looks my next shoot is on the 8th of Feb, lets hope I do as well. As always pictures from the day are on my flickr account here.

Shoot: Avalon November 2008

Last weekend Richard and myself and other members of Kings Norton Traditional Archers took part in the Avalon shoot. It was a 40 target shoot, all 3D’s!! We all had a really good time. Phil, the youngest member of our club, did exceptionally well shooting from Adult pegs, and won a medal at the end of the day. I had a pretty mediocre first half scoring 200 but in the second half I scored well over 300 which only served to irritate me when I realised that if I had shot as well in the first half I’d have probably won something too! Regardless of that though it was a really well laid out course and great fun to shoot. As always I have uploaded photo’s from the day to flickr, below are a couple of snaps.

Shoot: Seven Valley Yeomen Foresters – Oct 2008

Had a great day today, everyone in Kings Norton Tradition Archers took part in S.V.Y.F ‘s second annual shoot in Ombersley, near Droitwich. As always the shoot was wonderfully organised and this event comprised of 36 targets, a mixture of 3D’s and 2D paper faces. I shot with four archers from Robin Hood Longbow: Dave, Nigel, James and Andrew who were a lot of fun to shoot with. I thoroughly enjoyed the day! I’ve uploaded my photos from the day to flickr here. Here’s a couple of me:

Yay! got an inner kill!

Archery: Forest of Arden

Had another great shoot this weekend, and arguably the hardest shoot I have had so far. The Forest of Arden shoot is actually just outside Birmingham so it was a doddle to get to for us, the entire club was represented and we split up into two groups. I shot with Simon, John and Tony; Richard shot with Phil, Alex, Cliff and Andrew. It was a difficult shoot … Forty 3D targets over some pretty long distances at wildly different elevations, plus no lunch break – we started at 10:30 and finished at around 5pm, so yeah by the end of it we were all shattered.

Alex doesn’t seem to like Bambi!

The shoot itself was really well laid out and spread throughout the forest, it’s the first time I’ve ever taken part in an event that featured only 3D targets, in other words no 2D pictures! The targets themselves varied in size and shape, from Lions to tiny crocodiles. What made this so challenging though was that a) the targets were generally much further away than on any other shoot I’ve competed in and b) the elevation of the targets also varied. Some were at the top of a hill, others you had to shoot down at from the top of a 30 ft hill. This meant there were no easy shots, particularly if you are shooting with longbow or in the HT category where you have to compensate for elevation and distance far more than archers who use compound bows.

Although I think I did very very well I did loose in inordinate amount of arrows, some were lost in the undergrowth which was very dense, and with some of my others the points came off rendering them useless 🙁 I even ended up having to borrow a couple of arrows from Richard and John to complete the shoot, but because these were much heavier than my normal arrows it was far more difficult to shoot with them over these distances. .

Simon lining up a shot.

I still think I did really well though, at one point I went through a 6 target spree, scoring a kill / inner kill with my first arrow on each which is a great feeling especially when you having to judge distances with just your instincts. It’s all great preparation for the Southwest Challenge in Devon from the 1st -8th of August, which I’m taking part in this year, and am really looking forward to.

As always I’ve uploaded some pictures to my flickr account …. here.

Archery: Audley Bowman

Had fun last weekend on what was my first NFAS field shoot in a couple of months, wasn’t too sure how i’d get on, but we did practise during the week leading up to the shoot at Audley Bowman’s near Stoke. We also decided that since I’m competing in the Great Devon Challenge on the 1st August, which is an 8 day shoot, I needed to switch to slightly more powerful bow. The Audley shoot was the first time I had ever shot with it and I have to confess it was not easy, I struggled to draw the bow at first, but during the course of the day I became used to it. So much so that I scored one of my highest scores ever, 484, and actually managed to outscore all the the members of our club.

It was a slightly unusual shoot from my perspective because it was divided into two separate courses, each of 18 targets. The two courses were set up in a field and in a wood about a half a mile away so it might have been a little disconcerting for the locals to see a hundred or so archers wandering through their village. It was also a very wet day, hence a lack of photos, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

It was also the first shoot in which every member of the club took part – so KNTA was well represented on the day, it was me, Richard, Cliff, Simon, John, Tony, Phil and Alex. I was competing in the mens HT along with Simon, whilst Phil was competing in the Junior HT. Everyone else was shooting longbow on the day. Tony, Phil and Alex all won medals on the day in their individual categories which was great for them and for the club.

It was a great day, as usual all my pictures are on flickr here.

Archery: Severn Valley

Had a wonderful day shooting in Severn Valley yesterday. It was 36 target shoot with a 10:30am start, we finished around 3pm. What made this shoot different was that due to heavy snowfall the forest was covered in snow before we began, during the course of the day this did melt away but we did have a couple of rather sudden blizzards to contend with as we went round the course.

Not only was it very cold the ground was also incredibly muddy so I found that I was walking around rather gingerly in case I lost my footing and fell down a hill again. The turnout on the day was exceptional given the bad weather. We were represented by Richard, Alex, John, Simon, Cliff and myself – we had to split into pairs so I spent the day shooting with John.

It was not one of my better performances … I shot well below my usual par but this didn’t change the fact that we all had immense fun. Richard and I both forgot to pack our camera’s so I took some pictures with my mobile fun which have been uploaded to my flickr account, and here’s a couple of my favorites from the day:

Everyone arriving and getting ready to start

Us lot 🙂

Me shooting and trying very hard not to fall in!

John always smiling!

It was a great day, and full credit to everyone from Severn Valley Yeoman’s for organising the shoot and setting up a very challenging but enjoyable course.

Archery: Hanson Bowmen

Had a wonderful day on Sunday. Me and Richard, along with the other members of Kings Norton Archers attended the shoot at Hanson Bowmen near Derby. It was a fantastic day. For me and Rich it was a pretty early start he picked me up from my place at about 06:30 am and took me over to his new place at Benson School. We made breakfast for everyone else and made sandwiches and got everything together we would need for the day … before setting off at around 08:30

When we arrived there we got kitted up and registered for the shoot. We then split into two groups Richard, John, Alex and Phil were in one group and Me, Simon and Ciff were in another group. This meant that we didn’t actually see the other group till the end of the day ( or for five minutes when we broke for lunch and caught up at the tea tent). Cliff, Simon and me were joined in our group by Bob Tate from Wolverines Archers – a wonderful wonderful man who was joy to shoot with, not only was Bob a very good archer but also a great person and in many ways a wonderful ambassador for this sport.

Our group finished the shoot around about 4:30 so we were out there for a just under six hours, and I have to confess it didn’t feel like six hours , but by the end of the day everyone felt physically tired, it’s hard work walking through a muddy wood all day long. For the most part it was dry but there were some short spells of rain – but this didn’t dull our enthusiasm and certainly didn’t stop us enjoying the day.

I was also very proud of the fact that I scored just under 400 points, Cliff was our leading scorer but Bob came third overall for the day which he thoroughly deserved.

Here’s a few pics from the day but As always you can view the pictures from the shoot here.

Kings Norton Traditional Archers, from left to right: Phil, John, Alex, Richard,Simon, me, Cliff

Me shooting in the rain …

Bob Tate from Wolverine Archers, a true gentleman and wonderful archer!

Oaktree Shoot

Had a wonderful time today, took part in the Oaktree Archers Shoot just outside Droitwich. Everyone had a great time, I was pretty happy with my score for the day have to confess I really struggled in the second half because it was so cold. Cliff was the best of our archers today only beating Richard by 14 points. It was Simon and Alex’s first shoot and both did extremely well.

I’ve posted a load of pictures up here.

NFAS: Seedfield – My first ever field shoot ….

On Sunday I attended my first ever  NFAS field shoot. It was in Seedfield near Manchester so Richard and I got up pretty early Sunday morning and made breakfast for ourselves and John (Richard’s father) and Cliff (Richard’s older brother). After breakfast we set off around 7am, and got there just before 9am.

There were at least 80 archers competing on the day, everyone seemed very friendly so I didn’t really feel out of place and in fact I had a lot of fun chatting to some of the other archers. I took a load of pictures from the event which I’ve posted up on my flickr account.

It was my first ever field shoot so I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect, but basically there were twenty targets scattered around this pretty large wood. The archers are divided into twenty groups of four. Each group begins on a different target. As all the members of the group finish shooting you move to the next target and so on. We go around the entire course twice. To put it into perspective, it took just under three hours to go around the circuit once.

You have to shoot at each target from one of three pegs that are placed at different distances. The red peg is the furthest and the blue peg the closet to the target. The idea being that you shoot once from the red peg, if you score then you don’t shoot again. If you miss however you then have to move to the white peg, if you miss there you move to the blue peg. So you shoot a maximum of three arrows at each target. You can score a wound, a kill or an inner kill, with points awarded based on which beg you scored from for example an inner kill from the red peg on your first arrow is worth 24 points.

What makes field shoot’s far more interesting is that you don’t neccessarily have a clear line of sight to the target as this picture shows (click to enlarge):

I often found myself having to shoot between trees, and since the targets can be at different elevations and varying distances it made the whole experience far more challenging. Up until this shoot I had only ever shot indoors at a fixed elevation which was roughly head height. I had no idea how I would get on in a forest.

Here’s a pic of the four of us:

And here’s one of me …

By the end of the day I was exhausted, everyone was! But I was over the moon … I managed to score 424 on my first ever shoot which apparently is an incredible score, considering I actually out scored a number of seasoned archers and I’ve only been doing this for five weeks!  I had a good teacher tho 😉

I’m really looking forward to the next field shoot which is on December 16th!

Tutorial: Making my own Arrows

As I mentioned in an earlier post on Bow Maintenance, Richard promised to teach me how to make my own Arrows from scratch. I have documented the entire process below with pictures which you can see in more detail on flickr.

To begin with you need a number of items:

  • A fletching jig
  • 12 x 11/32 Wooden shafts .
  • 24 x 3″ Parabolic Black Fletchings.
  • 12 x 3″ Parabolic PinK Fletchings.
  • 12 x Plastic Nocks
  • 12 x Field Points ( 100g )
  • A tenon saw
  • Super Glue
  • Taper Tool

I bought all my equipment from  Perris Archery and Quicks Archery. I should point out that you don’t need to buy pink and black feathers, you can buy an color you like but what you need to ensure is that you ave 3 times as many fletches as arrows you are making, and that each arrow will have two fletches of the same color, and single fletch, the cock feather, which should be a different colour. Below is a picture of all bits and pieces layed out on the table before we started …

 Step 1 – Taper and Nock the Arrows.

The first thing I had to do was Taper one end of each arrow. The Taper Tool is basically a special pencil sharpener that is designed to sharpen the end of a wooden shaft so that you can fit a plastic nock to it perfectly. The first picture below shows me using the Taper to sharpen the arrow, and the second picture shows all twelve arrows sharpened and the Taper Tool.

Ok at this point I am now ready to add the nocks to the arrows. Richard told me that with a dozen arrows I should have five with red nocks, four with white nocks and three with blue. This is because in field archery when you shoot at a target there are three coloured pegs from which you shoot – red, white and blue. Which denote the three distances from which you attempt to hit the target and thus score points. The coloured nocks denote which peg each arrow was shot from.

We fit each nock to the sharpened point by first pouring a few drops of super glue into the plastic nock and then twisting the nock on to the shaft. Any excess glue needs to be wiped off. The glue will dry very quickly so it’s important to ensure its a secure as possible. The first picture below shows me fitting a nock, the second shows all twelve arrows nocked.

Step 2 – Cutting the shafts to the required draw length

Once the arrows are nocked, we then had to work out what my draw length was and then cut each arrow to that length. To determine the draw length Richard asked me to draw one of the nocked arrows on my bow and took some measurements ( didn’t take any pictures of this ). Richard then showed me how to cut the arrows to this length using a tenon saw, pictured below:

Step 3 – Fitting the points

Once the arrows are cut to the same length we then need to use the Taper tool again to sharpen the other end of each arrow. The metal points are fitted in the same way as the nocks, the only slight difference is that the taper tool sharpens to a longer point. Instead of pouring glue into the fitted point you spread the glue on the sharpened shaft to ensure maximum coverage. The fitted point is harder to get on and you need to ensure that you twist it on very carefully, if slip you might drive it into your hand which hurts:

Step 4 – Fletching the Arrows

This is the slowest and most tedious of the activities. The fletches must be glued onto each arrow using the fletching jig. You first glue on the cock-feather. When you shoot and arrow the cock-feather always points away from the bow at 90 degrees, this ensures that the other two fletches dont strike the bow full on as the arrow flies off the string, as a result many archers choose to use a different coloured feather to ensure their arrows are always shot consistently.

You insert the fletching into a clamp and apply a thin layer of glue to its edge. The clamp and the fletching jig are magnetic this ensures that each fletching can be positioned perfectly. As you glue each fletching and remove the clamp you twist the end on the fletching jig which rotates the shaft to the next position and repeat this until all three fletchings have been glued on.

Once the arrows are flectched your basically done. However Richard and I spent some time designing and printing out some decals on transparent film for our arrows – these have the club logo on them and, in this instance, my name, in case I loose any arrows during a field shoot the organisers can always send them back to the club if they are recovered by other archers. Here’s a couple of pics of the finished product …

All in all it took about 90 minutes to make these from scratch under Richard’s expert tutelage. I found myself feeling a surge of pride when I finally strung one of the finished arrows on the bow, although the pink + black fletchings might not be to everyone’s taste they are certainly … distinctive … and look quite stunning. I can’t wait to shoot them! I found the experience to be very therapeutic, it’s the sort of thing you can do whilst watching a DVD ( as we did this evening ).