Report: South East Bowhunter Championships 2013

 

Over this past weekend two archers from the club travelled to compete at Na Laoch Dall’s (NLD) field course near Waterford airport. NLD are an Irish Field Archery Federation (IFAF) club. Normally, entry to IFAF competitions would be limited to IFAF members but in this case the organisers, South East Field Archery, have there own insurance policy which allows the participation of Archery Ireland members. This approach, while not common here, is routine in some other countries and opens up a greater variety and number of competitions to archers. This is a very positive move and the organisers are to be congratulated for it. There is a difference of bias in the type of equipment and aiming styles between the two codes of field archery in this country and with the intermingling of archers, which included archers from the North and The Netherlands, the competition was an education for all.

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The competition was unmarked 3D with targets stretching out to 60 yards. Yes, Imperial measurements, but they were translated to metres, in three decimal places for the string walkers. World Archery 3D is limited to 30 metres and unmarked field to 45m, so the extra distance for estimation, ~9m, is a challenge. However the organisers had back stops set up and these proved their use with archers able to shoot in (relative) comfort knowing they weren’t going to be spending ages looking for needles in hay stacks. It is truly amazing how arrows can hide themselves away and the use of binoculars is a gift here too.

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The first day was an International 3D round, with up to three arrows to be shot at each target. You stopped once you were sure you had a scoring arrow. There were higher points the earlier you hit. Scoring was also based on hitting the ‘Kill’ zone or the further out ‘Wound’ zone. There were 28 targets set in woods divided over three rings from the central area (you could stop for FREE refreshments up to three times during your round). Shots for the smaller targets were all from the same peg but on the bigger targets there was a ‘walk up’ with the next shot closer than the last.

The second day was a Standard 3D round. Two arrows per target but each target had three scoring zones- inner kill, vital and wound. Every target had two pegs, so an arrow from each. Some second pegs were closer and some further away. Again, 28 targets.

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Each round would take about five and a half hours which included ‘down time’ for refreshments.

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The weather, which was booked in advance, behaved itself quite well with only a slight shower during the middle of the first day. It was quite pleasantly warm.

 

The woods are mainly commercial species and are a second planting so there are quite a few deciduous trees, intermixed and on the periphery, giving a well-established woodland feel. The undergrowth was well under control with ferns and ivy predominant. However the paths were well cleared and the course was well sign posted. An important detail when you’re walking around a ‘live fire zone’.

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Organisation was first class with memento badges and stickers available and some nice attention to detail.

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There was a good mix of ages with a lot of youngsters, showing just how alive the sport could be in future years. The sexes were both well represented so all in all a very pleasant mix of …. very pleasant people.

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All types of weaponry were there to be seen from the most elegant but simple English Longbow, to the American Flatbow (the other ‘longbow’), to hunting recurves, bowhunter recurves, Olympic recurves and compounds bedecked with Star-Trek technology. My only regret is spending not long enough talking to people to pick their brains.

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When the dust settled and bows were put away the prize giving was swift, friendly and efficient. Jane Langley had taken silver in the Adult Female Barebow Recurve category and Antonio Firmo was wearing the gold. Well done to you both, a true test of archery skill and distance estimation in a sylvan environment.

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(Click on the pictures for a bigger image.)

 

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