June 22nd, 2012, 10:44 AM
First time 3D shooting
As a way of introducing myself...
Last weekend my son and I were invited to a 3D field archery shoot at Fraiture in the Ardennes of Belgium, not something we had tried before though we were both shooting arrows for many years. My wife had decided she wanted a day out too so she volunteered to (wo)man the camera and take some pics.
Left to right: Steven, Lieve, Bart, Me (Alistair), Victor(my son) and Jeroen
We were informed that as this was a qualifying round for the world championships the range had been set out accordingly and would be very technical (i.e. difficult).
As my son, Victor and I were beginners we were allowed to shoot from the white pin but we both elected to shoot from the red pin. We had a few practice shots at targets on a football field to check the bows were sighted correctly and then we headed out in the rain to walk round the course for the morning, it was a nice easy start and my friend Steven explained the rules etc. as we went. It was a gentle walk across a pasture and there was a plastic pig standing near a tree at about 25 meters, Steven went first and fired two arrows then I went firing my two and Victor came next, we were accompanied by a husband and wife team who shot with bare bows, we all managed to hit the first target. Then the cows came down to have a look at what we were doing, even though they were fenced off the next group to shoot had to shoo them away first.
June 22nd, 2012, 10:48 AM
Following the markers we made our way to the next target a small rabbit and a bird and they have to be taken in the correct order and also why we have our arrows marked for order of shooting them. After shooting that we moved on to the next one, a Lynx at the top of a gully where Victor managed to lose an arrow in the bushes, so far we are doing quite well and I’m managing to keep level scoring with Steven. We then follow a small trail down into the trees and bushes on the right hand bank of the gully where the pegs are laid out showing that the target is across the gully and there are trees between us and the target. This time I am the first to shoot at a range of about 30 meters, I can see the arrow of a previous competitor in an overhanging branch between me and the target but I estimate that I won’t have to aim that high to hit the target and let fly my first arrow which thuds into the soft bank on the other side of the gully just above the badger I’m aiming at, my next arrow thuds into the 8 ring on the target
Aiming across the gully
Steven and Victor do the same and Lieve and Mario with their bare bows both mange to hit from their closer peg. We trek back up out of the gully and cross over the top to go down the other side and retrieve our arrows. When we get to the target we see it is sited at the entrance of an old badgers set and further down the gully we can see recent scrapes and tracks from a still used badger’s set.
at the badger's set
We continue on down then back up the side of the valley taking the other 17 targets in turn, until we reach the club house for lunch where we have a good BBQ and discus the competition so far, my score for the morning was 275 out of 440 Steven was on 310 Victor was on 140. Our other friends were on the other course and they told us it was tough, very tough with rope climbs and caves and targets that were hidden in the gloom, we smiled and said “Bring it on”
June 22nd, 2012, 10:49 AM
Victor aiming at a bear
So off we went for the afternoon shoot first target was an eagle and a rabbit from about 15m and my fist shot glanced off the back of the eagle hit the gate post and went off somewhere to our left never to be found again and that was in an open field too, another friend was going back today with a metal detector to try and find some of the lost arrows so there is hope!
Next up was a boar next to a hedge and we all had good hit on it, then it was a difficult bambi laying down in the corner of the field, my first arrow went under it and the next had a good hit in the 8 ring.
We then crossed the field heading down hill to a hedge with a gap and there was the first rope and a steep scramble to the bottom of the embankment and our next target was off to our right, a deer standing beside a tree at about 40 meters, Thwack I hit a branch and then got my next arrow in the body of the deer scoring a 5, Victor hit a branch with his first shot too and the tree with his second shot but we managed to get the arrows back. We then moved down the hill a bit and over looked a steep drop to what looked like a sink hole to me and there at the far side at the bottom next to a pool of water was the otter we had to hit, it was about 15 meters direct to the target but with the slope we had to take about 5 meters off that, again 1 good hit and one miss for me and a bent point on the arrow that missed. Climbing down the rope I looked back to where we shot from and seen that there was a cave opening under where we had shot from, must go back and explore it some time. The next shot was at a buffalo 30 meters downhill and another rope to get down to the target, looks like I’m getting more exercise than I bargained for. We then had a small deer sleeping on a fallen tree trunk and then it was up hill again to a turkey then downhill to another deer and deeper into the woods for a pair of birds sitting on a branch. On the twelfth another deer but this time steeply uphill and I get one arrow in the target and one in the tree behind, Steven does the same with one in the target and one beside mine in the tree.
Steven hands me his knife to dig out the arrows while he and Lieve score the target after he has finished that he comes and starts to help me dig the arrow out as we don’t want to dameage the tree too much we start to pull hard on the arrow, it is hard and stuck fast we give it another pull both of us together and still no movement. We reposition ourselves and pull as hard as we can and all of a sudden pop the arrow comes out and Steven screams in pain at first I thought he had put his hand on a bramble, but no the back of the arrow has gone through his trousers and into his thigh. We undo his trousers and see the small round hole in his leg. Lieve and Mario help him back down to the track while I get on the phone to the club house to get help
We bundle Steven into the 4x4 they send down for us and I climb in the back and we head off to the club house and then on to the hospital in Luik (Liege) where we waited for about 4 hours to get attended to. The doctor probed the hole and it was 4.5cm deep, she cleaned it out and gave him some antibiotics and sent us on our way.
Steven in the hospital
We get back to the club house just in time for tea and prizes. Victor got a mention and a bag of olives from the sponsors Pere Olive, Lieve took the Master woman’s trophy for bare bow, the beginer’s trophy was taken by another Lieve the daughter of another friend shooting there.
The following week it was Steven's birthday so I got him a Tshirt ....
We are all looking forward to the next outdoor 3D shoot
June 22nd, 2012, 11:18 AM
Sounds like a good time..!
June 22nd, 2012, 12:04 PM
Nice pictures. Beautiful scenery. Looks like a good time.
Thanks for sharing.
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June 22nd, 2012, 12:08 PM
Nice land... Thanks for sharing, good read! Just shot my first 3d event on the 17th with my father. Had a blast!
June 23rd, 2012, 03:25 AM
You guys will remember that shoot for a long time, They will not always be that epic but you never know.
June 23rd, 2012, 08:44 AM
Thanks for the kind comments and yes it was kinda epic that day, Steven was worried that it would have put me off. So the next 3D Natuur shoot is tomorrow in Mechelen and we are off to it, my bow has been re strung and is shooting sweet, 1 pin for 6 through to 25 meters, it's flatter than it was last time out.
The "epic" bit tomorrow will be that we have to use boats to get to some of the targets
June 23rd, 2012, 04:32 PM
i've been through the ardennes and while it is beautiful, i don't know if i'd want to tackle those mountain-sides. i'd really like to go back and visit again sometime.
Can you point me toward the target, please?