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Field secrets 2
- by L.

Next saturday. We are all sitting down on our usual seats. Drinks are ordered and the club members turn themselves to me and my field buddy. "Come on. Tell us more about that material!" Ok, you guys asked for it. Take a pencil and note down.
I'll begin with the most obvious stuff: the archery-shooting-stuff.

First! Make a personal list about what you will be taking along and check it before departure. It happens all too often, in the heat of departure, with the roadmaps in our head, that items are forgotten... and it's a bit annoying when you empty your entire car-trunk looking for that missing release or finger-tab when you are 400 km away from home... then realising it's on the kitchen-table at home :-( .
If you are lucky, you might remember a club member that has a late shift and will only depart late that same evening. He or she might be able to make a small detour and pick it up... *pfew* That was close. But you might not be that lucky so be warned!!

Most things I will tell will seem childishly obvious... I don't care, as long as you take note of them ☺

Here I go:

Bow and stuff
• Bow: Handle, grip & limbs (two!!)
• Sight: all parts (and SP*!)
• Arrows: minimum of 6, with markings: name – clubnumber – arrownumber
• Quiver (extra handy if equipped with extra side-pockets... actually this is almost a must-have)
• Belt (adequate for the job: holding a lot of stuff on your hips during a weekend of ruff terrain)
• Arm- and chest-guard! Even if you normally do not use these! They might help to prevent your string from hitting your arm or clothes when you are wearing 3 T-shirts + rain clothes because of the sudden extreme cold or other "tempting" weather conditions on the fieldcourse
• Backback or sack, sometimes with integrated folding stool which comes in very handy when you are in ruff terrain all day and it has rained... and there isn't a dry spot to sit down and relax while waiting your turn to shoot. Now a BIG TIP: take a rather big and strong plastic dirt-bag and put it into your backpack, then put all your stuff into that dirt-bag. The dirt-bag is air- and RAIN-tight... so your stuff will stay dry, even after three ours of hard rain in an open field, where your backpack may begin to fail despite its optimistic "guaranteed-water-proof" label.
• An extra dirt-bag ☺ will do wonders when it is poring rain for hours. Just cut out three holes and slip it over your head, pass your arms and you have a very good protection against the rain... put a T-shirt over it and you can keep on shooting while keeping at least your upperbody warm and dry, which is VERY IMPORTANT for keeping up moral and sense of humour ☺
• A bowstand... with a sharp spike to put into the ground. A small conventional indoor stand with three little side-bars will not do the job when you are on a steep rocky sloop in the woods.
• Your sight-marks... on paper (as well as on your sight!) Always keep an extra copy for that one time where you lose your notes on the field-course. And it is a good idea as well to put them in a water-proof plastic bag. A note: marks made with pencil will always stand the rain. Never use a pen or non-waterproof-markers... So take a pencil along as well ☺
• Binoculars: magnifying 8 to 10, diameter 25 till 50. Magnifying more then 10 will make the image instable when not using a tripod (which you are not on the field course!). The larger the diameter, the brighter the image, which is a good thing when shooting in shimmery conditions as we often do. You also have the choice between:
a. regular cheap binoculars
b. small binoculars that you can keep dry in a little water-proof-sack on your belt
c. expensive, big quality water-proof binoculars

It is VERY important that, during the competition, you evaluate every arrow. It will prevent you from making sometimes expensive, arrow-losing, mistakes. Imagine the day starting with a good little rain, then the sky is clearing and the sun is shining brightly... and you're mocking because of your cheap binoculars that are filled with water or damp and not-usable for the rest of the day. So you guessed it .. option a. was actually NOT an option. On the other hand, do NOT bring along your grand-dads submarine-ZEISS-20 kilo-binoculars... Your belt and hips will thank you for it.
• a hat, hood, cap... anything that can keep your head dry and/or away from the sun and that will help you prevent the sun blinding your eyes. Remember that in Field you might find yourself shooting a target on a steep hill... with the sun a meter next to it! It is also told that a hat will prevent tics from falling down into your hair and climbing down into your clothes and doing their thingy: sucking blood, Yuk!
• Block note and pencil (I covered that one already) just for taking notes, exchanging addresses with the nice team-companions you meet for the first time, for marking down tips that can prove valuable on another course (as: "wow, just had to retract 8 meters on my sight for a steep-down-50meter-target")
• SP*!: Spare parts. When you can, it is never silly to take along spare parts, sometimes even a spare bow. It is not fun when by accident or other cause, you end up with a bow that fails or has a deficiency... and you just drove 400 km without being able to enjoy the weekend shooting. You might as well just take out your spare equipment, tinker a bit with the material and end up with a great weekend and a lot of experience AND stories to tell at home
• Release or finger tab or... AND spare one that is kept in your backpack for the day or in the side-pocket of your quiver
• The same for a fingersling if you use one...

And off course, there is much more... but that's for next Saturday
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