HFT Blog: Conscious Effort
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- Last updated: 23/03/2020
This time of year, with dark and cold early mornings, and limited daylight and sunlight, it’s totally understandable if we all get a little lazy and skip the odd practise session. Yet, and whilst I occasionally tend to take my foot off the pedal and slow up with my shooting program at the tail end of the season, it always amazes me just how fast the new season comes around! And sometimes I feel that I am behind the curve in terms of readiness for it.
The key is to keep things ticking over, and keep a practise regime going, just so it isn’t a shock to the system once the regular events return. If you are a real fanatic and take part in Winter leagues come rain or slush, then you don’t have to worry. However, whilst I used to literally shoot a main event every weekend in my FT days, happy to get everything soaked in the quest for silverware, I have now become a fair weather bod, still craving results and loving the sport, but not quite able to bring myself to put in the right amount of dedication. So, for the likes of me, a conscious effort is now needed to navigate through the colder months!
Running my own HFT club means I am at least duty-bound to turn up each Saturday within reason, and here, we lay out practise courses, with one eye on the official UKAHFT governing body rules. This makes sense, as it means you can properly assess how suitable your equipment is, and how you are progressing on a personal level. Set targets out at any old distance, and it may be fine for a fun shoot, but you’ll learn little with regards to taking on the national events. It’s all about range estimation and correct trajectory after all, and that is completely undermined with targets set either too far, or at the wrong distances for kill size.
Attend an official national event and the HFT host club will be affiliated to the governing body UKAHFT and the target course set to their guidelines and regulations. Fancy challenging for trophies in this highly competitive arena, and the obvious starting point is to learn these rules, since they largely dictate what sort of targets we have to shoot, and at what distances.
Familiarising ourselves with the basic course guidelines, makes sense, and practising on targets set to the correct distances, as mentioned, is vital in order to properly evaluate technique and progress.
Unsupported standing or kneeling shots can be placed out to 35yds, so we instantly know the maximum distance. Supported standing shots of 35mm-45mm kill zones can be set out to a maximum 35yds, whereas a 25mm kill zone can go out to 30yds. Likewise, supported kneelers of 25mm can go to 30yds, whereas targets of 35-45mm can now go out to 40yds. Knowing this detail means we can also have more of an idea about the pellets trajectory, which all helps to nail the targets, but success does rely on us correctly identifying the size of the kill in the first place.
One inch/25mm kills can now be placed out to 40yds when taken prone, and the smallest 15mms can only go out to a max 25yds. Again, knowledge is power. Learn the rules and stipulations, and far less is left to chance. Indeed, I had a conversation a while back with an old colleague who is an extremely experienced FT shot from years ago. He surprised me when he said that he considered HFT to be potluck, with all the small kill zones now included. It was an outsider’s observation, yet interesting nonetheless, if a little misguided.
Admittedly, on certain days the brain can get scrambled, but identifying many kill sizes is possible, and once the official rules are then applied, much of the guess work is removed. Yes, of course, in the heat of competition, and with several targets ‘shot-up’ at the latter stages of an event, it can be hard to differentiate the kill area from all the shot marks that have missed the target and hit the plate. And in such circumstances, an educated guess can be the only option left.
OK; so, we’ve established that gaining the knowledge is vital for success, but another key element is to practise taking more awkward shots. My club has a mix of shooters and abilities, but those who make the effort to practise and attempt the odd kneeler and standing shots, are invariably the ones that end up in the medals. Take the easy option and shoot everything from a rock stable rested prone position, and you are shielding yourself from those testing discipline shots. A good rule of thumb in practise, is that if you are not going to learn much by taking the shot, then adopt a different position or approach, and stretch yourself.
Do your homework, put in the time, and you will indeed make your own luck as they say.
Pre-season 22nd March 2020 Theydon ARC, Theydon Bois, Essex, (RM4 1ST)
Round 1 26th April 2020 Misfits HFTC, Leicestershire, (LE16 7QB)
Round 2 17th May 2020 Meon Valley, Hampshire, (SO32 3QX)
UKAHFT National 7th June 2020 Details TBA
Round 3 27th June 2020 Rivington, Lancashire, (BL7 0HG)
Round 4 28th June 2020 Emley Moor, Yorkshire, (WF4 4HZ)
Round 5 18th July 2020 Maldon & District (M.A.D.), Essex, (CM3 6PZ)
Round 6 19th July 2020 Maldon & District (M.A.D.), Essex, (CM3 6PZ)
Round 7 22nd August 2020 Furnace Mill, Shropshire (DY14 8NR)
Round 8 23rd August 2020 Nomads HFT, Worcestershire, (WR6 6PL)
Round 9 25th October 2020 Quarry Hunters, South Wales, (NP12 2BQ)
Gathering November (TBA) TBA
World Hunter Field Target Association
World HFT Champs, 19th & 20th Sep 2020, Weston Park, Shropshire, (TF11 8LE) www.whfta.org
World Hunter Field Target Organization
* European Hunter Field Target Championships 5-7th June 2020 Hungary (Ravazd) www.ehftc2020.eu/en/
* World Hunter Field Target Championships 24-26th July 2020 Slovakia (Skycov) www.whfto.com
For pre-booking application forms and downloads regarding established UKAHFT events (where bookings are possible), and all the latest information on anything connected with Hunter Field Target shooting, take a look at the following websites: www.whfto.com www.ehftc2020.eu/en/ www.whfta.org www.ukahft.org and www.shooting-the-breeze.com