HFT Diary: Positive Spin
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- Last updated: 04/03/2020
Yes, it’s that time of year again, where we look towards the new shooting season, and there’s work to be done. Getting into physical shape for many of us is a pre-requisite, if we’re not to slide into ‘also-ran’ status! But it’s also at this relatively quiet time of year, that we need to take stock and arrive at some semblance of a game plan.
In an ideal world, we would all just shoot every weekend, and nothing would get in the way, but reality means family life and other commitments squeeze the schedule. I’ve listed out at the end of this article, most of the major HFT events to be staged throughout 2020, and so now is the time to decide which to take part in and get bookings in where necessary.
In the UK, the main National Series of competitions is run by UKAHFT, and there are nine rounds spread around the country. As usual, the series is run to take the best six scores from each shooter, which is a clever way of allowing for competitors who cannot attend certain events. There are two double header weekends, which are designed to minimise travel expenses and, overall, it works well. Bookings can now be done automatically online for the first time, although, you can still print off an application form and send it in the post with a cheque, if necessary.
Whilst the UKAHFT as an organisation holds sway in the UK as a governing body for the sport of HFT, it can’t go unreported that we still have the slightly farcical situation where a rival organisation is also running a World Championship. Politics of course creeps into everything and the shooting world is far from being immune to such pressures. The WHFTO event this year is in Slovakia; so, for those who fancy a foreign adventure and are prepared to obtain the necessary documentation, the choice is yours.
As for the UKAHFT Worlds, now switched to a hopefully safer time of year weather-wise and held at the beautiful Weston Park. Entries for this prestigious event are now correspondingly taken later in the year, and I am reliably informed that these will probably open in a couple of months’ time, to get ahead of the game so to speak. All events known at the time of going to press are listed below, and for full details and entry forms etc, take a look at their respective websites, also listed alongside.
Our club has just held its AGM and, along with the usual dry administrative detail, it was agreed that it really is about time we promoted the sport a bit more locally, in a bid to encourage more youngsters and new blood to take part. I’ve said it before, but luring them off the X-Box, persuading them to switch the phone off and finally getting them to step outside into the fresh air, and experience first-hand the excitement of airgun shooting, has to be a vital goal. And one that we all need to strive for, if airgun shooting and HFT is to grow and thrive long into the future.
Of course, part of the problem is the sheer choice of leisure options available today and increasing temptations that are laid before our ‘generation i-phone’. Yet if shooters around the country make a concerted effort to promote ourselves, and spread the word to a wider audience, then the shooting sports in general, manufacturers, and the airgun competition disciplines, should all benefit in the long run. News that FT attendances were down in 2019 on what they have been at Grand Prix events has to raise eyebrows, and ring alarm bells. So, not losing focus on attracting new blood, has to be the recurring theme of 2020, whether FT or HFT!
Given the relentless march of the antishooting lobby, there’s never been a better time to reinforce the counter argument. With insidious moves such as removing game shooting rights over university held land, and the disgraceful decision by Liverpool City Council to cancel a shooting show, we have to appreciate the threats and fight our corner with positive promotion.
I live in a sizeable village and we have what is billed as the largest village show, held in the middle of Summer. I’m considering running a promotional event for HFT if at all possible, and it’s this sort of event where the non-shooting public, ordinarily fed a diet of anti-shooting drivel from the media at large throughout the year, can be turned in our favour. Demonstrate the benefits of shooting and the fun of competition, let them see the grin on their child’s face as they knock down targets in a safe, controlled environment. With luck, we may just be able to impart enough positive spin to win over a few hearts and minds - not to mention recruits.
This has to be the recurring theme in 2020, so time to all start doing our bit. Or, sit back and let the supposed powers that be and loudest negative voices, slowly close the net! Let’s at least make a fair fight of it!
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
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 Recoil Championship 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