HFT Diary:Time to Negotiate
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- Last updated: 17/03/2017
OK; let’s assume we’ve somehow managed to survive Christmas. The New Year is indeed upon us, and as we slowly slip into 2017, it’s that time again, to take stock, and look ahead to the coming shooting season. For those of us slightly obsessed with HFT, that means checking the posted lists of competition dates, and then getting down to the tricky business of processing the bookings. And for those out there who are yet to transfer from club level to national event, make 2017 the year that you get involved, and try your hand at this exciting sport. You may just get to love it!
As we now have two separate competition schedules, there’s a plethora of shoot dates to keep us happy throughout the seasons; yet as usual, if we are to keep the partners happy, a level of diplomacy needs to be exercised at some point! It’s heartening to see the whole family taking part in many cases at the national shoots, and for these ‘group’ devotees of the sport, there’s unlikely to be any arguments about ‘doing too much shooting’. But for many of us, HFT is our personal time, away from our loved ones, and whilst this can be healthy, even vital for our well-being, it does require some negotiating skills on occasions!
Striking a balance is the key, and I for one, don’t really want to be shooting every single weekend in any case- preferring to mix it up with a few stay away jollies with the chaps, followed by time with ‘er indoors’.
Each round of HFT competition has a finite number of entries that can realistically be put through a course on any given day, so in theory, it pays to be quite quick off the mark, and get entries posted off well in advance, to guarantee a space, and avoid any disappointment. The UKAHFT (United Kingdom Air-rifle Hunter Field Target) association run events need strict prior booking, and the list of events are posted on their website at https://sites.google. com/site/ukahft/ . This requires an application form to be printed off, filled in, and posted off to the organisers, with an accompanying cheque for the appropriate fee. £10 per round at the moment, and with your best six scores from nine rounds to count towards the end of year listing, we can effectively miss or discount three rounds. This allows for a particularly poor round, and a few dates that can’t be made. Fail to book an entry in time, and it is just possible that certain rounds will have a space on the day, but I would check with the organisers prior to making a long trip just on the off chance!
Ian Bainbridge and the HFT Masters crew tend to take a more relaxed approach towards bookings, and last season normally required shooters to add themselves to an entry list on the website and then pay on the day. Although, again, last minute places may be possible for certain rounds- so keep an eye out, and monitor the sites listed below, for the latest information.
Take a look at the competition dates listed below, and it soon becomes clear that so called ‘double’ weekends are becoming more popular. Here, there is a separate national event staged on both the Saturday and Sunday of a particular weekend, with the idea being that travel is minimised. Of course, for those of us up for the whole weekend’s action, part of the fun of these shoots is the social aspect, so it’s time to get booking the hotel nights too.
And on that note, a word of advice! A couple of years back, I remember hearing about a young shooter from my region informing the hotel chain in advance, that he was bringing ‘firearms’ to the hotel. Though well-intentioned; given the hysterical times in which we now seem to live, semi panic ensued. Several phone calls to head office by the hotel reception staff later and they were apparently trying to block shooters from staying! OK; our friend’s actions were naïve in the extreme, so the moral of the story is - don’t feel under any obligation to declare to the hotel staff that you are carrying airguns into the hotel! If challenged, state sporting equipment and leave it at that!
One final point concerns a rule change for the coming season, made by the UKAHFT organisation, so governing their events. New wording states ‘Smoking/ Vaping is not allowed any closer than 6 ft back from the firing line’, which needs to be born in mind by any smokers at these shoots. A rule that has apparently stirred some back chat on social media (what doesn’t these days!), but one I feel probably means well; intending to prevent a cloud of mist enveloping a shooter and obscuring their vision at the vital moment.
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:
https://sites.google.com/site/ukahft/ and www.shooting-the-breeze.com
https://sites.google.com/site/whfta1/ In addition, details of HFT Masters events can be seen at www.hftmasters.net
16th & 17th April World HFT Championship
R1 21st May Quarry Hunters, Wales
R2 18th June Buxted, Sussex
R3 22nd July MAD, Essex
R4 23rd July MAD, Essex
R5 26th August Furniss Mill, Shropshire
R6 27th August Furniss Mill, Shropshire
R7 24th September Cambridge, Cambs.
R8 14th October Emley Moor, Yorkshire
R9 15th October Emley Moor, Yorkshire
9th April Cambridge, Cambs.
7th May Harrogate (6th &7th May Northern Shooting Show)
27th May MAD, Essex
28th May MAD, Essex
11th June Cloybank, Scotland
30th July Emley Moor
13th August Meon Valley
30th Sep-1st Oct European HFT Championship
29thOct MAD, Essex