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Senlac Dragon Shoot - A taste of Bowhunter Challenge

Senlac Dragon Shoot Report – 17 & 18 July 2021

The idea for this weekend started with the meeting of two men: Henry Bodnik, bowyer, instructor and architect of the BEARPAW Kill Tournament[1] and Phil Marr, who dreamt of bringing Henry and the Tournament to the UK. Phil, an established course layer and maker of creative targets, wanted to give the UK archers the experience of shooting the unique style and also showcasing to the European archers the large Class 1 contingent in the UK.

Knowing that this tournament would attract many archers from across Europe, and that Senlac Field Bowmen’s normal woods were not large enough, an alternative location was sought. This is when Gilly and Clive Nickols kindly offered the use of their outstanding Isenhurst Estate to host the event. The estate, a private woodland in East Sussex spread across 350 acres is a mix of woodland and heathland with impressive changes in terrain and altitude. The Estate also has several lakes and ravines that were to be put to good use by the course layers.

Originally planned for July 2020 the global COVID 19 Pandemic led to the event being postponed to July 2021. Unfortunately, in May 2021 the pandemic travel restrictions meant that Henry and the Europeans were unable to travel to the UK and the event was postponed again to 2022. With the Senlac Field Bowmen team having spent 18 months planning, building and growing enthusiasm for the event, Phil agreed with Henry that a UK only event could be run as a warm-up for 2022. At this point the Senlac Dragon Shoot was born and 72 archers enrolled to take on the challenge.

When the weekend of the event arrived the unseasonal torrential rain of the previous three weeks was replaced by sun and temperatures in the high 20’s and everything was set fair for a great weekend’s archery. Eighteen archers were shooting in Class 1 with a mixture of English Longbows and self-made Primitive Bows, with thirteen in Class 2 and as expected a large Class 3 entry. Alongside the usual mix of foam 3-d targets were a number of Phil homemade specials, the Senlac Giraffe, the Silverback Gorilla, a couple of rainbow trout and a tree stump so realistic nobody realised it wasn’t real.

Big name archers from across the National Field Archery Society were competing to try and tame the course, but the devious use of light & shade, shooting angle and restricted shoot windows would prove to humble some. Archers used to standing upright with both feet on the ground were having to get used to kneeling, lying down or making the most of the peg placement.

At the end of two days shooting there were a lot of hot, tired but happy archers having experienced for the first time and different kind of shoot. The winners in each class were as follows:

  • Class 1 Women: Freda Marshal (156)
  • Class 1 Men: Andy Doyle (248)
  • Class 1 Men Youth: Ethan Huggett (59)

  • Class 2 Women: Joyce Morgan (45)
  • Class 2 Men: Roger Massey (770) 

  • Class 3 Women: Jan Seed (138)
  • Class 3 Men: Jed Cullen (1140) – double the score of 2nd place
  • Class 3 Men Youth: Jack Massey (221)

But the shoot wasn’t just about prizes it was about the experience and nothing echoes this more than the comments received from the archers themselves a selection of which are below:

“Beautiful, devious, challenging, dastardly and hot…. Absolutely loved it”

“What a cracking amazing, fantastic, awesome weekend, thank you”

“this weekend I attempted, and sometime actually made, shots I would never have imagined I had in me!”

“this was in doubt an experience not to be missed”

“possible the most enjoyable shoot I’ve done EVER!”

 And from many, many people “cannot wait until next year”

Hoping you are enjoying the pictures from the weekend and we look forward to hosting Henry and his team, and all our archery friends from across Europe and the UK in 2022.

[1] Now rebranded as the Bodnik Bowhunter Challenge

Henry Bodnik Instinctive Archery

All of our archery courses and seminars are designed to teach archers how to use a bow and arrow in a natural, instinctive way.

Instinctive Archery with Henry Bodnik

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