If you ever feel like shooting your arrows in the air (medieval style) then welcome to clout archery! But you won't be shooting marauding armies – you'll be aiming for a triangle poking out of the ground!
It is a great discipline that requires a blend of dedication, specialist and often hand made equipment while also having a bit of a knack for reading the wind!
There isn't a huge amount of info on Clout online, so we thought we would start putting some content out there. This is part 1 of an evolving series of blogs where we invite input from other clout archers (doesn't matter which club you belong to) and talk about equipment, technique and hopefully have a bit of banter along the way!
So what is clout archery?
Clout is shot at distances from100 metres. The maximum distance is 180 metres which is the distance that the open (and over) compound division participates in.
The target consists of ten scoring zones (like target) but it is flat on the ground and has a diameter of 15 metres. Coloured flags mark the colours, and the centre is marked with a triangle (usually made from cardboard or polystyrene) that protrudes from the ground.
In NSW the two main clubs that hold Clout Tournaments are Penrith and Northern. The 'Clout Fraternity' has a few characters that make each event enjoyable with lots of ribbing along the way and that can be on the shooting line (although technically frowned upon) and at the scoring line with many a great archer having done the walk of shame! Clout has claimed the careers of many a great target archer!!!
In order for the arrows to make the distance, archers usually use a mirror or prism (compound and recurve), because they need to shoot into the sky for the arrows to make the distance. The mirror acts like a periscope.
Mirrors are nearly always hand made and there are a couple of clout mirror designers within the fraternity that produce some really innovative products, namely Norm Berry and Jim Barber. If you get into clout, you'll want to get your hands onto one of their mirrors (I'll be doing a review of these in future blogs). Standard mirrors can be purchased for as little as $50 from some archery stores.
Clout archers usually also use arrows with very heavy points so that the arrows will land at a steep angle, making it it easier to see where they land. Dedicated clout archers will also opt for arrow wraps and vanes that differ from other archers to help identify their arrows at a distance.
Compound bows are usually of a lesser poundage than in target archery which also helps the arrows to descend at a steeper angle. Some of the keen clout archers will have a dedicated bow for clout.
Spotting scopes are essential to see where your arrows land and the clearer the better.
The distances start at 100 metres which is the distance for cub recurve and finishes at 180 metres for open compound division. Archers doing the latter distance will walk around 6km in a day with practise ends!
A round of Clout is 36 arrows (6 arrow ends), with a 'double clout' being 72 arrows. Scoring is the same as a target round with the exception of how the target is approached.
A 'Clout Captain' is usually nominated and will coordinate the scoring. Other archers will have a role of collecting arrows or pulling the rope. Archers will be allocated a scoring zone from 10 to 1 and will follow a marked rope which is hooked to the central clout marker as it is pulled around in a full circle and collect arrows in their zone.
Once the rope has done a full circle, the arrows are then placed in their scoring zones, then each archer is called up to call out their scores. As the archer calls out their arrow scores they then place the arrows forward of the line. When everyone has scored, arrows are then collected and the next end resumes. Spare arrows are not permitted at the scoring zone, so your quiver must be empty when you get there – that's the rule because points may be taken from you if you take an arrow to the scoring line!
A good Clout Captain usually makes the day a whole lot of fun, and within the Archery NSW clout fraternity, there is usually a lot of banter, laughs and friendly rivalry. I won't mention any names at this stage, but I'm sure they will comment below!!
Coast Archers Clout Team
Given that we don't actually have our own clout range, Coast Archers do surprisingly well at clout tournaments, and we are very grateful to some other clubs who have allowed us to train at their grounds from time to time.
Two of our Archers won gold at the National Championships in 2019. We also have 2 cubs that consistently rank highly in tournaments.
Give it a go…
If you haven't tried clout before, I would strongly suggest giving it a go, it takes a very small investment and you'll have a whole load of fun. It's like a big social round of golf. You'll make new friends while challenging yourself and having a laugh as well!
Part 1 is just a very brief overview and introduction to Clout, mainly for those that haven't yet tried it. The next posts will be more specific to those who already take part.
I would like to invite other members of the NSW Clout Fraternity to submit some ideas for future topics:
Arrow building for clout
Designers development of mirrors and prisms
Longbow and barebow clout
Rules, etiquette and the like…
Or anything else that you can think of!
So get in touch if you would like to be a part of this series on Clout Archery…
Thank you to Allan Prestige of Penrith City Archers for allowing us to use some of his photos!