What exactly is 3D archery? As a general rule, when a bowhunter speaks about 3D, they are talking about shooting life-like targets of three-dimension—normally which are made from foam and placed in a way that is made to simulate a real-life hunting experience. From the beginning 3D was primarily focused on hunting practice, and because of this, the majority of the targets were designed to be shaped similar to game animals. However, 3D has quickly evolved into a sport with various rules, scoring, and numerous types of targets.
3D archery is perfect for a fun family adventure. For that reason, it is great for having some fun, or it can be used to prepare for an upcoming hunt. It can be done alone, or with friends or family members. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for young children to take part in 3D archery. It is a perfect way to experience the outdoors and for individuals to gain experience shooting in a real-life situation.
Prior to going to the range, there is some basic equipment that you need. There isn’t a special 3D bow that is required; you simply use the bow that you usually hunt with. You won’t use broadheads, though; instead, you will use field points. You should probably have some sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, an arrow removal tool in the event you strike a tree, a target arrow release fluid, a cheap arrow puller, a quiver, some arrows, and a towel for your gear and hands. There are some outdoor shoots that may be a mile or longer, so you may want to bring some water and snacks to ensure you keep yourself fueled up.
While you shouldn’t need more than six arrows, you can bring as many as you feel you will need. Some archers may bring an additional dozen to leave in their car in case they are needed. If you intend to shoot for score, then you will want to bring some paper and a pen or pencil to be safe in case it is not provided. Keep in mind that you may miss and you may lose some arrows (though if you invest in lighted nocks, your arrows will be easier to locate). If you do miss your target, don’t waste too much time looking for the arrow since it will slow you down and everyone else.
Generally, you will be charged a small fee for shooting, regardless of whether you are actually competing. The fee will cover typically wear and tear on the range and the targets.
Regarding how 3D is scored, the high score shots are those that strike in the animal’s vital section. There are generally two main scoring formats: ASA and IBO. Archery Shooters Association, ASA, utilizes 14-12-10-8-5-0 scoring areas, while the International Bowhunting Organization, IBO, utilizes the scoring areas of 10-8-5-0.
When you are shooting for the score, you shoot a single arrow at each target, and the score is then determined by the location where the arrow enters the target.
The scoring system tends to pose an issue in certain situations. For instance, if the animal is facing away from you at an angle, a hunter would normally shoot the deer so that the arrow would strike the animal midway between the rear and front legs—a lethal and clean hit in a real-world situation. However, in 3D archery, this type of hit would only provide you with five points. For a higher score, you would need to hit the outer shoulder area. In some cases, targets may have multiple scoring areas, and if this is the case, you need to find out which one to shoot at, but if you’re shooting alone, simply utilize your best possible judgment.
What occurs if your arrow hits the 10 or 12 sections? As a general rule, if your arrow is touching the section of the higher score, then that is your score. If you are unable to see the scoring rings from where you are shooting, then aim for what you believe to be the most natural lethal area. Some archers will bring a pair of quality binoculars. However, if you do this, be courteous to those that are behind you and don’t take forever. There are some shooters that will utilize reference cards for the targets so that they are aware of where they need to aim for the highest possible score.
While many 3D archery courses are outdoors, there are plenty that are indoors, which is helpful when the weather doesn’t work in your favor to have a nice day of shooting outside. Most ranges will have somewhere between 20 and 30 targets arranges at various positions and distances. Generally, traditional archers will have a maximum distance of 30 yards, though this is not always the case. If you are participating in a tournament, there will be rules that you must follow to qualify. When participating outdoors, be prepared to shoot through brush, down hillsides, and off elevated platforms. There may be areas that are incredible wooded or areas that may be in wide-open fields. The majority of the targets won’t have an indication of what the distance is to the target from the shooting mark, which gives a solid advantage to the instinctive shooter.
With indoor 3D ranges, there is usually a single line that archers will shoot from. Typically, shooters will be grouped by skill level and class. The targets may be as close as a couple of yards or as far as 50 yards, with the distance limited only by the venue.
Outdoor ranges tend to be more fun since they are walk-through courses—similar to that of mini golf. Generally, there are three to four archers per lane, and your group finishes a single target before moving to the next target. If your group is moving slowly, it is simply courteous to allow faster groups to move past you. Each skill level and class will have a chosen stake that you should shoot from, and most shoots will be operated via an honor system, which ensures that there is no cheating. Shooters are typically required to touch the stake with a part of their body like a knee or foot while taking their shot.
While each club will have its own set of restrictions and rules, there are a few basics that you should keep in mind, including the following:
If you would like to learn more about 3D archery, contact us at Full Draw Archery.
Like this article