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3D Archery For Beginners

New to 3D target shooting? Here's a look at some basic rules of 3D archery and how to get started.
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More and more archers are realizing the benefits of shooting 3D tournaments. The great thing is you don’t have to shoot in giant sanctioned events to have a good time and improve your archery skills. Clubs and archery shops organize small events all year long. When shooting 3D tournaments you’re getting practice just as you would by shooting spot targets. But you’ll also benefit from shooting lifelike targets. It teaches where the vitals on animal typically are. Most importantly, unlike most spot target events 3D tournaments have targets at differing distances.

3D Archery Basics

Some tournaments are setup as "known-distance shoots”. At these tournaments rangefinders are allowed and in some cases the distance to the target is actually posted for all shooters to see. But many tournaments are "unknown”. In other words the distance to the target is not posted and no rangefinders are allowed. This forces you as the shooter to estimate the range by sight. When getting started in 3D tournaments, this can be a daunting task but can be mastered with time and practice. Learning to range targets without a range finder can be a huge benefit in a hunting situation as well. This is where 3D targets are superior to spot targets. An elk target at 60 yards looks much closer than a deer target at 60 yards. Learning the difference can make the difference between a successful hunt and going home empty handed in the fall.

Delta McKenzie bear targetWhile many 3D archers are shooting to perfect their skills for hunting season, there are also a lot of shooters who shoot 3Ds purely for sake of achieving the highest score they can. Some tournaments offer prizes and trophies and that is great. But you’ll find the biggest competition is against oneself. Most archers are simply trying to beat their personal best and if that leads to a trophy or prize, so be it.

Most 3D shoots are setup with 15 to 40 targets of varying size and distances. Some courses are trails that the shooter follows. Other courses are simply put together on a range and the shooter moves through stations within the range while shooting at numbered targets. The archer utilizes a scorecard to record their shots throughout the event. In many events, the shooter gets a 5 for hit anywhere on the target, 8 for the large vital, 10 for the small vital ring, and more for even tighter spots within the vital depending on the tournament.

If you’re new to 3D shoots, don’t worry about getting crushed. Most 3D shoots are very beginner friendly and larger shoots have several classes based upon skill level and equipment. Archers with specialized bows equipped with large stabilizers and movable sights typically will shoot in a different class from those who shoot with bowhunting setups or even traditional bows.

The main goal of a 3D shoot is to have fun and work toward being a better archer. If you have any questions about shooting 3Ds or getting your own backyard range started, feel free to contact us.
Written by: Chris Larsen Date: Tuesday, August 25, 2015