We all dread the summer doldrums. Hunters across the country now begin fearing the infamous “summer blues.” Without potential game to chase, the warmer months provide a drudging torture that we all must endure. Or do we? 3D archery shooting is coming on strong across the country. Every day the number of sportsmen involvement grows. People are increasingly discovering the fun environment this sport proposes to its hobbyists. The benefits of participation are endless. For those who do not take the competition side seriously; it is still beneficial by keeping the common hunter in shape for when September finally roles around. Those who take on the challenges of archery shooting will find it a rewarding activity.
What It Is All About
Three-dimensional target shooting is a fun sport for all ages. The competitive yet laid back environment is perfect for each outdoorsman. However, before heading to the range, there are a few basic rules and regulations to know before jumping in. In most cases, rules will virtually be the same from club to club; but slight variations will sometimes be noticed. There are also certain associations that recognize different rules as well.
There are two types of archery events: marked and unmarked yardages. The more common of the two types is unmarked. Do not tease yourself with the idea of using a rangefinder to aid in efforts. In virtually every competition it will be against the rules to use this equipment. This being known, the main skill in unmarked events is not shooting. Instead, effective judging of yardage is much more important.
Scoring is one of the things to know about before heading to the range. When competing in these events, the highest score wins. On each target no more than twelve points can be achieved. Before competing, study the circles on a target such as the one shown in the picture.
The smallest circle represents the twelve ring. Most targets will have several of these quarter sized “goals.” The next ring outlines the ten ring. Naturally, the last ring outside of this will illustrate the necessary shot to score an eight. Any shot outside of these three rings mentioned should be scored as a five. Completely missing the target or hitting the antlers or hoof (if a deer target) will be a no score result. Knowing this, most shoots will not have three-dimensional whitetail targets alone. It is likely there will be other animal targets including black bear, wild boar, turkey, elk, alligator, etc.
There are different “classes” to compete in. Why is it important to know this? Each class will shoot from different yardages. Some classes will shoot at closer distances, while other classes will shoot at greater distances. There are a couple of factors that will determine what class a shooter will participate in. The first is the age of the shooter. The second is the equipment being used during the competition.
Each club where a shooter competes will potentially have variations in their rules and regulations. So, it is extremely important to talk to them and ask about specifications within the rules. In most cases the classes are as follows.
The first stake closest to the target will generally be the youth stake. Children sixteen and under will shoot from this location. The next stake out, in most cases will be of interest to those shooting traditional archery. Anyone not using the compound bow will take their stance here. The third stake is for the bowhunter class. This is the most commonly shot class. Those who are using a bow that is strictly set up to hunt will generally be a part of this class. An example of such a bow can be observed in the photos provided. Last on the list will be referred to as the open and competition classes. These contestants will shoot from the greatest distances and are generally the most skilled of archers shooting compound archery equipment.
Keeping It in Tune
Many competitive enthusiasts shoot year round. But for others, their participation picks up most during the “dead period,” lasting from late January until September. The dreaded months of February through August are the saddest times for an avid deer hunter. However, this time can productively be used to better a hunter’s accuracy for the fall; and who knows, a little fun might be had while doing so.
Think of this as lifting weights for football. All summer long football players lift and workout to prevent injury and increase strength. The result is a fit and toned body to use on the field when season starts in the fall. Much is the same when comparing these practices to a hunter.
Constantly shooting represents the parallel between football and hunting. Shooting is our weightlifting. It tones the body to become stronger and more accurate through the repetitive nature of muscular memory.
The toning of the body coincides with the toning of the bow itself. By shooting on a regular schedule the bow becomes more accurate through usage. Constant tuning and adjusting of the bow naturally follows frequent shooting. What develops is a well tuned bow and a physically fit body to match up against whitetails in the fall.