By Shane Chuning

By now, many of us are getting our bows out and thinking about the tags we might have drawn.  I myself along with many others shoot all year long. Regardless, this is a great time of year to get out and look into some of the 3D archery shoots that go on in your area. They are usually put on by local archery clubs and are a great way to fine tune your skills for the upcoming season that is fast approaching. Let’s look at a couple reasons why 3D shoots benefit us as bowhunters.

The Ats Queo archery range in Cedar City, UT

First, let’s look at what we may normally shoot at when we are practicing during the year. Most of us are familiar with the Block targets, Morrell bag targets, Delta bag targets, etc. Now they have their purpose and are great products, so I am not knocking them at all. However, for the most part, we are shooting at dots, diamonds, squares and so on. This is great for practice for most of the year, but I feel a lot of us lose our focus and concentration when it comes to shooting an animal. All of a sudden, when we draw back on that game we are hunting at the time and those circles, diamonds, squares  are all gone, we then  lose our focus and we might make a bad shot or not even realize the proper shot placement on a particular animal . When we get involved in 3D archery shoots it helps prepare us for these real life situations. Often these 3D shoots take place in similar terrain situations that we may even be hunting in.

This brings up shooting uphill and downhill shots that we might not normally practice in our backyards. These can bring some challenges that we are not used to as well, but by attending some of these styles of shoots, you will become a well rounded bowhunter. It will also make you aware of your limitation in more real life situations when making a shot. A lot of us could use a little of this because after all, our goal is to make ethical clean shots on the game we are hunting. Nothing irritates me more than hearing people talk about the shots that they try and make when they normally aren’t even close to efficient at those ranges when they practice during the year.

The Ats Queo archery range incorporates a variety of uphill and downhill targets to give you a more authentic experience.

All of the above leads into fine tuning of your equipment. Some of us probably practice at 20 and 30 yards 90% of the year. This is fine for your form and muscle memory, however when you go back to 40, 50 ,60+ yard shots at these 3D shoots, you will see how well your bow is tuned, as well as your form flaws that might show up. The farther the distance the more magnified the shooter induced errors will be and the more important shooter form, along with arrow spine comes into play. Our main goal as bowhunters is to be the best we can be to our capabilities and to know our limitations as hunters. This will insure more ethical shots and clean kills to the animals we are trying to harvest each year. This is just another reason why these 3D shoots are a great way to fine tune some of our skills.

Another reason to get involved in your local 3D shoots is local club memberships. Some of these clubs are a great way to meet new people that share common interests with you and your family members. In most cases, club memberships are very reasonably priced when you factor in all of the paper targets and 3D targets that you have access to. Most 3D targets are not cheap and this is a great way to take advantage of their use through some of these clubs. A lot of them offer great family and youth activities that include barbeques after the events and fun youth shoots, etc.   I find the youth really enjoy these shoots and there is no better way to keep this great sport of archery going then to have our kids involved in these types of events. Next time you are at the archery department in your local Sportsman’s Warehouse store or at your favorite Pro Shop, ask and get involved in some of your local 3D shoots. You just might find that it’s something you and your family have been missing out on.