Hamburg Archery Sho0t - Aug 15 2013 - 16

I don’t claim to be any sort of 3D Archery Aficionado, qualified to judge a club’s 3D Archery Program, but I do love walking through the woods, hunting foam. The purpose of this article is to take a look at what I’ve seen at various clubs and outline what I think makes for an exceptional 3D Archery Shoot.

Course Layout is Paramount

There is no aspect of 3D Archery that is more important than course layout. The way targets are arranged can be the difference between fun and challenge shots and something that is simply dangerous.

I have yet to shoot at a club where I wasn’t comfortable with shooting lanes but, in one instance, shooters were forced to double back. This was done safely but it created extra walking and a fair bit of confusion.

A club that has gone to the trouble of creating a course with various options, in terms of trails, paths, and shooting lanes, has the ability to put on a fantastic match. If there is one thing that sucks the fun out of 3D Archery, it is feeling like the course never changes.

Variety is the Spice of Life

I’ve always been under the impression that 3D Archery Targets were expensive. I had no idea just how expensive they were until I got the crazy notion to put a 3D Deer in my back yard. An inexpensive target can set you back a couple hundred dollars. Imagine having to fill a 30 Target Walking Course with high quality targets that will hold up to dozens of shooters every month!

Due to the high cost of targets, archery clubs have to do the best with what their budget allows. Sometimes this leads to an abundance of similar targets. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with this as long as the host club creates a variety of shooting scenarios and changes how targets are presented.

Stowe Archery Shoot - Sept 2013 3D Shoot - 8

Keep Shooters Guessing

A lot of people attend 3D Archery Shoots as a way to practice for hunting season. As much as I hate losing arrows, I love it when I have to stop for a minute and think about a given shot.

Shooting uphill, downhill, into tunnels, and out of tunnels can really do a number on estimated yardages. Shooting from awkward positions also creates a challenge that most archers seem to like from shoot to shoot.

The only caveat I have about these types of shots is that they are substantially less fun when a miss means the destruction of an arrow. A pond immediately behind a target, a target set against a stone or cinderblock wall, while these force shooters to focus, no one likes misjudging a shot and having one less arrow in their quiver.

Stowe Archery Shoot - Sept 2013 3D Shoot - 17

Food and Drinks are a Nice Perk

When I was a kid, I used to shoot at Wapiti Archers. Shoots were broken into two halves and regardless of which one you started on, you always had to walk past the clubhouse to shoot the second half. This created the perfect opportunity to get out of the snow, or the heat, to take a break and have a little something to get you recharged.

Not all clubs are setup to allow shooters to take a break half way through but, being able to sit down and get something in your stomach is a very nice perk when the shoot is over.

An Archery Club without a kitchen isn’t a deal breaker, by any means, but it is seen as a big bonus by a lot of shooters.

Wapiti Archers - Property Map
I lifted the Club Map from the Wapiti Archers Website

Make Haste When Posting Scores

In the days before the internet, if you wanted to see how you shot at a given match, you had to check the bulletin board at the following shoot. Perhaps the internet has made us all a little impatient but those days are long gone.

In the world of Practical Pistol Shooting, word spreads fast when a club has a reputation for taking an abnormally long time to post results. Eventually, shooters become disinterested and are less eager to attend events. When results are posted quickly, it becomes a topic of discussion at the next club’s match.

I can only imagine that Archery and Pistol Shooting would be similar in this regard. Having results posted in a reasonable amount of time is a big deal to me.

2014 3D Archery Shoot Stats - Jan

Win Us Over and We Will Promote Your Club

Word of mouth is important for any local club, regardless of the sport. If shooters, who are ultimately customers, leave happy, they will almost certainly spread the word. I know that when the topic of Archery comes up, I’m quick to recommend the clubs that have treated me well.

As I’ve said already, I’m no 3D Archery Aficionado nor do I claim to be an Archery Hotshot. The purpose of this article was to point out the things I appreciate at local 3D Archery Shoots. Feel free to hit up the comment section (below) and share your thoughts.