The weekend before last I found myself with free time. A four year old daughter and wife in nursing school doesn’t lend itself to many open weekends, so when Sunday rolled around and I had absolutely nothing to do, I jumped at the opportunity to take my bow out and do some shooting.

I’ve been talking about making a trip out to Wapiti Archers for the past several months but just haven’t been able to find the time. Coincidentally, this particular free Sunday just happened to be the 5th Sunday of the month (the bonus shoot for Wapiti).

I packed up my bow, hopped in my car, and began the 45 minute drive to Fort Washington.

Wapiti Archers Clubhouse - Photo From

Wapiti Archers Clubhouse – Photo From

Wapiti Archers Club Information

Shoot Day(s): 1st and 5th Sunday (All Year)
Registration: 7am until 11am
Cost: $10
Targets: 40 Target Course (Blend of Rinehart / McKenzie / R&W)

Address: 465 S Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034
Phone: 215-542-1216

My History with Wapiti

When I was a kid, some twenty years ago, my Grandfather introduced me to archery. I learned how to shoot at Wapiti Archers and spent a great deal of time there over the years.

As I got older, my family moved away and trips to Wapiti Archers were few and far between. As I got older and my time became occupied with school and work, the club became a distant memory.

Now that I’ve gotten back into the sport, I’ve been making a point to revisit some of my childhood memories at the club. I wasn’t able to make that happen until recently and I’m really glad that I got to spend some time at Wapiti.

3D Archery Course

Years and years ago, Wapiti Archers used to host Paper Shoots. A photo-realistic animal target was pasted onto a piece of cardboard and placed on a bale. Distances were all known (you could pick up a card at the clubhouse) and shooters would take four shots per station.

The club had two halves set up for these paper shoots (and long before my time they had a third course) consisting of fifteen stations per half. Paper shoots have long been forgotten and were replaced by 3D Targets. The old Paper Course and the Newer 3D Course are virtually the same.

As you walk the course at Wapiti, you’ll see hay bales and remnants of backstops from the old paper days. I seem to remember the grounds being kept a little better back when I was a kid but that isn’t to say the course isn’t maintained nowadays. The less than manicured look lends itself to 3D Archery and makes the course feel a bit more realistic.

One aspect of 3D Archery that I’m not a fan of is that many clubs tend to keep the same course month after month. The targets may change but target location and shooting position rarely do. I understand why it can be difficult for clubs to change things up from month to month, when they have established shooting lanes, but sometimes it can become boring.

Wapiti is one of those clubs that doesn’t see much change in course layout (at least not based on what I’ve seen). Where Wapiti makes up for lack of change is in the shot themselves. The course has a number of really tough shots. Partially blocked animals, tunnels, shooting platforms, and even a faux horse that you straddle while shooting.

Due to the layout of the course and the mixture of tight and long shots, Wapiti is one of the most fun courses I’ve shot. Even though I don’t expect much change from month to month, I’m looking forward to returning.

Wapiti Archers - Sept 2014 - 1

September Course Layout

Upper Half
Target Distance Animal My Score
1 34 Yards Goat 10
2 35 Yards Coyote 8
3 30 Yards Turkey 8
4 31 Yards Deer 12
5 28 Yards Coyote 8
6 36 Yards Deer 8
7 26 Yards Deer 10
8 28 Yards Cougar 12
9 41 Yards Dinosaur 0
10 28 Yards Wolverine 10
11 37 Yards Deer 8
12 29 Yards Bear 10
13 51 Yards Elk 10
14 37 Yards Caribou 10
15 24 Yards Antelope 10
16 45 Yards Bison 8
17 32 Yards Deer 10
18 21 Yards Bear 12
19 23 Yards Bear 10
20 24 Yards Fox 8
32 Yard Average 182 Points
Lower Half
Target Distance Animal My Score
21 37 Yards Deer 10
22 25 Yards Pig 8
23 37 Yards Ram 10
24 41 Yards Ram 8
25 31 Yards Bear 10
26 37 Yards Deer 10
27 50 Yards Elk 8
28 35 Yards Boar 8
29 22 Yards Deer 8
30 32 Yards Alligator 10
31 37 Yards Raptor 10
32 32 Yards Cobra 12
33 34 Yards Deer 10
34 17 Yards Bear 10
35 25 Yards Bear 5
36 58 Yards Moose 8
37 43 Yards Caribou 5
38 36 Yards Coyote 8
39 33 Yards Boar 8
40 28 Yards Coyote 10
34 Yard Average 176 Points

Besides the fact that I left over 100 points on the course (shooting 358 out of a possible 480), I think I shot pretty well (above my average as of late). I’ve been cheating with a range finder but only after guessing yardage first.

I’m finding that I’m getting better at judging distance but like the range finder as an insurance policy. I have a low recovery rate when an arrow misses a target and tend to either find arrows broken or not at all.

In the coming months I’m going to slowly transition away from the range finder. I like having one for hunting but I’d really like to not have to rely on one for the 3D Course.