A Girl and Her Bow...

I first heard about 3D archery shoots during my “ladies night” archery event, which takes place every Tuesday night at NC Hunter Supply. Since I have only just recently started getting into bow hunting I am constantly looking for new ways to improve my skill, increase my knowledge and gain new experiences.  And now that spring has arrived and summer is approaching all I want to do is spend more time outside in this beautiful weather.  So this past weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity for my husband and I to give this 3D archery course a try and see what all the commotion was about.  And let me tell you, we were not disappointed.  

Basically, almost every Sunday from February until August (so during the hunting off season) there is a 3D tournament being hosted somewhere in the central North Carolina area.  There are different classes you can compete in or you can just shoot for fun.  Think about golf, there are 18 holes on a golf course and each is different; well with the 3D archery courses there are 20 stations and 1 additional station at the end that acts as your mulligan so it can replace your lowest score.  Each station is set up differently, using different 3D targets, which range from all types of animals sometimes even dinosaurs; some targets maybe climbing a tree while others are in a resting position on the ground.  You walk through the woods from station to station almost like you are hunting these targets.  Different colored PVC pipes mark your shooting spot and the colors are used to represent the different divisions.  Again, just like in golf, think of these as your markers for where you would tee off; the father back from the target the more challenging the shot, which places you in a higher class level.  However, part of the challenge with the 3D archery competition is you are not allowed to use a range finder and your shooting marker is not always the same distance away from the target.  This is where I had the most trouble because I am not good at judging distances merely by sight.  

You shoot 1 arrow per station/target.  On each 3D target there are specific rings you want to aim for; these typically coincide with the “kill zone” but not always.  When it comes to scoring, think about playing darts, there are 3 rings: largest, middle and smallest.  The smallest ring equals 12 points, the middle area is 10 points and the largest ring equals 8 points.  If your arrow doesn’t land within any of those areas but you still hit the target then you get 5 points.  A missed target results in 0 points.  There are also different types of scoring for different types of targets, IBO and ASA, but I won’t get into all of that so for now this is the simplistic explanation of how the scoring process works. 

I shot in the women’s novice division and Caleb shot just for fun because he was recovering from a recent back injury. An overall perfect score is 240.  I only lost 1 arrow and scored a 164, which put me placing 3rd in my division. (And yes there were more than 3 women competing.) Overall, I was pleased considering it was my 1st time shooting on a 3D course.  I know I have lots of improvement to make but whether you’re going out there competitively or just for fun, I guarantee you will have a blast!   It is also amazing practice during the off season as a bow hunter.  All hunters know, very rarely are you presented with the perfect situation for harvesting an animal, the 3D archery course helps you practice a cornucopia of shot scenarios in order to maximize your skill level while practicing judging distances. Also, 1st time shooting going out there "just for fun" and not to compete get to participate for free, so you have no excuse not to try it at least once! :) 

For more information & the summer schedule go to:  http://www.centralcarolinaarchery.com

- Courtney Sweetser Smith

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