I remember shooting in 3D archery tournaments when I was a kid in Northeast Arkansas. One shoot in particular stands out in my mind. It was a twenty target course set up on a powerline clearing. The targets were often old and chewed up, but still mesmerizing to a 10 year old. I probably shot thousands of arrows at that place over the years and even took home a few trophies in the "Cub" division. The variety of targets and camaraderie with other shooters really helped develop my passion for archery and bowhunting. Some of the skills learned on the course have even transferred to the woods and made me a better hunter.
There is nothing quite like releasing an arrow at your target animal. Those who haven't experienced it wouldn't understand the mixture of focus and anxiety management involved, and no matter how many times you've done it, no one gets cold to it. Consistent practice is important for this, and 3D shooting is an effective yet fun way to stay in tune.
3D shooting is great for hunters in a way that regular shooting just can't compete with. 3D shooting is great for helping build archery form and confidence through repetition, and it's also a great way to familiarize yourself with animal anatomy. If you shoot in 3D tournaments, it can even harden your nerves and help you develop calmness in moments of high pressure and anxiety.
Participating in your local 3D shoots is great but there are some pretty unique 3D archery courses across the country you should look into. Check out the following courses for a great shooting experience!
The Western Classic Trail Shoot is hosted annually by Straight Arrow Bow Hunters on their course near Redding, California. According to SABH, the Western Classic is the "world's largest marked 3D archery competition" and welcomes those of all skill levels. Besides the beautiful California scenery the course is well known for its bizarre shot challenges which include: a 4-yard shot at a butterfly, an 88-yard shot at an elk herd, and finally a 101-yard shot at Bigfoot himself!
Total Archery Challenge
You can't discuss 3D archery without mentioning the Total Archery Challenge. The TAC has become more and more popular every year and describes themselves as providing the "greatest 3D archery experience that exists." Known for its 100-plus target course and array of natural hunting scenarios, the TAC is an archer's dream. They host a myriad of events across the country every year, so log on and find a challenge near you.
R100 Archery Tour
When it comes to 3D archery, there is not a more respected target producer than Rinehart. They are a staple in the 3D archery industry and every year the R100 Archery Tour provides archers across the country with an awesome archery experience. The R100 Tour range consists of two separate 50 target courses, a Safari Range and a North American Range. The R100 Tour puts on many shoots across the country every year making accessing an event possible for everyone.
Beast Mode Archery Challenge
The Beast Mode Archery Challenge is a series of 3D archery events based in Wisconsin that focuses on a more realistic experience. According to their website, the BMAC was born out of a passion for archery, fitness, and bowhunting. Their most popular event is the King of the Hill event which provides over 40 targets in a variety of situations and terrains in an attempt to create the most realistic 3D shooting experience you've ever had. With a name like that it's hard to deny the awesome, hardcore nature of this course.
Hike to Hunt Archery Challenge
It's obvious a niche has been discovered in the 3D archery world. Hike to Hunt Archery Challenge is similar to the previously mentioned BMAC considering it focuses on a combination of fitness and archery. However, Hike to Hunt offers a suite of events covering states like New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. It's hard to compete with that legit western feeling. This archery course is sure to make you feel the pressure between a combination of challenging situations and a large shooting distance gap ranging between 20 and 120 yards.
If you love shooting 3D archery, you have to try these challenges and events. If you don't have time to make them this year, just keep shooting in your local tournaments and put them on your schedule for next year!
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