Monday, May 2, 2011

3D Archery - or how to deflate any overconfidence. (video)

Discussing the Grizzly Bear results. (Photo: Jamie)
Humbling! Other than an excellent way to spend an outdoor-sport day, that’s the best way to describe my first 3D archery tournament. The Edmonton Police Fish and Game Association 3D shoot was a really enjoyable event held at a great venue in the North Saskatchewan River valley. Hunting buddy Jamie and I spent the day with a friendly and good humoured father and son pair, walking two rounds of the 20 target course.

Removing arrows from the Alligator.
For those of you who are not familiar with 3D archery, it is essentially a discipline of target archery that simulates hunting conditions. Life size (or mostly close to life size) foam animal targets, of various species, are strung out along a trail on a walking course. The archers move in small groups between the targets, shooting one arrow each per target. The targets have score rings that are indistinct to the archer at shooting distances and the rings overlay the vital area on each species. Most targets have 2 rings; a perfect hit in the smaller inner ring will score you 10, a good hit in the vitals (inside the larger ring) will score you 8, outside the vitals earns a score of 5 and a miss gets you a 0. Of course in reality a hit outside the vitals should not be rewarded, but this is a game.

Who shot what on the Wapiti?
The event’s menagerie included Whitetail and Mule deer, Elk, Black and Grizzly Bears, Coyote, Javelina, Alligator, Turkey, Pronghorn and African Lion. The organizers place the targets in pretty realistic field situations e.g. the Pronghorn in an open windy field, targets in thick bush with narrow, obstructed shooting lanes that force you to kneel and shoot, and so on.

Jamie tackles the wind-blown Pronghorn
Other than the necessity to be at least a fairly competent shot, the ability to judge range and be familiar with your arrow’s trajectory is crucial (rangefinders were not permitted). Many targets’ ranges were 40+ yards and at relatively steep angles, in other words at the upper end of my shooting ability… ok, ok *cough* beyond my shooting ability. I was happy with my performance despite finding it a significant challenge. I also managed to pull off three spectacular zeros on an elk (how far was that damn thing?!), a second elk (who put that branch in the way?) and a mule deer (obviously my bow’s fault…). I managed to lose an arrow too.

I am looking forward to my next 3D shoot, that’s for sure. It’s a fantastic way to train for hunting and a damn good reminder that I cannot practice too much!

I’ll let the photos and video (thanks to Jamie for a great video) do the talking; they are no doubt far more entertaining. Enjoy.

© Brian Joubert


  1. Looks like a lot of fun Brian Joubert.

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