Author: Dustin Jones www.highcountrybowhunter.com
As you can probably tell, I am getting a little anxious to get out and start hunting again. I am in the down season where predator hunting is the only season open right now and I’m looking forward to the summer/fall to cure this itch that I have. While this time of year is a point where not very much is open to hunt, I am taking advantage of practicing and participating in the many upcoming 3-D archery shoots. There are some big ones around here that are worth going to like The Bogus Challenge over in Boise Idaho or Bowcast at the Bird down in Utah where you get to scale the mountain to shoot realistic situations.
There is so much you can learn and grow from as a bowhunter by shooting 3-D targets. I’m not saying that shooting a block target is bad or that you should only shoot 3-D targets. When you get the chance to shoot at a life-sized deer, elk, turkey, or any animal you are pursuing, you gain that experience that you otherwise can't from just a block target. I wanted to share some of the benefits that I have gained.
Sure the vitals on a deer are all in the same place, just as every elk has their vitals in the same place. But what happens when you get an animal just slightly quartering towards you or away from you? What about if they are bedded down? There are so many different possible situations that you could encounter while hunting that you couldn't possibly prepare for everyone, but you can prepare for a lot of them by shooting at life-size targets. Being able to set up a quartering shot, long distance shot, or even a kneeling shot will help prepare you for those situations better. You can also quickly walk up and analyze the shot placement, make any adjustments and try again.
You can see different situations and scenarios in this picture
You spot your animal and you notice that there will be just this one little opening for a possible shot, should you take it or let it pass? Setting up a realistic situation is very easy to do and great practice. Set up your target with some brush in the way so you have to adjust a little, or even set it up at odd distances instead of at the regular 20,30, or 40 yards. sometimes those shots that are 36 or 43 are just enough to get you to over-think your shot. The two shoots I mentioned in the beginning are great examples of this as they are set up on a mountain and you scale the mountain to take your shot on different animals in different situations.
Teaching my boy while he's young
When I shoot either at the 3-D range or at a local shoot, I am usually with friends or family when I go. Being able to have great company and friendly competition always adds to the level of enjoyment. Let's be honest, it is much more fun to shoot at something that resembles the animal you will be pursuing rather than a cube. Having friends or family share in the archery experience is priceless. My wife actually owns a bow but has made it very clear she does not want to shoot a live animal, but she loves getting out and shooting 3-D targets.
Fynch and his bear
Smiles All Around
These are just some of the many benefits of shooting 3-D. Look up your local archery club or local archery shop and see what kind of shoots are happening in your area. There are plenty of opportunities to get out and experience shooting 3-D. Here is a video of the last shoot a couple weekends ago. It was a blast and there are plenty more on the horizon.