Improve your 3D Shooting Skills

By Jeremy Adams

Binoculars
Make sure you have a good set binoculars. By having a good pair of binoculars, with good light transmission, it will help you see the scoring rings on the target, especially if it is a black target like a bear or javalina. Seeing the target can make all the difference! Also make sure you check the rules on binocular use. Some rules state that you cannot have over an 8.5 power binocular.

Practicing
If you have the room at home set up a target and practice. I have a range set up at home where I can shoot 10-60 yards. If you don’t have this capability check with your local county conservation departments. More and more counties across the state of Iowa have been installing outdoor archery practice ranges. When practicing set yourself up at different yardages. Don’t just shoot 10 yards, and then 20 yards, and then 30 yards and so on. Grab a range finder!!! Yes use a rangefinder while practicing, doing so will help you visualize what distances you are shooting. Shoot at 17 yards, shoot 23 yards, 27 yards, 32 yards, this will tell you where to hold your pin when shooting a course. Most targets set up on a 3D course are set up at random yardages, unless you are shooting in a known yardage course. Use your rangefinder while practicing as much as possible!
Remember if you are competitively shooting a course you cannot use your range finders!!!

Grab a chair
Practice shooting out of a chair. This is a common station on the 3D courses. Sometimes it will be a stump out in the middle of nowhere that you have to shoot off of. Sometimes it will be a 5 gallon bucket with a shooting window in front of you. This is great for practice especially if you are a blind hunter or if you prefer to shoot from a sitting position in a tree stand. It will teach you how to position your legs during sitting situations.

Climb up in a treestand
Many courses around the state have an elevated platform to shoot from to simulate shooting out of a treestand. This is a lot of fun! If you have the facilities to allow you to put up a treestand and shoot at a target by all means do it. But do it safely!!! You must wear a tree harness when you are practicing out of a treestand. Practice at different heights in the stand, angles will change where the arrow hits.

Shoot up hill and down hill
Many of the shoots are on a course that has a lot of hills and valleys. Make sure you practice shooting uphill and downhill. When you do this you will notice an interesting variable. Your arrow will tend to shoot lower when shooting up hill and the arrow will tend to shoot higher when shooting downhill.

Shoot behind some trees
If you have the area to do so set up some tough shooting lanes. This will not only be challenging for you but it will also be fun. You will see some tough shooting lanes on the 3D course so you might as well practice up at home with some tough ones. By doing this it will make things easier on the range and during hunting season.

Lighting
Try shooting your bow in bright sunlight and also try shooting in a shaded situation. One thing I have found is that when judging yardages of targets, the brightness of your surroundings does affect how you judge yardage. This can be crucial!! I have missed many yardages because of the shade effect. Practice in these situations so you can be confident in your judging.