February 19, 2022 1 Comment
When you draw on an animal, time stops for a moment...
Your heart is pounding, your arms are tight, your mind is counting down the seconds with every heartbeat when really only milliseconds are passing. For mere seconds, the animal is still - in the perfect position. You may have been hiking for days or waiting for hours. Regardless, the animal is in front of you and this is your moment.
You're watching the animal’s every movement for indication of what it will do next, calculating the position of its heart and lungs, aiming your pin on just the right point. Outside it's hot and buggy. A mosquito flies on your ear but you are already in full draw, your focus unbreakable. A crow calls somewhere and you are pretty sure a squirrel has chosen this moment of all to build a nest up in a tree as loudly as possible…
Maybe there are no mosquitoes - maybe you are leaning on the side of a frigid mountain and your arms are getting more numb by the moment so your finger trembles stiffly as you hover it above the trigger. Trees and shrubs obscure your view, your concept of the animal’s position, the way you move and allow each breath in and out affected by all other life that surrounds. But you hold your breath. The animal freezes. The click of your trigger, and you release a nervous gasp.
Today we're discussing our favorite way of training for outdoor accuracy. The scenario we described above matters to us. The privilege of harvesting an animal is one we want all of you to have!
Hunting is an experience that can’t be duplicated — every shot is unique and there's not a whole lot you can do to stimulate that feeling.
You can prepare all you want, practice all you want, study all you want — but when it comes down to it, nothing can stimulate the way an animal acts in it's own habitat — the weather, the timing, the food, the season, and whether or not all of those somehow contribute to it catching you just before the shot.
Of course you can shoot bullseyes all you want, but when a good animal walks out in front of you, you are only as good as what you know. Your past experiences, your knowledge of how to aim and the right ways to hit, your instincts on when to draw back and when the shot is too far or crowded.
These things are best learned by going out and doing the real work. But there is a striking difference in the way you practice that we have found can improve your accuracy on a different level — no matter what level you already consider yourself to be on.
It's called 3D archery.
Yep. You’ve probably heard the term before likely — but we consider a deeper “why” and “how” when it comes to this sport.
We say ‘sport,’ because the activity of target archery at realistic figures can be a sport (and a darn good one) on its own! Approaching it with a hunter’s mindset? You will learn things about bow hunting you would never have noticed by shooting neon dots on a square.
We have become pretty fond of it here — it takes up much of our free time for hours and hours of practice and fun! It's the method by which all of the hunters in our extended “Bowtreader family,” prepare, and we have found it pretty effective.
3D target archery does not mean shooting at random three-deminsional shapes - in fact, it means the opposite. To qualify as '3D,' the targets must be as lifelike as possible. They typically have a section of the body that is marked off to show the interior (either organs or dots that show where they are) of what you are shooting, with different points you want to hit highlighted. And you almost always shoot them outside, preferably in the woods, so you can get the gist of shooting where the animal would actually live!
Well, since you asked, young Robin Hood, there is a BIG difference!! The key one is not necessarily that the target looks like an animal (ok maybe it kind of is…) but that the vital points of that animal are marked so you gain an awareness of exactly what you are shooting!
If you have hunted in your life, chances are you know where to find the heart and lungs of a white-tailed deer. Don’t let us lose you. We stand by our statement that this is the best way to practice — one of the reasons for this is because it all takes place outside in the animal’s natural habitat.
We have targets set up on hills and through thick of vines and shrubs. Sure, it makes finding our arrows a little harder… but you know what else it does?
You guessed it - it helps you learn the land and get a feel for what it's like to actually shoot an animal. Creating habits that focus on the organic aspects of what you're doing is always helpful.
And if those are stupid reasons to you, then we have another one:
Beginners love getting into the sport this way because it will not only teach you how to shoot a bow, but you're learning what it means to hunt and how to do it! You're learning about animals, their anatomy, their habitat, and you may end up learning a bit about their habits too — at least when it comes to shooting elk targets that are quite realistically obscured by branches.
There's a wide variety of animals you can do this on to prepare for any hunt. If you get good quality targets, we have found it's an amazingly effective way to prepare!
Why, you ask? Our best answer on why we shoot 3D is this. Anatomy. Let us explain.
You need to know what you are doing, beginners especially. We love to eat the animals God created - but because we love the meat we also take it pretty seriously when it comes to making vital shots on them. If you are even mildly interested in the sport, you need to know what is going to get you to that vital shot. And if you aren’t into hunting, that's fine. Go shoot your green dots and eat those for breakfast… but you can’t deny that 3D targets at least look way cooler!
More importantly, a lot of the beginners out there are young. 3D archery is a great way to teach children, and learn as young adults, what it means to take the life of an animal, why we do it, how we do it, and all of the extra elements that lie beyond the pelts, the fur, the feathers.
It's fun and challenging — we consider it to be a lot like putt-putt, just with sharp objects and targets instead of fake grass and aqua-died waterfalls! (okay maybe not that much like putt-putt… 😉)
We hope you'll take advantage of the resources around you with your skills through hunting, but in the end, shooting 3D targets can teach you no matter what your exact intention — from shooting for fun, for exercise, for family activities, for sport, or for competition!
Through it all, we are here to make sure you reach your goals! We traditionally host a local 3D shoot at our farm once a year — this year we're adding seven more all across the state of Georgia!
This 3D shoot will kick off our 3D Archery Tour of Georgia! Located at We're partnering with Savannah Riverkeeper to provide a location for this event, as well as promote each of our core values: to serve our community and make the outdoors a better place. Join us as we strive to live an active lifestyle by getting outdoors and educating ourselves on how to improve, protect, and respect our environment.
Everyone is welcome, snacks are provided, fun is guaranteed, safety is essential, and education is our top goal! We love getting outdoors with people and showing them the ropes of what we do.
Whether at one of our shoots or in your own backyard, we invite you to join our mission improving your skills and getting familiar with creation!
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