Stay Sharp … Hit The 3-D Trail

Champion shooter Brandon Reyes recommends pounding foam during the summer months.

By Jace Bauserman

Summer is in full swing, but your mind is already focused on the fall. This is going to be your best season ever, right? While positive thinking is always good, going the extra mile this summer and pounding some 3-D targets both at home and in competition is a great way to ensure your fired-and-flesh arrows find their mark.

“Quality 3-D targets offer realistic vitals and provide the shooter something to focus on other than a spot or dot,” says Reyes. “While shooting targets with spots and dots are great, shooting 3-D targets requires us to find a distinguishing feature, focus on that feature and execute a shot. This is what we should do when we bowhunt. The pin shouldn’t hit hide and the arrow take flight. We need to pick a spot: a tuft of sticking-out hair, a color variation … something.”

Yes, 3-D targets can be pricy, but are an important investment. Personally, I try and buy one 3-D target per year and then just replace the vital section when necessary. Over time, you can accumulate quite a collection. If your plan is just to purchase a single 3-D target, I recommend purchasing the species you most often hunt.

“Owning a 3-D target or two is great,” says Reyes. “You don’t have to shoot them all the time, but it’s nice to send an arrow or two into a realistic vital section from time-to-time. You can put them in your backyard, and then if you travel to the range or a public place to shoot, simply stick them in the back of your vehicle. Buying 3-D targets with a replacement section is a good idea. If you take care of the target and keep it out of the weather, it will last you a very long time.

“Another way to get to shoot a lot of different 3-D targets at various ranges is by entering a 3-D competition. Don’t worry about where you will place in the standings and the like. Simply go have fun. I recommend shooting an unmarked yardage course that prohibits the use of a rangefinder. Learning to judge yardage is a great bowhunting skill, and unmarked yardage courses are great training. In addition, you can plan on shots at various up and downhill angles. Expect shots you would find in the bowhunting woods. Not to mention the fact that you will be shooting with other shooters. This gets the heartrate up and helps simulate an in-the-field situation. You need to learn to execute under pressure, and 3-D really helps with this.

“Entering 3-D shoots and pounding your own 3-D target throughout the summer months helps keep you mentally and physically sharp. When your arrow is consistently finding the kill zone while others are watching you shoot, your confidence builds. Before long, regardless of the situation, you will simply be able to draw, aim and execute.”

No, you don’t need a separate bow to shoot 3-D competitions.

“If you get serious about competitive shooting, you may want to look to a target-style bow. However, I know lots of guys and gals that just shoot their bowhunting rigs. They shoot the same arrows, sight, stabilizer and rest that they hunt with. Those that prefer to hunt with their quiver on shoot tournaments the same way. There is definitely something to be said for shooting competition with the same bow you plan to hunt with.”

You have time. The calendar just rolled to July. Find a 3-D competition or three close to you and go have some fun and prepare for fall at the same time.


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