Working on improvements

I took a brief warm-up of 21 arrows at 20 yards before moving onto my 3D range this morning. The plan is to focus on 3D with increasing difficulty over longer yardage. I was able to set myself up for some tough shots. My final score proved I’d succeeded with the plan. The intent of the session was to analyze why my 3D scores have dropped over the past six weeks.

The IBO World Championships are only a few of weeks away. During the past several weeks my average score per target has continued to drop. I was at 10.4 points per shot in the early summer and as of today’s morning practice down to 8.5 points per target. Something has changed.

Shooting in the woods I carried a note pad and recorded distance, score, and type of faux animal target.  Returning from practice I did an analysis of the shots and review of each.


The targets included a bear, wolverine, coyote, turkey (shot from two sides), a buck, and a mountain lion. Since the turkey set-up had two presentations (front and side shot) that gave me 7 targets. I shot twenty arrows in a series, hitting one target then moving to the next, recording the data, until I’d completed 20 shots.

The distance varied from 11 yards to 50 yards. I added the 11-yard shot because short shots seem to be popping in competition. The average for distance for all shots was 31.8 yards with 8 targets over 35 yards. The average distance for the shots over 35 yards was 41.6 yards. Six targets were at 40 yards or greater, max at 50 yards, for an average of 43.5 yards.

Mountain lion at 50 yards.

Prior to each shot I judged the yardage then compared my distance to that measured using a Simmons range finder. The values were within a maximum variance of 5 yards – one target had that large of a variance. When there was a variance I used the distance I’d guessed rather than the range finder when aiming. On the target yielding a 5-yard difference between my estimation and the Simmons measurement (40 yards my guess, 35 using the Simmons) I shot an 8 the arrow hitting low left an few centimeters out of the 10 ring. The general variance between my eye and the electronic eye was 1.8 yards.


I ended the session with three fives, a clusters of eights and a fair number of tens and elevens. The higher scores were insufficient to significantly improve the overall score. (It is hard to fix a five)

Review of the fives exposed one major error where I aimed with the wrong pin and shot high. That was a careless mistake that has been plaguing me for months; I’ve done it twice in competition, both times earning a goose egg. There was one clear yardage error where the shot was low but inline with the center 11 (IBO scoring). The third 5 was wide to the right and a poorly executed shot ( I knew it the second the arrow released, all shots using a hinge style release). The average distance for a 5 score was 43 yards.

There were also three 11s and 5 tens. The average distance for these shots was 27.3 yards with a maximum of 42 yards (10 scored). The remainder of 8s led to an average of 8.5 points per targets and a final score of 170. The percentage from perfect, based on a maximum score of 220, is 23% (77% scored),

Overall accuracy seems distance dependent. Right and left error weren’t a significant problem. Up and down was the issue, primarily when judging yardage over longer distances.