3D Struggles

At then end of last year’s 3D season I was averaging 9.61 points per arrow. There were times when I shot just fine other times not so hot. Thus far, 2016 sucks. My average 3D score is 8.35 points per arrow. That’s a loss of over 25 points per 20 targets. Something has run afoul.

This badger can be a tricky shot beyond the ground obstructions.
On this one, I guessed well on the yardage.

I practiced a lot over the winter. It was cold and I shot a lot of dots. The main two reasons, it was cold so I shot indoors and the USA Indoor Nationals were in the spring. Still, I got outside several times per week to shoot 3D.

A week ago I shot a tournament, outdoor at paper, in which the sequence of arrows was: 20 at 60 yards, 20 at 50 yards, and 20 at 40 yards. I shot well and ended up second. I was pleased with my final score. Granted I’d been out scored but I’d shot well losing by 2 points. A few days prior to that competition I’d shot a 3D contest, I ended up second, but shot like crap.

My assumption was that I’d spent so much time shooting paper that I was failing in my yardage estimates. That’s easy to test, I when to the range, guessed at 20 targets, shot them, and then took a yardage measurement with a range finder.

I try to make the shots 3D realistic – this one at 42 yards.
When I pulled the arrow at the 42 yard deer I discovered a frog had found a nice spot to enjoy the day. I left him to his pleasure.

My final scored yielded, you guessed it 8.35 points per arrow. The kicker is, my estimate of the yardage was only 0.80 yards difference. The mean distance for all targets was 37.15 yards with a range of 23 yards minimum ( a mosquito) and 54 yards maximum ( a mountain lion). These results did not yield a clear indication of the problem.

Looking at the individual variance in yardage error was more revealing. When I misjudged I was off by 2.3 yards. On one, which probably skewed the values, I missed judged by 13 yards. If I removed that error the misjudged value becomes 1.65 yards. Seeing that I’d missed judged by 13 yards was a shock.

There were a lot of distances that were correct. But the errors when I made them were large enough to land me 5s and 8s. It only takes a few of those to lower a total score. Where I judged soundly, I shot 10s and 12s. This little exercise was telling. It shows that when I guess yardage well I shot pretty good. When I am off, I am off and at times I am way off.

Judging yardage is one of the challenges of 3D. Having access to a range within a few feet of my front door helps. But, there is still a lot of work ahead to bring my per target average back to 2015’s level and surpass it.