Enjoying Backyard 3D – Well, Backwoods 3D in this Case

I am fortunate that I have a 3D range on my property.  When ever I want I can head out to my woods and practice.  Admittedly, my urge to shoot foam diminished in 2019 because it became too expensive to make the drives to many of the tournaments.  But, it is truly refreshing to take a break from shooting dots and shoot foam.

Camera zoom at 43 yards
This small boar practiced here at 32 yards

When we lived in Maryland, when I’d just started shooting a bow (6 years, 4 months, and 11 days ago as I write), I could drive to a 3D tournament every weekend in less than 45 minutes each way.  Heck, I could shoot in Delaware in not time flat. (In those States every 3D was an IBO 3D)

In North Carolina the longest ‘routine’ drive for me was an hour and there were often multiple events on any weekend during 3D season.  Of course, if I wanted I could drive further to attend other 3D events and I often did make the longer trek. We lived on the coast and to head to city like Asheville you can plane on 5 1/2 hours of non-stop driving. We’re actually closer to Asheville now that we live in Georgia than we were while living in North Carolina by 2 1/2 hours.

North Carolina is a large state. NC ranks 28th among US states in size. Georgia is even larger at 24th. In Georgia there are plenty of tournaments if I am willing to extend my driving time.

Camping for a tournament 3 hours from home.

If I’m going to a tournament that is 2 hours one way I’d rather take the camper and spend a night or two. What I do for a Saturday tournament is leave on Friday, set up camp then hike in the campground or State Park.  On Saturday shoot then back to the campsite.  I might cookout or go to an interesting local restaurant. Then pack up and head home on Sunday. It is fun but it ain’t free.

I know a lot of folks consider 4 hours of driving to shoot a 3D event is easy.  I’ve done it myself.  But, I’d rather not spend 4 hours on the road to shoot a 4 hour event. That’s the entire day gone for 20 shots (we’re all ASA here in Georgia for those IBO 30 target readers).  No, if I’m driving 2 hours one way it needs to be a destination event where I can camp and do other activities for the effort.

There are frequent spectators on the range

Georgia may have other nearby 3D events I’ve not yet discovered that might reduce the travel.  Too many times, so far in Georgia, I’ve hooked up the camper and made a weekend of attending a tournament. Yes, it is fun.  It is also expensive.

This turkey is in a shadow. It is a pretty tough shot despite being close at 27 yards

Since I retired admittedly I’ve gotten a bit tighter with my purse than I was when I had a flowing disposable income.  Every purchase I make I consider the cost and benefit far more closely than during pre-retirement.  Studying my family’s life expectancies statistically I’ve got 3 to 4 decades left before I kick the bucket.  So, rushing off to every potential cash burning archery tournament could in the long run hurt.

It happens
Zoomed photograph of this little bobcat at 24 yards

Having my own 3D range helps with the fun and costs nothing more than wear and tear on targets and range maintenance.  Most of my targets were purchased before I retired and a number were hand me downs. Each year I fill the old targets with spray in foam and they’re good for another year.

Trail cam got me after pulling arrows on that bobcat.

Every once in a while I move them around the range to change my view of the target.  I also change the shooting position to keep practice interesting.

Badger at 37 yards. Not a long shot but a technical one.
You can see the angle of the arrow on this badger – just getting the ten ring

For example, during the last practice I moved so that I needed to shoot a very clean shot to send an arrow between tightly grouped trees in order to reach the target.  Another time I stood at such an odd angle that arrows either hit the mark, banked off a tree or buried themselves in leaves. To be sure these tough shots have cost me more than one arrow. On this day no arrows were sacrificed.

The arrow marks the spot of this little boar at 34 yards
And these arrows hit the spot

Some of the shots I create I doubt I would ever see; some do represent interesting shots I have seen.  Whether or not 2020 becomes a total Covid-19 bust remains undetermined. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy shooting alone.

To have those arrows hit the spot you have to “Watch out for that Tree”