At the IBO World Championship the maximum distance from the target in the Pro Hunter Class is 45 yards. The equipment is the same as for the hunter class. In this class there is no distinction for age.
Other classes allow for age separation. The pro senior class has no restriction on sights, stabilizers or style of release. The maximum distance is 50 yards and the age to shot in this class is 50 years or older.
There is a category for archers that are 60 – 69 years old, is the Master Class. My age would put me in that class. In the Master Class the maximum distance is 45 yards, while the senior hunter needs only shoot from 35 yards and has an entry age beginning at 50 years old.
It is all somewhat confusing. To reduce the confusion and meet a personal goal I began shooting in the Pro Class. This means shooting further from the target – simple; not confusing. Generally speaking it means shooting against a more skilled archer.
The more skilled archer is a generalization. In the amateur class I’ve seen scores that suggested an archer should be in the pro class. Their reasoning for remaining an amateur could range from the added expense to shoot pro to simply not wanting to fool with that class. For me, shooting in the pro class meant working faster to become better at competing against archers who, at a minimum, figure they are professionals.
Shooting from the stake furthest away from the target, even a few yards, does make a difference. That difference, however, isn’t too outrageous. For example, at a recent ASA State Qualifier the average distance for the men’s bow hunter class was 29 yards and the average distance for the pro class was 36 yards. I’ve considered that difference as part of a study to determine where I should be focusing my practice.
When I shoot where the average distance to the target is 42 yards my average score (over 20 shots) is 8. The difference between my estimation of the yardage and the measured yardage to the target was 1.2 yards during this experiment. The maximum distance was 52 yards for this set of values.
When the average distance to the target is 24 yards, my average score was 10 points per target. Not a perfect score (all 11s would be perfect) but the shots were not easy. By that I mean 45% of the shots (for both the long sample and the short distance sample) were aimed at a turkey or a wolverine. Both of these are smaller targets with smaller center shots. Judging distance when closer to the target was slightly better with a variance of 1 yard per target or 0.2 yards better than when aiming against the target further away. (For these data only, 40 targets)
In all cases my equipment remains a short stabilizer and fixed pins on my sight.
The data I’ve collected over the past several days of shooting led me to a better understanding of my current performance level. As a full time archer working to earn a living shooting a bow and arrow it is important to evaluate performance though a detail statistical analysis. This type of review can provide objective information that can be used to focus practice.