Size really does matter
This weekend R and I participated in another local 3d shoot. We didn’t even pause to take any shots at the practice range, we just jumped right in. The first target was a caribou, which I had never seen before on a 3d course, so I judged the distance, shot my arrow and proceeded to hear leaves and sticks getting hit…aka I missed the target.
I knew I had made a good shot, so the problem was obviously my yardage judging. As we walked up to the target I knew exactly what had happened. This target was MASSIVE! I had no idea it was so big, so in judging my yardage I thought it was closer than it actually was. This caused me to shot under the target, though I was lucky that we were able to find my arrow and it was not damaged.
This was a 40 target event (most local ones are 30), and they definitely had a good mix of targets and settings. Overall, I seemed to be doing well…except for the giant animals or the tiny animals, as for some reason those were throwing my yardage off big time. The other main issue I was having was seeing the targets in dark settings, especially when we were standing out in bright sun. This is really my own fault for not setting my bow up properly for 3d.
I use one of the smallest (if not smallest) peep size available for target shooting. This was I am able to frame the rings of the target, and with the exception of a couple indoor ranges this is not an issue bc there is always plenty of light. When shooting 3d, however, I really need a larger peep to allow more light in. This would greatly improve my chances of being able to see a target once I draw back and look through my scope.
If I were competing at a top-level for 3d, I would also tune my bow for the arrows I was using, I would create and print a sight tape that was specific to my setup, and I would probably actually use a completely different bow in the first place (one with more speed!).
Attention to equipment is definitely the area I have spent the least amount of time on this year, but if you talk to any professional, I can guarantee that would tell you that at least 1/2 their time is spent setting up equipment and getting it “perfect” for their next event. This is probably the area that is least known by those outside the sport, as most sports, athletes spent virtually all their time training.
But back to this weekend’s shoot. I was up on R at the 1/2 way point by something like 12 or 16 points. I was pretty shocked by this, as I had had two misses and only two 12s. The difference for me really was the lack of 5s. Usually I have a lot of 5s, but after 20 targets I only had shot one!
The second half started great for both of us, and we were motoring through the course. There were some tricky shots, but we both seemed to be hitting 10s on most targets. Then with just a few targets left my luck changed. I just missed the 12 ring with a great shot, placing the arrow exactly where I was aiming, and then I proceeded to make some poor yardage calls and had a 5, 8, 8. R had turned the tides and with one target left I knew I needed a 12 to have any chance of beating him.
R was nice enough to remind me that this was a large animal (moose), so keep that in mind when I judged my yardage. However, even that didn’t help me, as I didn’t even know where on the animal to aim. I just took a guess and went for it, only to shoot a low shot, barely an 8. He of course finished with another 12 and once we tallied the score, he had won by 6 points.