Since there’s still about six months to kill before fall archery deer seasons roll around again, our nation’s bowhunters might just need to settle for the next best thing: taking aim at foam instead of flesh.
3-D archery shoots are a great way to stay sharp throughout the off-season, and there are plenty of local clubs across the U.S. hosting weekly opportunities for archers to hone their skills by shooting regularly, either through high-stakes competition or just for plain old fun.
Here’s the skinny on some of the best 3-D archery events of 2015.
1. I.B.O. National Championship Triple Crown:
1st Leg- Bedford, IN: May 15-17
2nd Leg- Fairview, PA: June 12-14
3rd Leg- Marengo, OH: July 10-12
Created in 1984 by a group of passionate bowhunters, the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) annually hosts its Triple Crown of Bowhunting, consisting of three national tournaments hosted in separate states. Utilizing identical rules and classes, the Triple Crown culminates with the crowning of national champions of various age, sex and equipment classes. The series continues to expand each year and has become the undisputed indicator of the best individual performers and equipment in the sport of 3-D archery and bowhunting. www.ibo.net
2. ASA Pro/Am Tour:
McKenzie ASA Southwest Shoot Out – Paris, TX: April 23-26
TRU Ball/Bear Archery Pro/Am – London, KY: May 29-31
Mathews Pro/Am – Metropolis, IL: June 26-28
Delta McKenzie Pro/Am – Cullman, AL: July 24-26
Team Realtree ASA Classic – Phenix City, AL: August 20-23
The ASA Pro/Am Tour repeatedly draws the biggest sponsors and best shooters in competition archery. This year’s tour offers 34 shooter classes, ranging from pro to youth, and includes compound, traditional and crossbow categories. Each ASA Pro/Am tournament consists of two rounds of twenty individual 3-D targets contested over a one or two-day period as determined by the tournament director.
3. Rinehart R100 Tour:
Lindsborg, KS: April 11-12 Denton, TX: April 18-19
Columbia, MO: May 2-3 Coshocton, OH: May 23-24
Staunton, VA: May 30-31 Sturbridge, MA: June 6-7
Batavia, NY: June 20-21 Aurora, MN: June 27-28
Olympia, WA July 4-5 Yankton, SD: July 18-19
Sparta, WI: July 25-26 Wabash, IN: Aug 1-2
Saginaw, MI: Aug 15-16 Fayette, IA: Aug 29-30
The Rinehart R100 tour has been dubbed “the greatest archery shoot in the world.” The traveling sensation features an incredible assortment of 3-D targets ranging from dinosaurs and bullfrogs to giraffes, elephants and more. 67 of the 100 targets come directly from Rinehart’s 3-D product line, while the other 33 are custom-made targets, designed specifically for the tour. Shooters can register online to shoot 50 targets in one day or opt for a discounted 2-day pass, which is good for all 100 targets. www.r100.org
There’s always a ton of targets, and prizes, at the Rinehart R100 events.
4. Prime Total Archery Challenge Tour:
Seven Springs, PA: June 5-7
Salt Lake City, UT: July 17-19
Big Sky, MT: July 31-Aug. 2
Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, Arizona, Indiana- Coming soon!
Total Archery Challenge (T.A.C.) is the premiere outdoor sporting event in the United States. T.A.C. combines the draw of an archery expo with the fun of non- competitive 3-D archery shoots. T.A.C. provides individual archers of all skill levels with an unforgettable experience shooting 3-D targets at the nation’s best venues. Prizewinners are drawn from an attendance raffle and from various novelty shoots. This is one event that will test your nerve, challenge your skill and leave you begging for more! www.totalarcherychallenge.com
5. Spring 3-D Bowhunters Festival:
Brickerville, PA: April 11-12
The Spring 3-D Bowhunters Festival is cooperatively hosted by Big Buck Archers and Big Chiques Bowmen at the J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation in Brickerville, PA. Benefitting Boy Scouts of America, the festival boasts five different ranges, including the “Hammer Course,” which is an advanced distance and obstruction course certain to challenge even the most talented shooters. Novelty stations include flying fish, bionic bucks and a 3-D “Coon Shoot” after dark. All 3-D targets are auctioned off at the close of the festival. www.bigbuckarchers.org
You never know what kind of critters you’ll find at some of the country’s best 3D shoots. Exotic targets like this dinosaur from Rinehart Targets are becoming more common.
6. Tim Farmer Archery Classic- KY
Frankfort, KY: May 16-17
The 20th annual Tim Farmer Archery Classic will be held May 16-17 at the headquarters of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in Frankfort, KY. Named after Tim Farmer, host of the department’s popular “Kentucky Afield” television show, the tournament will have 19 classes for men, women and youth shooters to compete for cash/trophy prizes. Sponsored by the Christian Archers of Kentucky, the event draws shooters from across the state and beyond.
7. Pennsylvania Bowhunter’s Festival
Forksville, PA: Sept. 18-20
“The world’s largest archery event” has been held at the Sullivan County, PA Fairgrounds every year since 1957, except when local flooding forced its cancellation in 2011. The three-day event offers a wide variety of entertaining activities to prepare bowhunters for the fall seasons. The Festival features the famous “Forksville Running Deer” target, mechanical bear and turkey targets, pop-up and moving small game targets, a timed clay pigeon shoot and three game trails designed with all 3-D targets to simulate bowhunting in a northern hardwood forest. www.pabowhunters.com
Keep your bowhunting skills sharp in the off-season through 3D archery.