Oregon Sportsman's Club

Oregon Sportsman’s Club

Archery, shotgun sports and youth education located in Oregon, WI.

About 3D Archery

What is 3D Archery?

Ten point buck.

3D archery is a subset of field archery focusing on shooting at life-size models of game, and is popular with hunters. 3D Archery can be participated by anyone at any skill level. 3D Archery can be set in the woods, fields and sometime even indoor ranges. Guessing the distance is probably the number one skill in 3D Archery. In unmarked 3D Archery, you must guess how far the target is in order to make a high scoring shot.

3D animal target shooting may be the closest you can come to hunting without live game. Bowhunters who have participated in 3D tournaments report that their shooting ability -- and hence their hunting ability -- has measurable improved. 3D Tournaments gets the adrenaline pumping, making your holding, aiming and releasing feel much like what you experience during the adrenaline rush of being up-close-and-personal with a live animal. It’s very important to remember that 3D is target shooting, not hunting. Aim accordingly, and be particularly wary on angled shots.

Indor 3D Course.

Most 3D courses are shot from the ground but some do have elevated platforms. About 1/3 of your shots on our course are from elevated platforms.

Though the goal is hunting practice, hunting tips (broadheads) are not used, as they would tear up the foam targets too much. Normal target or field tips, of the same weight as the intended broadhead, are used instead.

Marked 3D vs Unmarked 3D Archery

There are two types of archery events, marked yardage and unmarked yardage. The majority of the shoots are unmarked yardage. This means you stand at your designated stake and try to guess how far the target is. You then take your shot trying to score the highest possible points.

In Marked 3D Archery, they will tell you at each stake, how far the target is. Some clubs will even put a small dot on the highest scoring ring. Your object is to hit the highest scoring ring.

It is most common to see unmarked distances in 3D archery, as the goal is to accurately recreate a hunting environment for competition.

Types of Archery Targets

Ten point buck.

Generally, the 3D Archery will shoot at various animal shaped targets. These are close to life sized animals. The types of animals will vary depending on the club. You may see everything from Antelope, Deer, Sheep, Snakes, Beaver, Skunk, Moose, Elk, Cougar, Bobcat and much more. We even have Alligators and Dinosaurs!!!

3D Archery Classes?

Each club will have their own requirements so please check with them. However, here are some general classes. The closest stake to the target is for the Cub Class (usually under 11 yrs). The next will be the Youth stake (16 and under) followed by the traditional archers stake and then bowhunter, open and competition stakes. Competition and Open classes are generally 45 or 50 yards as a maximum distance. This does not mean they are all that far.

At OSC we have stakes for adults and for cub only. We have divisions broken up by Male vs Female, Fingers versus Release, and age (Cub, Junior, Adult).

Shooting etiquite

Each shooting location is marked with a stake. There may be multiple stakes representing each shooting class. For OSC, we use orange stakes for the adult and junior shooters and yellow stakes for the cub shooters. Some part of your body is supposed to be touching the stake or you need to be standing over the stake as you shoot. Archers compete only against other archers in the same class.

Shooting proceeds in rotation. The shooter who went first on the last target goes to the end of the line. The shooter who went second last time moves up to shoot first, and so on. This way each shooter has opportunities to watch others shoot, perhaps gathering a little extra data on target distance, and times when he or she must be the sacrificial lamb and go first. When shooters of mixed classes shoot together, in our case adult versus cub, the shooters using the stake furthest away typically shoot first then everyone moves up to the shorter distance stakes for the rest of the shooters.

Bring extra arrows! You will loose some. Be considerate of others when looking for lost arrows and do not hold up other groups.


After all arrows have been shot, the archers move forward to the target to score the hits. When retrieving arrows or searching for lost arrows, have one of your party stand in front of the target or lean your bow against the silhouette to show the shooters following behind you that the target is not clear. Usually one person is responsible for pulling the arrows and calling the scores, occasionally asking for a second opinion when an arrow is close to the line. A second person records the scores for all shooters. Caution: When pulling your arrows from the target, make sure you and any of your fellow archers are NOT standing directly behind the arrow as you pull it. If it breaks free suddenly, you will discover that even an arrow's knock is sharp enough to cut. Not following this advice is the cause of the most common accident in archery. You've been warned!

There are two organizational methods for scoring. IBO (International Bowhunting Organization) and ASA (Archery Shooters Association).

For all IBO sanctioned shooting events, the targets shall have scoring as follows:

  • 11 points - 11 ring or 'X' ring centered inside the 10 ring (NOTE: We use 12 points for the 'X' ring)
  • 10 points - 10 ring or Heart, consisting of a circle inside the vital area.
  • 8 points - Vital - A Vital area (8 ring) that roughly approximates the heart, lung, and liver area of the appropriate animal.
  • 5 points - Body - The remainder of the animal shall be considered a body except as set out in the paragraph below.
  • 0 points - Miss or arrow not touching body color.

An arrow embedded in the hoof or horn of an animal, not touching body color, is considered a miss and is scored as a zero. Targets with legs of a different color than the main body will still be considered as body color for scoring. Some targets have material surrounding the actual outline of a target animal. This additional material will NOT be counted for score.

  • If more than one scoring area is visible on a target, either scoring area can be used unless otherwise noted at the shooting stake.
  • An arrow touching the line marking the edge of a greater scoring area shall be given the higher score.
  • Arrows must stick in the target in order to receive a score other than a zero with the exception of a pass through, robin hood, or bounce back
  • An arrow that passes through a target may be scored if witnessed and agreed upon by the majority of archers in the group. A pass-through is an arrow passing completely through the target with material 360 degrees around the arrow, leaving a separate entrance and exit hole. If the pass through was witnessed by a member of the group other than the shooter, and the group cannot agree, the archer may re-shoot the target before the group advances to score the target.
  • An arrow embedded into the nock end of an arrow embedded in the target shall be scored the same as the arrow embedded into the target. An arrow that hits another arrow, with the arrow being struck showing visible damage - that does not stick in the target shall be given the score of the arrow that was struck. The majority of the group must agree that: a particular arrow was struck, and that striking the arrow prevented the arrow from sticking in the target, or the arrow shall be scored as a miss. A bounce back is an arrow that squarely strikes the target and bounces back toward the shooter. An arrow that glances off the target is not considered a bounce back. A bounce back may be scored if the score can be agreed upon by the majority of archers in the group. If a member of the group other than the archer witnesses the bounce back and the group cannot agree, the archer may re-shoot the target before the group advances to score the target.
  • An arrow released or dropped accidentally will be scored a zero unless the archer is able to retrieve it while touching the stake and re-shoot it within that archer’s two minute period.
  • Any arrow intentionally shot into the ground or any object other than the target shall be considered an act of un-sportsmanlike conduct and the arrow scored a zero.

Although IBO sanctioned events scores 11 points for the X ring, I have typically seen this scored as 12 points for clubs in our area (including ours).

Some clubs/organizations use ASA scoring. On these animals there are 4 rings, the same 3 of that are used in ASA shoots plus an additional 14 point ring. The placement of the 14-ring will be in the upper rear half of the 8-ring (vital). It will be touching the 8-ring and an imaginary line drawn from the top of the 10-ring (heart) toward the 8-ring. This will position the 14-ring above and to the rear of the 10-ring. (Exceptions will be made on an animal like the standing bear, where there is more room below the 10-ring for placement.) The purpose is to increase the risk of missing getting a 5 (body) or 8 (vital) instead of slightly missing the 12 (x) ring and getting a 10 (heart).

Finishing Up

After finishing the course, it’s off to the clubhouse to turn in your score, get something cold to drink and see how everyone else fared. This is when the stories begin: hitting the 12-ring on the 40-yard caribou, the perfect Robin Hood at the expense of your $10 ACC, perhaps the many arrows that were lost in the grass, or the arrow that shattered when it hit a tree instead of the target.