I primarily practice specific types of archery called field archery and 3D archery. In 3D and field events, rather than shooting at a fixed target, on flat ground, at known distance, often indoors, you follow a course set out in nature and the environment. You shoot up and down hills, often at extreme angles. You shoot through the woods. You shoot in the wind and the rain. Sometimes it a blazingly hot, other times foggy and cold. Often the targets are set out at unknown distances. The people setting the course often set it to be full of confusing situations, like standing the archer in full sunlight at a target in deep shadow. A field archery shot is a combination of the execution of the shot and your environment.
Field archery is often a grueling event. We are often on the range competing for 4 to 6 hours straight. A national or international tournament can go on for several days, with multiple elimination rounds and head-to-head shoot offs.
I compete with what is referred to as a barebow, a relatively simple bow with no mechanical sighting devices, usually with no external stabilization. I shoot a recurve bow, which does not give you the advantage of “letting off” the weight you are holding at full draw (as bows with wheels do). The longer you take to aim a particular shot, the more fatigued your muscles become. You aim by taking advantage of the existing geometry of the bow and arrow. You do a lot of fairly imprecise measurement with minimal data. Especially on unmarked distance courses, you do a lot of real-time estimation. If you estimate the distance to a target incorrectly, you will not score well. If you are way off in that estimation, you may miss the target entirely.
You can spend an infinite amount of time on a flat range or indoors practicing your shot. You need to do that to hone and improve your mechanics. But flat-range practice will never make you a great field archer. It is necessary, but not nearly sufficient. To become a great field archer you need to get out into the woods. You need to combine the rote mechanics of executing the shot with the unpredictable nature of the range.
Most of the time, you have little real information about how well your competitors are doing. You are competing against yourself and your own idea of what you believe you are capable of. Sometimes that is enough; often it is not. There are little triumphs or failures at every target. Sometimes you get lucky — you mess up a distance estimation but execute a poor shot in such a way that happens to send the arrow into the middle of the target. That is rare, but one rarely wins without getting lucky once or twice.
It is a game of consistency, over a long time, with incomplete information, with imprecise measurement, in an unpredictable and constantly evolving environment that sometimes favors you and sometimes favors your competition.
- I won the 2013 US national championship in marked distance 3D in the traditional class
- I finished second in the 2013 US national field archery championship in the traditional class
- I won the 2015 US national championship in unmarked distance 3D in the barebow class
- I am a current member of the US National team and shot with Team USA at the in World Archery 3D championships in Robion, France in September of 2017
My Current Gear:
Outdoor 3D and Field (stringwalking)
- CD Archery WFX25 riser
- Uukha EX1 Limbs (40#)
- 60X string
- Jager grip
- Spigarelli ZT rest
- Beiter Plunger
- McKinney II arrows in 600 spine with 70 grain TopHat points and Dragonflight Vanes
- This set up generates 215 feet per second of arrow speed
- Sprigarelli 2001 VBS riser
- SF Carbon Elite Limbs (#34)
- Beiter Plunger
- Jager grip
- Easton Eclipse 2312 arrows with 145 grain points and 5 inch shield cut feathers
- This set up is point on at 18 meters (the indoor distance)