3D Archery Information

BHA 3D Archery General Information

3D archery is typically when you shoot your arrows at a near-life size dense foam animal target such as a standing deer with replaceable kill zone inserts. It can be practiced in your backyard simulating bow hunting for the upcoming deer-hunting season. These foam 3D targets can be placed in the woods and shoot from various distances to help simulate hunting conditions and help prepare as realistic conditions as possible.

On a larger scale, organization, such as Bowhunters of Alabama (BHA), Archery Shooters Association (ASA), and International Bowhunters Association (IBO) has set up and operated 3D tournaments for competitions. These tournaments will have 20, 25, or 30 target ranges for different types and sizes of animal targets, various terrains and at unknown distances.


The tournament course layout will differ at each event and chapter but will typically have 20 or 25 targets set from 5 yards to a maximum of 50 yards in a combination of woods and fields. Divisions or classes of shooters will be set by the organization to group shooters by age, gender, and/or equipment choices. An example would be a Bow Hunter  class would shoot at a maximum range of 30 yards.


You may see everything from Antelope, Deer, Sheep, Snakes, Alligators, Beaver, Skunks, Black Panther, Ram, Hog, Elk, Cougar, Turkey, Bear, Bobcat, Bison, Zebra, etc. Targets may include a deer bedded down, standing with head turned away, gobbler out in an open field, or big black bear climbing a tree. A deer facing slightly away may be standing behind a split tree truck in which a shot must be made between them for the kill or a hog turned 30 degrees away down a slope. It is up to the range master how he will lay the course out and vary the distance from shooting stake to targets.


Each animal will have a scoring area that will simulate the typical kill zone area. Each organization will have its own scoring rings. See Figure 2 for BHA typical scoring area.

Figure 2

Scorecards will be given to each participate upon registering for the tournament event. Each participate will have one arrow shot at each target from their designated maximum range (stake), and score will be recorded. See Figure 3 for sample scorecard.

Figure 3
4x6 BHA Scorecards Front_General

BHA Competitions:

BHA Chapter Affiliates conduct 3D tournaments from Feb until Sept of each year. Generally, there is one held in each Zone (three total Zones) each weekend with championship events held in each zone and finally on the State level to complete the season. Shooters are not required to be a BHA member to participate at the chapter levels but are at the State Trail Shoot level and State Championship Tournament.

Skill Level:

3D tournaments have many classes for different skill levels and equipment. Even beginners and children can have a lot of fun shooting 3D. Typically, the archery equipment used is the deciding factor as to what class participates will be assigned to and how far away the targets will be. See the BHA 3D Tournament Rules for equipment restrictions, classifications and tournament rules.

Known Distance: 

When shooting in a known distance class a shooter is allowed to carry a rangefinder with them in order to measure the distance from their respective shooting stake to the target. This will allow the shooter to be more comfortable and confident when making a shot.

Unknown Yardage:

Guessing the distance is probably the number-one skill required for bow hunting AND 3D archery. In unknown distance 3D archery, archers must determine the distance from the shooting stake to the target. This will be awkward for the beginner (either child or adult) at first but shooting weekend after weekend builds proficiency and accuracy in scoring. This provides confidence when shooting at live game while bow hunting thus reducing your chance of injuring an animal. There are PLENTY of BHA members who are willing to help those that are just getting into 3D. BTW, it is very addicting and GREAT for the family to get outdoors and have fun together.

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