3d Archery

11 Things to bring to a 3D Archery Shoot

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3D Archery shoots are a ton of fun and I’ve spent countless weekends attending them over the years. However, the fun can be short lived if you aren’t prepared so I’ve created a little list of things (in no particular order) that I think you should have with you when attending such an event.

Before we head to the list, one suggestion I have is that you treat 3D archery season like you would a hunting season. Prepare your bow ahead of time, practice and sight in before heading out. These events can be a whole lot of fun whether you shoot good or not, but it’s always a nice reward to add a good score to your day.

#1 – Your Bow, DUH!

Ok so this one seems pretty obvious, but I drove off without it one time. Luckily I realized just down the road and went back for it. If you know you’re going to an event ahead of time it’s wise to have your bow ready to go the night before. Make sure everything is in order so there aren’t any surprises.

#2 – Quiver and Arrows

So the bit about arrows, like your bow, is pretty obvious. I will say, make sure you’re bringing enough of them (6 as a minimum). So lets talk about the quiver. I have a strong preference towards a hip quiver for events like a 3D shoot. Most varieties will afford you space for plenty of arrows as well as a pocket or two for other things you may need to bring with you.

#3 – Arrow Puller and/or Arrow Lube

Those 3D targets can make your arrows come out a little dry so I’d highly recommend an arrow puller. This is basically just a piece of rubber that allows you to grip your arrow better and save your fingers. Back when I shot aluminum shafts I loved the arrow lube tube I had, dip your arrow in every now and then and it would coat the arrow with silicone allowing it to pull out of the target with ease. Either one of these is a good option.

#4 – Binoculars

Here’s a less obvious thing to bring with you, a decent pair of binoculars. I’m not talking about something you can see Neil Armstrong’s footprints on the moon with, any pair of half way decent compact binoculars will be sufficient. This will help you see the targets better before shooting, like where the point rings are, and also see where you arrow hits after shooting.

#5 – Basic Tools

This one is commonly overlooked, but having a few of the common tools you need to work on your bow with you at a shoot can mean the difference between finishing and going home early. Ever heard of Murphy’s Law? Murphy is at every archery shoot, I promise. I’ve had sights come loose and fall off, rests come out of adjustment, and even had a limb somehow slip out of it’s pocket during a winter shoot. Be sure to have a set of hex keys at minimum. If you have a pocket in your hip quiver, this is a perfect spot for your tools.

#6 – Pens

Yes it’s plural on purpose, because everyone will want to borrow your pen and you may not get it back. So have a couple of them with you so you don’t have to beg, borrow, and steal to fill out your score card.

#7 – Arrow Placement Cards

These are probably more optional than a lot of things on this list and to be honest I never carry these. That being said, they can be super useful for knowing where the scoring rings are on the target you’re shooting. You’re binoculars will prove useless in certain lighting situations so the cards can save your butt. Ideally you’ll want a set for both major manufacturers of 3d targets, Rinehart and Delta Mckenzie.

#8 – Multi-Tool

This is one of those things I never go to a shoot without. Multi-tools have saved my butt in a number of situations and archery is one of those. If you don’t already have one of these handy little buggers, I highly suggest you get one. Don’t cheap out too bad though as those $15 ones you get at the big box stores break easy and can be cumbersome to use.

#9 – Spare Parts

I’m not suggesting you be able to rebuild your entire bow in the field but having a few extra nocks and points for your arrows is a good idea. Also packing some extra screws that fit things like your sight or rest is a great idea. These things don’t take up much room and they can make common problems disappear quickly.

#10 – Sunscreen & Bug Spray

I really should have put this higher up on the list for dramatic effect. DO NOT forget your bug spray. While you’re outside trying to enjoy your day shooting arrows at pretend animals and colorful circles, the insects will try to feed on your delicious blood. Trust me on this one, decent bug spray will make the day much more enjoyable. It’s also a good idea to put on some sunscreen, you’ll burn surprisingly quick. SPF 30 or higher is recommended.

#11 – A Good Attitude and Sportsmanship

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to a sponsored event to compete or a local 3D shoot just for fun. Remember you’re there for just that, to have fun. Keep a good attitude, be sportsman like, and above all BE SAFE! It’s great to have the best score, but really we’re all just there to have fun and improve our archery skills.

I hope you found this list useful and I wish you the best of luck at your next shoot. I grew up attending numerous types of 3D archery events including large 40 target courses, night shoots, winter events, and more. I enjoyed every single one of them, even the ones I shot badly at. Have fun out there!

Jason Brooks

I've been involved with archery for over 25 years off and on and am always interested in learning as much as I can. I've taken part in local tournaments and even 3D course setup.