3D archery

3D Archery – Guide to archery 3D shooting

Are you interested in learn about 3D archery?, In this guide we provide you with a quick overview of  what it is, and the various pros and cons of taking up 3D archery, and what type of bow and equipment you will need to practice this exciting sport.




Outdoor Archery

The archery sport has nowadays rather little in common with the traditional archery. The latter took place primarily during war, and also in hunting, but archers nowadays simply stand in front of a target and shoot at it. Sometimes this takes place indoors, sometimes outdoors. As challenging as archery is, it hardly ever takes place outdoors.

Despite this, there are archers who want to counteract this development and turn back to the traditional side of this beautiful sport. They have developed a new type of archery called 3D archery.


What is 3D archery?

This special form of Archery is called “3D archery” because the shooter shoots at three-dimensional and vividly designed targets on a 3D archery range. These are mostly lifelike targets that emulate wild animals, such as deer, foxes and owls. The special thing about this kind of archery, however, is not only the design of the targets, but also the fact that the archer follows a course that is in the wild. This presents them with special challenges to the 3D bow shoot.

3D shooting is closely related to field archery, since the hunting components are in the foreground. Nevertheless, the former has a slightly higher degree of difficulty, because in 3D archery, unlike field archery, the targets are of different sizes. In field archery this size is defined for each target.

3D archery range

By the way, the animals are set up in the 3D course in such a way that they give a realistic impression of how animals would behave in their habitat. On their bodies the so-called kill is usually drawn in, so the archer can immediately see whether he has “shot” the animal or not. The rating of the different shots often depends on the operator of the 3D course or the group you are with. Usually three arrows are shot at one animal. If you land a kill, you will no longer shoot at the target, even if you have already done so with your first arrow and therefore would still have two arrows left.

The arrows are usually marked with one to three rings, so that you can see which one has hit the target.


Pros and Cons of 3D Archery

Like every sport, 3D shooting has pros and cons, which we would like to explain to you below. Keep in mind that much of it is a matter of taste and based on personal opinions. What applies to us or others may be completely different to what applies to you.



  • The three-dimensional targets appear more real and much closer to life than a flat target, which is the special attraction of this type of archery
  • You feel as if you are really hunting, without animals being really hurt
  • The archer not only undergoes mental and muscle training, but also builds his stamina and endurance in the sport
  • 3D archery takes place in the fresh air, which also strengthens the immune system
  • It offers a special challenge, because the shooter has to hit under many different influences: sunlight, different angles to the target, wind direction and strength and many more factors have to be considered
  • With groups in particular there is an incredible amount of fun to be had
  • Your connection to nature is strengthened




  • 3D archery is not easy to master, especially for beginners, because too many factors influence the shot – never underestimate the effect that a sudden gust of wind has on a flying arrow!
  • Collecting the arrows, some of which are widely scattered, is not quite as much fun as the shooting itself, to put it mildly
  • If you are in a group and the other shooters are far superior to you in terms of endurance, this can be annoying for you and the other participants
  • Finding a course in which you can shoot safely without accidentally injuring walkers or real animals is sometimes not so easy; special courses are slightly uncommon and you sometimes have to cover long distances to get there

All in all 3D archery is a lot of fun, so if you have a 3D park near you, we can only recommend a visit.


How Does 3D Archery Differ from Conventional Archery?

In conventional archery, you shoot standing on a target. A ring scoring takes place, i.e. the corresponding points are added up and evaluated after the shots are fired.

Conventional archery is static. The archer does not pass through a course and the target has no three-dimensional character. Conventional archery does not only take place outside, but also indoors.


The Right Bow for 3D Shooting

In principle all types of bows can be used for 3D archery. You should consider, however, that a longbow is not so easy to handle or transport in a course. Most archers shoot with a Recurve Bow or with a Compound Bow.

3D bow shoot



Other Useful Equipment for 3D Courses

Visors are always appropriate on a 3D parks, since you can hit your targets more easily when wearing one.

The arrows should have a conspicuous plumage, so that they can be found more easily in case of a missed shot. It is best to choose a plastic feathering, because it does not absorb as much moisture as natural feathering. In addition, the plastic fletching does not deflect the arrow as strongly if it brushes a leaf or a branch.

Sturdy shoes and weatherproof clothing are highly advisable.

The other archery equipment is based on the general archery equipment: Arm guard, finger tab or glove, possibly a chest protector. In addition, there is an arrow puller, with the help of which you can remove your arrow more easily from the target. In 3D shooting, it happens quite often that an arrow is very deep and firmly stuck in the target. This is when an arrow-puller becomes invaluable.

Also a solid help to find a stray arrow is a so-called arrow scraper, with which you can search the undergrowth. Particularly in 3D archery, where people often shoot over a long distance and in rough terrain, can a 3D archer can be of great help to you.

Also advantageous is a multi-tool with different tools like knife and pliers.

Last but not least: take along enough water and possibly a small and light meal. This is especially important on hot summer days!

3D archery shoots


Whether 3D archery is an alternative for you, only you can decide. If you are an active and nature-loving person who enjoys getting out and about, you should definitely try this type of archery. Have fun with it!



FAQ – Questions and Answers about 3D Archery


Which Arrows Should I Use for 3D Archery?

  • This question is often dependent on the operator of a course
  • Some organisers prohibit carbon arrows, because the 3D targets would suffer too much from them
  • So before you start archery on a 3D course, be sure to contact the operator and ask which arrows he allows
  • Otherwise you should consider fast arrows, because they have a flatter flight curve – this can compensate for smaller errors due to a wrong distance estimation


What is the Difference to 4D Archery?

  • In 4D shooting, moving targets are projected onto a screen
  • Sensors measure how the arrow impacts the canvas
  • The arrows are protected against damage from the impact by polymer foams
  • A distinction is made between 4D archery, in which targets are projected onto the screen, and hunting 4D shooting, in which natural or animated scenes are played back on the screen

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