World Archery 3D- hunting without regret.

3D archery as a sport separate to field archery within World Archery is becoming very popular across Europe, to the degree that, in time, it may take over from the traditional field competition. In the US it is already the dominant form. This is no doubt due to the hunting tradition there. It started off as hunting practice made into sport so hunters could practice their skills during the off-season.

While shooting at animal pictures is fun, 3D takes it to a new level of realism using 3D, life-size models of animals made of foam over a metal support structure. This excerpt from the website of the Italian manufacturer, SRT Targets, explains the process:

First step to realize a 3D model is finding the correct posture.
When it’s possible, the sculptor use a model created by a taxidermist as model reference.
Starting from the right biometric dimensions, the process to give to the animal model a correct hunting position begins.
Beyond sculptor skill, hunting archer knowledge is also necessary.

The artist, without the cooperation of an archer, would create a splendid but only “artistic” model, completely deprived of natural hunting aspects.This cooperation leads to better results.

To create a complete model of these dimensions from a single sculpture block it could be taken even hundreds working hours

This is the MASTER, already split in three sections, ready to be used by mould experts.

A 3D animal model is generally split in several pieces. This separations depends by various factors.
A steel mould part is created for every piece. Every mould can even have a weight until 400 kg. The mould parts realisation is a complex and expensive procedure, but it grants a reproduction 100% similar to the original model.
In to the mould the polyurethane mixture is injected, and the chemical reaction make the mixture solidify almost immediately.

And finally, our 3D model, polished and coloured.


The completed model looks very realistic when placed in a natural environment which enhances the enjoyment of the sport.



There are several manufacturers of 3D models and each produces a range of animals of their own design. Even on the same animal modelled target zones may vary and the placement may not be where expected. Hence it is very advisable to study the models before shooting. The same animal may be presented in different postures to add realism, for example, grazing or lying down.

Here is a sample of targets produced by SRT and the different groups they fall into. It is not a complete presentation and the full range may be found on their website.


3D SRT Targets-revised distances




As a simulation of hunting, 3D is usually shot unmarked. Maximum distance varies with organisation and rules. It is usually matched with target size so that larger targets are shot from the further distances and smaller targets are shot at the closest distances. In World Archery 3D, the targets are divided by size into four groups with the distance each group is shot from being set in the rules

The  maximum distance for compounds is 45m, the maximum for barebow, longbow and the instinctive bow is 30m. These are the World Archery (WA) divisions that take part in official 3D competitions. The archers must judge the distance between shooting peg and the 3D-animal target and also consider the surroundings e.g. an uphill or downhill shooting and the effects of the gravity in calculating how to shoot the arrow.

Effective since 1st April 2015 there has been a change to the rules governing target size and distance placement. The old limits are gone.

4-8 targets from each of the  3D target groups are to be used in each course.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
11/10/8 size





Red peg Targets of all groups to
be placed
Blue peg Targets of
all groups to
be placed 5-30m.

The 3D animal targets have 4 scoring zones: an 11, a 10, an 8 and a 5.

· 11 points: the small circle in the centre of the 10-ring (about 25% of the 10-ring zone);

· 10 points the larger circle within the vital area.

· 8 points vital area outside the 10 point circle.

· 5 points remaining body colour zone.

. An arrow touching the dividing line between 2 scoring zones or the border line of the scoring area will score the higher value.

· A hit in the horn or the hoof, not touching the body colour zone, a glance-off or any other miss counts as a miss.

. If the arrow passes through the horn or hoof of a 3D target and is then in contact with a scoring zone, the arrow will score the value where it touches the body colour zone.

. Arrows hitting the tail and wings of a bird target are allowed to score.


In the pheasant target shown you can see two scoring zones so the target can be presented to the archer in two different ways.

The innermost circle is the 11 scoring area which is surrounded by the 10 ring and then the 8 ring. Outside that a hit counts as a 5.


The archer can stand or kneel up to approximately 1m in any direction beside or behind the shooting peg, taking into consideration the condition of the terrain.

An archer may glass (study using binoculars) the target prior to shooting in the waiting-area and at the shooting peg before shooting the arrow. No glassing is allowed after having finished shooting the arrow.

There can be no discussion among the archers of a group of distances until the target has been scored. Discussion is restricted to athletes that have already shot the said target.

Each group is composed of between three and six athletes.

The target numbers will also function as the primary waiting area for the archers of the following group(s) waiting for their turn to shoot. From the waiting area it shall be possible to see if anybody is standing at the shooting peg.

When the shooting peg is free once the other group have gone to score, the group can go forward to the post with the picture of the animal target – as the secondary waiting area until the target is free to be shot once the other group have moved off a safe distance.

When the target is safe to be shot the first two archers (as peg positions will generally accommodate two archers) of the group at the post with the animal picture shall go to the shooting peg as soon as possible. One-and-a-half minutes are allowed to shoot both the arrows after arriving at the coloured shooting peg.  When two archers are shooting together, the archer with the lowest competitor number shall shoot from the left peg (or left side of the peg if only one), the archer with the higher number shall shoot from the right peg..

Due to safety reasons and the time-limit, the arrow can only be nocked at the shooting peg.

The archers with the lowest athlete numbers shoot first at the first target of the day. The shooting details then rotate throughout the competition.

The other members of the group stay behind at an appropriate distance. Archers not allowed to walk in the direction of the shooting peg and stand at a short distance behind the shooting peg estimating the distance before shooting.

Double scoring is required. The scorers will enter on the scorecard alongside the correct number of the target the value of the arrow as called by the athlete, to whom the arrow belongs.

Other athletes in the group will check the value of the arrow called. Each scorer shall write and add the scores separately (not copy the other score) and both scorers are to compare the total scores before the arrows are drawn. A mistake on the scorecard discovered before the arrows are drawn may be corrected.


The first World 3D World Championships were held in Sully-sur-Loire, France in 2003, followed by the 2nd in Genoa, Italy in 2005 and the 3rd World Championships in 2007 in Sopron, Hungary. In 2009 the 4th World Championships took place in Latina, Italy. In 2011 the 5th World Championships took place in Donnersbach, Austria and in 2013 the World Championships were held in Sassari, Sardinia, Italy.

Picture and video gallaries from Sassari 2013 can be found here.



Updated 18/6/15.

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