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3-D range offers plenty of fun challenges for archers

3-D range offers plenty of fun challenges for archers 3-D range offers plenty of fun challenges for archers

While mowing the lawn a week ago, I was listening to a podcast talking about another podcast that focuses on promoting female hunters and fishers.

The Artemis Project enjoys some support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and several of the directors of this organization work for the USFWS.

The lady interviewed spoke about how she took up hunting after college and discussed the process her mentor used to teach her how to bowhunt. Her first year, she stalked and killed both a “trophy class” mule deer and a 6 x 6 elk.

The mule deer was first, and it involved her making a several-hour stalk by herself. She recalled how the 25 yard shot ended with the unmistakable “thwack” an arrow makes as it impacts a deer.

It reminded me of the preparation one goes through for an archery hunt. But shooting at the same static target in your backyard can get boring and will prepare you only for that shot, which usually isn’t the shot from your stand. That’s especially for an archery season where you might head west to hunt rutting elk, stalk muleys or big whitetail in Kansas.

A good way to jazz things up a bit and break up the monotony is to head out to the Abbotsford Sportsmen’s Club and shoot some rounds on the 3-D course. Bow season is less than 90 days away right now. Bear season is even less, and if you’re planning a big hunt to Alaska for archery moose, it’s about 60 days. It’s time to start thinking about getting ready.

Keith Lageman and his wife Sara are going into their third year of running the Abbotsford Sportsmen’s Clubs 3D archery course. The course will be open for shooting on Thursdays, starting at 2 p.m. and going until dusk.

It will kick off this Thursday, June 25. Keith spent most of last weekend putting the final touches on the targets and shooting stations for a course that will keep things interesting for archery hunters.

It will also provide practice on those hard-to-practice shots, like shooting from an elevated position or shooting at an animal elevated higher than you.

Several types of targets are presented. Not all of them are deer, as deer represent a relatively easy target. But a skunk makes you focus. It’s that focus that prepares you to take and make a successful shot after a long stalk on a large antlered buck or bull from 25 yards. Then you get to hear that wonderful, unmistakable sound of an arrow hitting the animal in the target zone, instead of ting, ting, ting as it sails off through the trees. The course consists of 20 targets, at least 25 percent of which are shot from elevated platforms each week. The cost of the round is $5 dollars and the monies raised get put back into the 3D course for new targets and maintenance of shooting platforms. It takes about an hour to shoot a round. Keith fogs the course each week to keep the insects under control and the shooting enjoyable. Keith’s business, Archery America LLC, sponsors prizes for the shooters. Each round gives the shooter a ticket for the prize drawing at the end of the season, which ends just before the archery season starts. Beverages are sold as usual. Also, as usual, beer is only available after you are done shooting for the day.

You don’t have to worry about conflicts with other users of the range since archery night is for archery. All handgun, rifle, and shotgun shooting ends when Keith arrives to start setting up.

So, if you want to shoot firearms, plan on being finished by noon or so on Thursdays. The same holds true for the wing-shooting of clays on Mondays.

“After being cooped up in the house for these last few months,what better way to get out and enjoy the weather, camaraderie, and nature,” Keith told me.

He said he wanted to lay out a fun course that provided some challenges. There are some fun shots, some hard shots, and some shots just to get hunters ready for a typical shot they will see this fall. No one will be all bunched up, so the shooting is safe from a COVID standpoint.

It’s something you can do with the kids. Even if they don’t shoot, they would probably love to watch you shoot. Archery practice can be a fun family outing, an evening to look forward to, kind of like a weekend kick-off.

See you at the range.