We all know how archery works in the olympics, and probably how urban archery works, I’ve written some articles about both. But, those are not the only types of archery competition in the world. There is not only the Olympic competitions and more traditional ones, there are also some creative types of archery.
What is ASA archery? ASA Archery is a competition organized by a group, in which people compete doing 3D archery. 3D tournaments to be precise, in which archers shoot not at regular targets, but at 3D animals made of plastic and different materials.
What does ASA mean?
ASA stands for Archery Shooters Association. It was created in Kennesaw, Georgia in 1993. This association has over 7000 members around the United States. They organized competitions and different events, mainly around 3D archery. They have different levels of competition according to the archer’s skill level. You must be registered there or be in a club that is registered with the association to take part.
If you’re part of an archery club, there is a good chance that its registered with the ASA, since there are over 330 clubs with membership. If you’re interested in trying 3D archery or any of their events, you should contact your club president or representative; and if you’re in a club outside of the ASA, you could try to reach the association yourself and ask for a way to participate.
How Are ASA Competitions Run?
Mostly played outside, archers compete by shooting at 20 different 3D targets in animal shapes. Each animal has scoring rings like an Olympic archery target, which are worth 14, 12, 10, or 8 points. Any shot in the animal target, but outside of the scoring rings is considered to be worth 5 points; but any shot outside the animal target is consider a 0.
Well, it is fair, you missed the target so you don’t get any points!
If you were hunting, the animal would flee as soon as it hears the arrow passing by; and if it were Olympic archery, well, you wouldn’t get any points for missing the target.
All official targets at the ASA competitions are made by Mckenzie Targets, the association is currently using the following 3D animals for their events:
• Grazing Deer
• Large Alert Deer
• Large Sneak Deer
• Pronghorn Antelope
• Mule Deer
• Russian Boar
• Medium Deer
• Large Deer
• Mountain Lion
• Wild Boar
• Med. Black Bear
• Corsican Sheep
Here is a small video showing one of ASA previous competitions so you guys might have a look and an idea of how it is like.
What are ASA rules?
All ASA competitions, as in Olympic archery, have different categories. From Open categories to senior and advance levels for pro ASA archers. Each has some variation with the rules. I’m not going to list each of those here, but I would mention some points that draw my attention.
The open categories, they allow archers to use compound or recurve bows, with either sight or stabilizer they feel is a good fit. There are no checking processes to standardize sights as an Olympic competition – I think this is a fun addition since you can actually customize your bow as you please for the tournament. They do have a different bow strength limits per competition, these are generally in place to protect the targets so they can be used by multiple archers without falling apart.
Which ASA competitions are there?
At the time of writing, there are 6 different scheduled ASA competitions around the US, each with different sponsors. This year, we will have the following competitions:
• Hoyt Pro / Am. In Foley, Alabama.
• Mathews Pro / Am. In Metropolis, Illinois.
• Easton Southwest Shoot Out. In Paris, Texas.
• Elite Archery Pro / Am. In Cullman, Alabama.
• Tru ball – Black Eagle Pro / Am. In London, Kentucky
• Delta McKenzie ASA Classic. In Russell County, Alabama.
Each competition requires a new registration and it has a different set of rules. If you’re interested in participating, be sure to check all the rules, the categories, dates and places where you can stay.
Who are the top Scorers in ASA Competitions?
The ASA Website keeps a record of the current scores and breaks them down by tournament, year, class and many other filters.
In my experience, rankings in this kind of individual sport are changing constantly and you can see big shake ups after each event. Like Tennis and Olympic archery, one competition might change the entire picture.
I believe archers have always been some of the most reachable sportspeople on Earth. For amateurs looking for inspiration, reaching out to a professional football or basketball player seems like an impossible objective. While archers seem to be a little closer to amateurs. I’ve had success reaching out to professionals on Instagram, youtube and other social media platforms and had well thought out messages in response. That’s a great thing about not participating in one of the biggest sports in the world such as soccer, we can still talk to each other without a manager in the way. So look for these guys in case you want to learn more about the discipline.
What is 3D Archery?
3D archery is a type of archery in which archers shoot to real-size and shaped models. Most people try to recreate what a hunting experience and environment will look like. This is a type of archery pretty popular among hunters. Each target is supposed to help recreate a different hunting scenario. Most of the time they are placed within an environment like a forest or any open space where people can move from target to target.
3D archery isn’t just for hunters though – It’s also a great experience for archers of any ages to practice in a different scenario and with different targets to the ones typically used at clubs, each with a different situation and complication such as trees or bushes in the way. At my club, we tend to modify our targets by printing different images or by placing different objects on them to try and keep things interesting during practise. Once, we placed poker cards on the target, the card you shoot is the card you had for the poker game. It’s just an example. 3D archery could also be another way to practice with a little more realism than shooting at a brightly coloured circular target.
Here is a close example on 3D archery so you guys might have a look at the idea of this type of archery:
Some people even like to have fun by doing different kinds of targets in 3D archery. For example, I found a place where they made a huge 3D target of a dragon like the ones in Game of Thrones. Can you imagine shooting at a dragon? That would be terrifying for a GoT fan. Well, here is the video, have a look:
Of course, this is not an ASA competition per se, but it is a 3D archery competition. ASA is one of the many associations that promote this kind of archery, so it’s fun to see what other places are doing and how they are bringing their creativity as far as they want to make the competition much more enjoyable for the shooters. I don’t know what you guys think, but it’s amazing how people can make 3D models of almost anything, and of course, then shoot at them, that’s the fun part!
My dream 3D archery situation would be to have a Nordic battle field like the ones in Vikings or Assassins Creed Valhalla. I know, I am dreaming, but it is nice to share these thoughts. 3D targets can be whatever you want.
What are 3D targets made off?
Most of them are made from hard plastic. There’s a great chance that some of these companies are even using recycled plastic material to make the targets.
Can I use a rangefinder in 3D Archery?
Most of the time, targets in 3D archery don’t have a specified distance from the place you are standing. That means that most archers in this line of archery tend to practice and train their eyes to determine the distance by just looking at the target. Nevertheless, it is true that several places and competitions allow archers to bring with them a rangefinder.
A rangefinder is a tool that measures the range from where you are standing, to the point where you’re aiming. Several binoculars have that ability, and some phone apps can do the same calculation but it’s not often as precise as we all wish. In any case, since rules change from competition to competition, I recommend you to ask if the competition allows rangefinders before you step in front of the first target. Almost every ASA competition allow archers to use rangefinder.
Is 3D archery an Olympic Sport?
While archery has many disciplines as a sport, only two of them reside on the Olympic umbrella, for now. Which are Target archery, this is the one we’re all use to seeing in the Olympics; and indoor archery. 3D archery and ASA competitions are not included in the Olympic Games, neither in their scoring systems. That means that wining an ASA competition for an Olympic archer, will not improve their rankings.
Nevertheless, World Archery does have worldwide competitions of 3D archery. There are also other organizations with huge reputation that organize important competitions in the 3D archery world. One of them is the ASA. Sadly, this discipline has not been regularized as an Olympic sport, but there are still huge competitions you might be part of for good fun. As we saw before, ASA has its own ranking of archers just like the Olympics and world archery. It’s because of organizations like this one, that we are able to boost different variations of a specific sport. Maybe one day we will see the type of ASA competition being replicated in an Olympic Game. I think it would be good fun to see hunters trying to track down and shoot at different animal targets as part of a broadcast Olympic event
Which bow is most popular in 3D archery?
There has always been a small competition regarding which bow is better or the most popular between the compound and recurve bow. Regarding ASA competitions and 3D archery, the compound bow is the most popular among archers. Since this bow has a lot more strength than the recurve and needs less effort from the archer, it allows most people to have strong shots with high accuracy.
This is not a surprise since compound archery is more popular in the United States, while recurve archery is more popular in Europe and Asia. Since ASA is an American association, it is normal to find more compound bows in their ranks.
In my case, I actually like the recurve bow a lot more. In my mind, I find it closer to the archery I watched on movies and video games. My recommendation, as always, is for you to try both and then decide which makes you feel better. Keep in mind that ASA competitions have a maximum power for bows, and a compound bow is more likely to surpass it.
It has been a nice trip in the world of ASA archery and 3D archery, they are both the same since we have seen that the ASA only prepares competitions for 3D archery. It’s nice to be outside of the regular archery topics, writing only about what is happening in the Olympic world. But I don’t want you to just read about different topics like this. I want you to get out there and try something new in the world of archery.
If you liked the idea of 3D archery, try to find out about any ASA registered club near you. Try to practice in a nearby event, either with the ASA or any open event will do.
Some people even create their own targets in their backyards to shoot. Read a little more, watch some videos and let your imagination get to work. Who knows, maybe you become one of ASA top scorers; maybe you’ll start your own local competition. Everything is possible.
Hope you enjoyed the reading.