3D archery is a subset of field archery focusing on shooting at life-size models of game, and is popular with hunters. It is most common to see unmarked distances in 3D archery, as the goal is to accurately recreate a hunting environment for competition.


 The 3D Archery Game is one that has encompassed many of the elements that ‘hunting’ archers are looking for as well as providing another form of archery for the ‘target’ archer with which to hone their skills. There are still lots of questions to be answered in terms of cost effectiveness and level of fees to be charged but there is no doubt a growing number of archers are participating in this form of the sport. This is evidenced by 3D Competitors making up over 80% of the total registrations at the last four National Safaris.

The growth in 3D is also a world-wide phenomenon and is becoming more prevalent in international games, such as the IFAA World Bowhunter Championships, and 3D has enjoyed rapid growth in Europe. While ABA has tried a number of different formats over the last ten years there have always been ‘challenges’ that have been attempted to be rectified but with limited success.

The following rules have attempted to maintain a number of important criteria. It is always a challenge to meet all of these absolutely and compromise plays a role in the final make-up. The criteria used to assist the formulation of these rules include;

·         The 3D game needs to be ‘gradable’; this means it needs a degree of consistency wherever the ‘game’ is played as well as the opportunity to declare ‘champions’ and ‘records’ that are able to be compared.

·          It should reflect the ABA game that we play that is so popular so that there is limited confusion on the ‘course’ but at the same time should be different enough that it offers a realistic alternative for archers to participate in.

·          It should reflect the IFAA International 3D rules sufficiently that an archer wishing to participate in an international event is not disadvantaged.

·          It should be recognised as being ‘our’ (ABA’s) game


3D Rules of Shoot


 The ABA 3D game will be based on a unit of 10 targets with a Round being 20 targets.

A Round can be shot as either two separate 10 target units shot consecutively, which equals 20 targets, or a 10 target unit shot twice; again  20 targets.

There will be four group sizes; Groups 1,2,3 & 4 with Group 1 targets being the smallest to Group 4 being the largest (as per standard ABA game).



Group size

Dimension A


Group 4

> 250 mm

> 9 7/8"


Group 3

201 - 250 mm

7 15/16 - 9 7/8"


Group 2

150 - 200 mm

5 15/16 - 7 7/8"


Group 1

< 150 mm

< 5 15/16 "





Two competition Rounds are provided for;

1.       Hunter Round – this is a one arrow round

2.       Standard Round – this a two arrow round and both arrows count to the score.

Hunter Round – this will be marked with three separate colour markers one each for Senior, Junior and Cub age divisions.

Standard Round – this will be marked with two pegs for each target. The first peg is the one for calculating averages for course setting. The second peg is to be set between 1 and 5 metres in front of the first peg. In the Standard Round an archer will fire their first arrow from the furthest peg and then walk forward to the next marker of the same colour to shoot their second arrow. Both arrows will count for scores.
If an arrow is shot from the wrong marker the archer loses the score of the highest scoring arrow.
The second Junior peg is to be set between 1 and 3 metres in front of the first Junior peg. Cubs shall shoot from one peg only.
Trad Peg Division archers shall shoot from the Junior Pegs.


Scoring will be in 3 ‘zones’, A, B & C
A zone will be the ‘kill’ zone and will score 20
B zone will be the ‘vital’ zone and will score 16
C zone will be the ‘wound’ zone and will score 10


NB: An arrow retained within the target scores as per the appropriate zone no matter where it is embedded in the target.
The exception to this is where the target features an animal sitting on a rock or tree (such as the Delta/McKenzie Rock Rascals) and the arrow hits the rock or tree section of the target and has not hit the animal section. Benefit of doubt goes to the archer if it is too close to call.


Target Distances and Course Setting

In each 10 target ‘unit’ there will be;
Three (3) group 4 targets (longest)
Three (3) group 3 targets
Two (2) group 2 targets ,and,
Two (2) group 1 targets.

There is no maximum or minimum distance for each group size but there is an ‘average’ distance that will guide course setters when building a course. No target shall be set at a distance greater than 55m.

Group 1 – 15 metres
Group 2 – 25 metres
Group 3 – 35 metres
Group 4 – 45 metres (There can be a 2 metre variance to this average for all Group sizes)

Junior markers will be set at approximately 70-80% of the Adult distance. Cub markers will be set at approximately 40-50 % of the Adult distance.

This means that the average distance for the three Group 4 targets should be 45 metres. This is calculated by adding the distance of the three targets and dividing by 3 (the number of Group 4 targets). By using this approach a course setter can set a target at 55m but in order to meet the ‘average’ they will need to have a target at about 35 metres to compensate. Or, because there are three targets for this group, one at 39m and one at 41m.
To explain this further, if the three distances for the Group 4 targets are 55m, 39m and 41m the total distance is 135m; divide this by 3 (number of targets in this group size) and the average is 45 metres – well within the parameters for this target Group. Shortening or lengthening a distance will change the average.

Given that most Course Setters know their ranges pretty well it is plausible that an approximate course layout could be planned before even stepping onto the range to make the task of course building less onerous.

An example of a 10 target unit.

Target No.











Group Size























 In this example;
Group 1 – total distance (12 + 16) = 28 divided by 2 (number of targets) = 14 metres – acceptable (even though it’s short of the average by 1 metre it’s in the parameters)
Group 2 – total distance (21 +23) = 44 divided by 2 = 22 metres – unacceptable (too short, the average should be 25, one or both of the targets will need to be made longer, the total needs to be at least 46m)
Group 3 – total distance (34 + 35 + 41) = 110 divided by 3 = 36.6 metres – acceptable (long but within parameters)
Group 4 – total distance (54 + 46 + 35) = 135 divided by 3 = 45 – exact average


Grading will be along similar lines to current ABA Grading and archers will need to ‘regrade’ specifically for the 3D Round. An archer can be initially graded after their first two rounds of 20 targets. After that, current regrading rules as per the ABA National Round apply.

If grading from a Standard Round (two arrow two score) then the grading score is obtained by dividing round score by 2 (or halving the round score).

Bowhunter Divisions

C Grade Longbow Modern 400 minus
A Grade Compound 600 plus
B Grade Compound 400 plus
C Grade Compound 400 minus
A Grade Recurve 520 plus
B Grade Recurve 400 plus
C Grade Recurve 400 minus
A Grade Longbow Modern520 plus
B Grade Longbow Modern 400 plus
A Grade Longbow Traditional 500 plus
B Grade Longbow Traditional 400 plus
C Grade Longbow Traditional 400 minus

Sighted Divisions

A Grade Freestyle Limited Compound 700 plus
B Grade Freestyle Limited Compound 600 plus
C Grade Freestyle Limited Compound 600 minus
A Grade Freestyle Limited Recurve 700 plus
B Grade Freestyle Limited Recurve 600 plus
C Grade Freestyle Limited Recurve 600 minus
A Grade Freestyle Unlimited 760 plus
B Grade Freestyle Unlimited 700 plus
C Grade Freestyle Unlimited 700 minus
A Grade Bowhunter Limited 700 plus
B Grade Bowhunter Limited 600 plus
C Grade Bowhunter Limited 600 minus
A Grade Bowhunter Unlimited 740 plus
B Grade Bowhunter Unlimited 680 plus
C Grade Bowhunter Unlimited 680 minus

Common Sense is vitally important when setting out a 3D Range under these rules.
The concept of average distance is based on Group sizes. That is, if you put out a target at a longer distance then you will have to put out a target at an equivalent shorter distance to maintain the average. There is no specific ‘maximum’ distance for any group size and the intent of this is to challenge archers to be more accurate with their distance estimation. If a target group has a maximum distance (say 50 metres) then an archer can step to the peg knowing that the target cannot be more 50m away and can set their sights accordingly. With an undesignated maximum the archer will have to be more precise with their “guesstimation”. While it will be good to challenge archers with a couple of longer shots, all archers, experienced and inexperienced, need to be considered when setting the course. Too easy – and experience archers will lose interest. Too hard – inexperienced archers will become disillusioned.
Where a particular rule or circumstance is not covered by these rules the National Round Rules will apply.