Archery Procedures



Archery Procedures (Rev. 25-May’16)


At WSC, for compatibility with our firearms ranges, we’ve adopted similar commands. For USAA timed shooting events we will also use standard whistle commands for archer training. The equivalent USAA whistle commands are shown in italics below.

  • Shooting Line On our target ranges this is designated by the line of ground quivers (arrow stands). Every archer shoots from this line – no one can shoot behind or in front of it. In archery, you straddle the line with one foot on either side – not behind it as in firearm sports.
    -> USAA equivalent is “2 Whistles, archers to line”
    -> Never nock an arrow behind the shooting line, or before the range goes HOT.
    -> An unattended bow on the shooting line, or equipment left on a table nearby implies another shooter on the range. Assume the range is “COLD” until you confirm nobody is downrange looking for arrows.
  • Cold Range” confirm that you hear this range command, remove arrow from bow, and step back from shooting line. If retrieving arrows, leave your bow at the shooting line. Realize that other archers may approach the line while you’re downrange, and may not see you behind target stands. Stay alert and make sure you’re seen.
    -> USAA equivalent “3 Whistles – Retrieve Arrows”
  • Hot Range” confirm that you hear this range command and see nobody downrange. No one can shoot until everyone confirms they’re ready by agreeing to go “HOT”.
    -> USAA equivalent is first “2 Whistles, archers to line”, followed by “1 Whistle – commence shooting” – these are timed signals.
  • CEASE FIRE” don’t shoot, slowly let off string tension, remove arrow from string, and await further instructions.
    -> USAA equivalent “5 Whistles” – i.e. safety issue, injury, persons or animals on range.


Our Tower Range is adjacent to the Bale Range, but because it’s shot from different distances it is treated more as a part of the 3D course than a target archery range. Please review the general 3D Course procedures below; points specific to the Tower Range are listed here.

  • Tower Range Commands “Cold Range”, “Hot Range” and “Cease Fire” as above.
  • Access: if the gate to the stairs is locked, the tower has been closed for event or safety reasons, but unless a restriction has been posted the range can be used from the ground.
  • Keeping Shots On Range: Archers are responsible for keeping all their shots on the tower range – shooting high or in directions other than down onto the tower range targets is strictly prohibited. Please shoot at the closer targets until you are familiar with your trajectories.


We follow IBO (International Bowhunting Organization) procedures and traditions on our 3D courses at all times, including during organized shoots.

  • Course Layout the current map is posted on the website. Users are to follow the course in
    numerical order (from 1-15, and/or 16-30). Shooting partial loops is allowed (except during organized shoots), but great care must be taken not to cross target lanes. Shooting in reverse order is dangerous and not allowed.
  • Course Access for members is 24/7, except during organized shoots and around hunting season when targets are retrieved or covered (per wildlife management regulations).
  • Course Etiquette knowing a few 3D traditions will help beginners fit in comfortably with
    experienced 3D shooters.
    -> Group Size: during organized events, group size may be limited to maintain pace. At other times, informal groups can use the course as they wish – but at all times, slower
    groups are strongly urged to allow faster archers to “play through”.
    -> Shoot Order: group members shoot in order according to their distance from the target, with the red shooting first, blue last.
    -> Shoot Pace: on reaching your stake, be prepared to aim and shoot within 1 minute.
    -> Keep Eyes Open It’s important that everyone in the group not shooting watch the target – to help locate arrows that miss, and also to alert the shooter in case someone is seen in the area around or behind the target. Trails lead shooters away from the target at a ninety degree angle, but an earlier shooter could still be behind the target looking for a miss…your whole group is responsible for visually clearing the area before shooting.
  • Shooting Stakes during organized events, shoot while touching the colored stake designated for your class – this is marked on your scorecard at registration. At other times, you can shoot anywhere from the red (most distant) stake all the way up to the target, wherever you are most comfortable – but stay close to the stake line so misses are kept in the safe buffer zone behind the target. FYI, here are the customary setups and users:
    -> Red Stake: Up to 50 yards from the target, usually for compounds with sights.
    -> Green Stake: Up to 45 yards, compounds with sights for seniors, women
    -> Yellow Stake: Up to 35 yards, “hunter” class compounds, no sights, olympic recurves
    -> White Stake: Up to 25 yards, “trad” longbows and recurves, youth
    -> Blue Stake: Up to 15 yards, juniors and beginners (not submitting competitive scores).
  • Course Walking except during organized events, members are welcome to walk the course (as they are elsewhere on the property). For everyones’ safety, please review and follow the guidelines below.
    -> Print out the current course map on the website, and understand areas to avoid
    -> The course trail is identified by marking tapes, with numbered red signs pointing out the direction to the next target lane, and numbered yellow signs locating the (red) farthest shooting stake.
    -> The safest procedure is to follow the course in numerical order, which keeps you clear of arrow zones except between red stake and target.
    -> When walking in the vicinity of targets, avoid crossing close behind them, or between the targets and their stakes.
    -> The 3D course is designed to keep archers clear of rifle, pistol, trap, and sporting clay shot fall areas. If you are off our trail, you are responsible for keeping away from them.