State Shoot Preparation: Archery Back »

Written by Kathryn Reeves (former SDSU Extension 4-H Science Field Specialist).


Attending the State 4-H Shoot is an exhilarating and sometimes scary experience, because it is such a large event. The first time you walk through the door, you may feel intimidated; just take a deep breath, and put on a smile, because you will soon be meeting some very friendly folks! Each archery age group has its own range in the EXPO Building. If you are unsure you are on the correct range, just ask, someone will be happy to direct you. When you arrive, you will want to check in about 30 minutes before you shoot. This will eliminate congestion right before your shooting time, and help the people at check in work with folks that are running late due to flat tires, time changes, and other unplanned issues.

Scoresheets & Multiple Bows

If you are shooting more than one bow at State, you may change your mind about which equipment you will shoot first, just make sure you tell them at check in so they give you the correctly colored score sheet. Don’t forget that you will be part of a scoring team, so don’t run off after your last arrow, you will need to finish scoring, adding and sign all the scoresheets from your team. It is perfectly fine to ask an adult or teen helper to check your math before you turn in your scoresheets. If you need a refresher on scoring, view Scoring 4-H Archery Targets on iGrow.

Awards & Merchandise

Your ribbon will be available soon after turning in the scoresheets, and you can pick that up before you leave. While you wait, check out the t-shirts and hoodies available on site, and see how your friends are doing. Most counties set up a “camp” area where you can get help from your coaches or other parents in your county if you need it.

Whistle Commands

On the shooting line, the 4-H Archery program uses whistle commands. Counties will want to use these commands at practice to acquaint their shooters with the system.

1. Two whistle blasts: "Archers to the shooting line."

  • a) Archers walk carefully to the shooting line
  • b) One foot on either side of the shooting line
  • c) Keep arrows in quiver, fingers off string

2. One whistle blast/ "Commence firing."

  • a) Remove arrows one at a time from quiver, load bow, shoot at target
  • b) When all arrows have been shot, step behind waiting line, place bow on rack, wait for signal to walk forward to remove arrows from the target

3. Three whistle blasts: "Retrieve your arrows."

  • a) Walk carefully toward your target to retrieve arrows
  • b) Stop at the Target line for additional instructions

4. Four or more whistle blasts in rapid succession: "Cease fire!"

  • a) Dangerous condition
  • b) Stop shooting, even if ready to release
  • c) Place arrow back in quiver
  • d) Wait for signal to resume shooting
  • e) Anyone who detects an unsafe condition can call a "Cease fire!"

Range Procedures

  • Wait behind the waiting line until you hear two whistle blasts or "Archers to the shooting line."
  • Pick up your bow and straddle the shooting line.
  • Keep your arrows in your quiver until you hear one whistle or "Begin shooting."
  • After you have shot all your arrows, step back from the shooting line, set your bow on the rack and wait behind the waiting line.
  • After everyone is done shooting and behind the waiting line, the instructor will blow the whistle three times or give the command "Walk forward and retrieve arrows."
  • Walk to the target line and wait for instructions on pulling your arrows from the target.

Arrow Retrieval

  • One archer at a time from each target may step forward from the target line to pull their arrows.
  • Stand to the side of the target and make sure no one is standing behind your arrows.
  • Pull your arrows out one at a time and put them in your quiver.
  • After you have pulled all your arrows, return to the waiting line.
  • If any arrows are shot beyond target an arrow must be placed, sticking up, in top of the target when anyone is down range.

3-D Archery

During state, we and the Howkota Archers collaborate to hold an open and 4-H 3-D shoot out by the Oahe Downstream Recreation Center 4 miles north of Ft. Pierre on SD Hwy 1806. The range hours are: Friday, 2-5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The cost for 4-H shooters is $10, adults $13, open youth $12 and NFAA Cubs and Pee-Wees with an adult is $5. There are a variety of bow classes and it’s a great event to invite family members to do together.

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