Aside from attending some great seminars at the 2016 Prime Dealer Summit, Grand View Outdoors Publisher Jared Pfeifer and I had an absolute blast shooting the “Prime Archery” course at Salt Lake City’s The Bird Total Archery Challenge. Not only is the event, an event that drew throngs of bowhunters from around the world organized, but it’s also in a beautiful location.

On Friday, July 15, 2016, after taking a few shots at the massive, totally 3-D lined practice course, Pfeifer and I boarded the bus-like gondola ski lift and were transported from 8,200 feet up to 11,320 feet. The ride was breathtaking. Once at the top, we were divided into teams and started our descent down the “Prime Archery” course. Along the way we shot 25 targets ranging in distance from 40 to 98 yards, and if the shot distances and angles weren’t difficult enough, we also had to navigate the 5.8-mile course. We crossed creeks, slipped along rock slides that dropped off into the abyss and even had to use ropes on some occasions. This is not your typical 3-D course, but it’s bar none the most exciting course I’ve ever shot. One shot in particular, a Rinehart bear target placed by a creek, read 42 yards line of sight, but angle-compensation rangefinders told us to hold for 21 yards. The angle down to the target was 56 degrees, and Pfeifer had to hold my binocular harness while I leaned out over the cliff. Unreal!

Currently, the Total Archery Challenge is held in held in six states (Texas, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Michigan, Utah and Montana), with a special indoor event held at the Utah-based Wester Hunting Expo, meaning shooters have a two opportunities to fling some Total Archery arrows in the Beehive State.

With fall hunting seasons on the horizon, there is no better way to hone your archery skills, but if you plan to squeeze in an event before things get real in the woods, you better hurry. The only remaining event left for 2016 is the Big Sky, Montana, event (July 29-31). Like the shoot at The Bird, the Big Sky shoot is three-days long, and shooters can register to shoot in one, two or all three days.

To find out more about registering for the Big Sky shoot or those available in 2017, visit www.totalarcherychallenge.com. The site is easy to navigate and rules, pricing and the like is very easy to find. Hope to see you at an event soon!