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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Traditional Bowhunter Education Proficiency Shoot

This is a description of the Traditional Bowhunter proficiency shoot only. It is only for students who are enrolled in a Traditional Bowhunter Education Coarse. It is not for Online Bowhunter Field Day students and they may not attend a traditional shoot to satisfy their Online Field Day requirement. Students taking the Traditional Bow Course may not attend an Online Field Day to complete their course.

Hunter with bow sitting next to 2 sets of deer antlers All applicants for bowhunter education certification must successfully complete a standardized proficiency shoot and blood trailing exercise. There is no minimum bow weight required to take the proficiency shoot, however, students must be knowledgeable about the current minimum requirements to hunt Class I & II big game in Alaska. A field course will be set up with eight different shooting stations (two stations at each of four 3-D targets). Students will use field tips only, NO BROADHEADS. The student will be asked to shoot from both kneeling and standing positions. The field course will also require a student to estimate range and identify the vital zones of various big game animals. Instructors shall evaluate this part of the field course on a "pass/fail" basis. Archery shooting proficiency shall be demonstrated by the student taking eight shots at four 3-D targets. The student must make five out of the eight shots in the vitals or “kill zone” (heart, lung, liver). The student must make at least one vital shot on each of the four target animals and a double kill on one. Students with disabilities will not be required to kneel - for example those that have been through recent knee surgery, or have bad knees.

Regardless of the shooting skills demonstrated, a disruptive or unsportsmanlike attitude by a student may result in a failing grade being assigned by the instructor. Students must first complete the classroom portion of the course, then do the blood trailing exercise and the proficiency shoot. If you fail the proficiency shoot, you may, at the discretion of the instructor, retake the entire shoot test that day, but only after everyone else has shot. If you fail the same day re-shoot, you must retake the entire course. Students will not be allowed to do the re-shoot any other day unless they are re-taking the entire course. Past experience has shown that students who show up unprepared will likely fail the proficiency shoot – it is imperative that you practice, practice, practice before taking the course.

The required field course and shooting proficiency must be accomplished in outdoor conditions. The intent is to match "real" hunting conditions as much as possible. The blood trailing exercise will be hampered during snow conditions, yet "fake blood" can be applied to brush and branches to provide a bit of reality.

Basic archery skills must be demonstrated by all applicants for bowhunter certification. It is recommended that the student use the bow they intend to hunt with during the proficiency shoot. Students will be allowed to use a rangefinder during the proficiency shoot since it is a legal piece of equipment, but they cannot share this information with any other student. Instructors strongly encourage the use of range finders while hunting in Alaska to better judge the distance of game or objects such as a rock or tree to pre-determine shooting distances.

Students shooting traditional and compound bows will be held to the same minimum standards. These requirements are based on realistic distances that all archers would encounter in the field. The course also serves as a learning experience for all archers and hopefully will have an impact on their choice of equipment, amount of practice required and shots taken while in the field.