Archery: What You Need to Know

“Patience is not easy for me,” Gillingham said, “It’s the reward for doing so, that makes you try hard at anything.”


Jerry Zamrzla competes in IBO in North Carolina.

Madi Clemson, Copy Editor

Rob Stoltz at an ASA at Geauga Bowmen

When the summer Olympics come around, everyone wants to watch swimming or gymnastics but have you ever thought of watching Olympic Archery? Or have you ever wanted to try archery? 


Archery could be for any gender and any age, only if you put your mind to it. Archery is one of the oldest sports, it was invented in 10,000 BC. It’s done year-round all over the globe. Archery is harder than it looks, it’s more than pulling a string and letting go. It takes many hours of practice. Many archers spend hours practicing for tournaments and keeping their skills. Sharon Wallace says, “I usually practice about 3-4 hours a day.”


 Practice makes perfect. A lot of motivation is involved. Archery is more of a mental sport than physical, focus and patience are important to succeed in archery. 


Just a quick explanation of products that are important to understand. A hinge and thumb button are just two out of the many releases. A hinge is a handheld release that fires by rotation of the hand. Another release is a thumb button, where your thumb fires the trigger. Mathews, Bowtech, and PSE are bow companies and sponsor professionals. There are competitions for 3D and indoor archery. Some organizations that put on 3D/outdoor shooting competitions are ASA (Archery Shooter’s Association), IBO (International Bowhunting Organization), and NFAA (National Field Archery Association). ASA is international just like IBO but ASA also has state shoots if traveling out of the picture. ASA is known yardage. IBO is unknown yardage so practicing judging yardage is important for 3D. NFAA is outdoor target archery, which means it’s not 3D animals. Some organizations put on the indoor competition are NFAA and OAA (Ohio Archer’s Association). Professional archers are becoming famous for shooting the ASAs, IBOs, NFAAs.

Deer target at Comumbiana County ASA

The closest indoor archery range is Ohio Primer Archery and Sports in Middlefield, which is owned by Luke Ostoyic and his father, Gary Ostoyic. OPAS is a 14 lane range with a wide selection of bows and accessories. They also have leagues to help with precision and accuracy. Some examples of the leagues are the classic Vegas league and the 5-spot league. They recently added a fun new league, it’s a 3D shoot and the halftime is a competitive game. It’s a different game every week. OPAS is an OAA certified range, which means the indoor OAA shoots are held here. 

Two close outdoor clubs around the area are Geauga Bowmen, Lake County Rod and Gun. Geauga Bowmen and Lake Country Rod and Gun hold one of the Ohio ASA’s. The outdoor clubs have practice bags and 3D target courses. Many of the people who shoot at these clubs are experienced archers, they will be more than happy to give you tips to make you better. These clubs have annual shoots where you could go shoot the courses without being a member of them. Many members of these clubs also go to the IBO’s and Ohio ASA’s.


Professional archers help get people into the sport. Sharon and Jack Wallace, Emily and Dan McCarthy, and Tim Gillingham are “pros” in archery. Professionals are paid by their sponsors for taking a high rank in the competitions. These professionals have interesting stories of how they got into this sport. Sharon Wallace was 30 when she first started competing, but she started shooting because she wanted to deer hunt with a bow. “When I found out you could shoot professional I said right then that is what I am going to do,” said Wallace


Now, she is now 48, and she and her husband, Jack are professionals and go to the ASA’s and the IBO’s. Both Sharon and Jack shoot for PSE. Emily McCarthy explained her story, “Grew up in Montana where hunting was common among my friends. I bought a bow to hunt. Then started shooting local leagues and fell in love with the sport,” Emily Mcarthy said.


Emily is now 35, and she and her husbad, Dan, are sponsored by Mathews and are well-known for being in the top 5 every IBO or ASA. Lastly, Tim Gillingham got into archery and hunting by his parents as a child. Now, Gillingham is now 52 years old and is sponsored by Bowtech, and is the Staff Manager for Gold Tip.


These three professionals compete in huge competitions. They compete and earn a living from tournaments. All three pros have many wins from competitions, Sharon Wallace won the Women’s Pro final leg of the 2021 Triple Crown in Nelsonville, Ohio. She also won 2021 Shooter of the Year. Emily McCarthy won 1st place in Women’s Pro at the 2021 ASA Pro/Am in Metropolis, Illinois. Tim Gillingham won the 2021 ASA Classic in Fort Benning, Georgia, and also secured the 2021 ASA Shooter of the Year title in the Senior Pro division. He has won many other competitions this year.


Target Archery is easier for starters. There are two different types of target archery, 3D and indoor. 3D is foam animals at different distances. 3D can be from distances between 5 yards and 60 yards. There are all sorts of different fake animals to shoot at, such as elk, turkey, coyotes, wolves, frogs, even fish, or a stegosaurus, etc. Indoor is just 20 yards inside and there are two targets available to shoot at Vegas targets, which have three spots to shoot at, and 5-spot targets. Target panic is a major issue. Target panic is when the archer starts anticipating the shot. It can cause archers to release the shot without aiming, unable to come to full draw, not follow through with their shot or hold steady. Sharon Wallace has been fortunate enough to not have target panic, Wallace said, “If I start to feel it or my shot is off, I will immediately go to a bag and blind bale and even shot a hinge.”

Red Stag at Geauga Bowman.

Hunting can be tricky to take part in. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of motivation. Motivation

is key when hunting because no matter if it is small or big game, you also need a lot of patience,

there’s a lot of waiting involved with hunting. “Patience is not easy for me,” Gillingham said, “It’s the reward for doing so, that makes you try hard at anything.”


Practicing on 3D targets and getting tips from an experienced hunter could be helpful. You have to know the time of day the animal you would like to hunt comes out. But in the end, you get a trophy and meat for your freezer. Gillingham has traveled all over to hunt and has bow-hunted all sorts of cool animals, “Dall Sheep is my favorite,” he says.