With spring turkey season winding down and next fall’s whitetail deer seasons still several months away, what’s an offseason bowhunter to do in the local woods this weekend?


Simple — drag the bow out, fling some arrows at 3-D foam targets and start the off-season shooting regimen that will eventually pay off when a big buck wanders by your stand next autumn.


That opportunity presents itself this weekend in Denison as a unique 3-D archery event comes to the Rockin’ S Archery Range, home to a weekly 3-D shoot each Tuesday evening throughout the offseason.


This weekend’s special event is known as “Deerman T.H.E. 3-D Tournament,” a two-day shoot found at the Grayson County archery range located at 42 Stowers Lane in D-Town.


According to Dakota Stowers, one of the event’s local organizers, the May 4-5 event will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday and at 9 a.m. on Sunday. The unique tournament has a $20 entry fee, offers several different shooting divisions, and will consist of two rounds of 15 targets each. There is also a lunch each day along with tailgate ministry sessions between rounds.


How does this tournament differ from traditional 3-D style events that many are familiar with? For starters, a quick internet search about this style of tournament shows that the T.H.E.moniker stands for True Hunting Experience. In other words, organizers set out to ensure that their tournaments aren’t the usual broadside shot at 30-yards kind of event.


Shot opportunities vary at distances from 10 yards out to 40 yards along with the fact that some targets are not broadside, some are uphill, others are downhill, some shots are through tiny windows cut through the timber, and others are shot from kneeling positions under or over obstacles.


Add in the fact that the event’s TK (True Kill) scoring rings are set to simulate real world archery hunting situations, and there is a high risk, high reward opportunity found in each shot. With a good hit in a deer’s vital zone awarding shooters points in 15, 12, and 10 points increments, a shot that isn’t in those rings results in a minus five score for anything outside of the vital area. That can result in as much as a 20-point swing from an arrow that hits or misses the mark by a simple 1/8 of an inch!


The bottom line is that this is an event designed to test a bowhunter’s shooting skills in a realistic manner, a real woods experience that is designed to penalize those who turn in a shot that isn’t perfect.


A glance at the group’s website shows this idea in the following mission statement: “We have taken the sport of 3-D archery and given it a twist. With the emphasis on hunting and good, clean shot placement, we developed a scoring system that rewards clean kill shots and deducts points for misplaced shots. T.H.E. True Hunting Experiences takes the 3-D target back into focus as a “living animal” where a misplaced shot leaves an animal wounded. These “living animals” are then placed in realistic hunting atmospheres, which can even include some tighter and partially obstructed shots. It’s just good practice for the hunt.”


A part of nearly 30 such 3-D tournaments held across Texas, Oklahoma, and other states this spring and summer — including a world championship event near Ada, Oklahoma in mid-July — and this weekend’s Deerman 3-D tournament is the first time such an event has been held in the immediate Denison/Sherman area.


Sound like a fun — and challenging — way to spend a couple of days this weekend? Then the “Deerman T.H.E. 3-D Tournament” in Denison is for you.


For information, visit the Rockin’ S Archery Range’s Facebook page, call local range owner Stan Stowers at 903-815-2867, or call Deerman 3-D group head man Jimmy Gould Jr. at 580-320-9392.