Zen and the Art of 3D Archery: British Columbia Archers to Compete at World Championships in Italy

Walking through a wooded area shooting arrows at styrofoam animals might not seem like the most calming way to spend time outdoors, but Billy Sanderson begs to disagree.

The Vancouver Island man is one of Canada’s best in 3D archery, a discipline that sees archers aim at three-dimensional animal targets in simulated hunting scenarios.

“It gives you a sense of peace and, like, Zen,” he told CBC. On the island at the Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association facility, about a 30 minute drive northwest of Victoria.

Hear 3D archers from Victoria explain the sport to CBC Radio’s Rohit Joseph:

On the island7:42Archer from Victoria competing in Italy for the World Championship

Billy Sanderson is an archer from Victoria who competes internationally in 3D Archery. In September, he will be one of the archers representing Canada at the 3D Archery World Championships in Terni, Italy. Rohit Joseph met Billy at the Victoria Fish and Game Club to find out more.

“You are one with your gear, corny as that sounds. All that’s going on is just you and more specifically what you’re doing in the moment.”

Sanderson will need to stay centered as he takes on the best in his field at the 3D Archery World Championships in Terni, Italy, which begins on September 4. Other BC archers representing Canada include Kamloops’ Marc Britton and Miranda Sparkes.

Miranda Sparkes and Marc Britton will represent Canada at the 3D Archery World Championships in Terni, Italy. (Marc Breton)

Sanderson says the sport is more dynamic than traditional archery, which requires archers to stand still as they shoot at a circular target. 3D archery requires archers to carry equipment from anywhere one to five kilometers along the trails and shoot at targets of different shapes and sizes. It’s a challenge he loves.

“Walking in the forest doesn’t get much better than that,” he said. “It’s better than standing in front of a target all day.”

In 3D archery, archers aim at three-dimensional animal targets in simulated hunting scenarios. (Rohit Joseph/CBC)

Go for the archery, stay for the people

While Sanderson emphasizes the meditative aspect of 3D archery, Britton says the sport is also social.

“We go there for the archery, we stay for the people, that’s for sure,” he said. “Around the world, whether we’re going to a provincial or national tournament or a world tournament, there’s a lot of camaraderie which is exceptional.”

Sparkes said she, too, loves the social aspect of 3D archery. But Britton said she was also determined to excel in the sport.

“3D archery, what we do, is a very social sport. It’s a very friendly and welcoming sport,” he said. “Miranda fits perfectly into this because she’s a friendly little ray of sunshine. But don’t let that fool you. She’s a competitive beast underneath.”

Earnest A. Martinez