Total Archery Challenge PA: Shooting The RMEF Course At Seven Springs

Total Archery Challenge PA

The RMEF Course at 7 Springs Total Archery Challenge PA is sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a non profit organization focused on the revitalization of elk in the United States. They also played an integral part in the reintroduction of elk in West Virginia.

The course consists of 15 3D archery targets ranging from 40-100 yards. The RMEF course is unique and attracted my attention for a number of reasons.

Your typical 3D archery event at your local archery club doesn’t give you chances at 100 yard shots. I’ve never shot past 70 yards so this would be a good chance to experience something new. While it won’t replicate a true hunting scenario for me, it will allow me to test and further my archery skills.


Secondly, the targets are all elk. While this may seem boring due to lack of variety, shooting at full sized elk targets sounds like a lot of fun.

3D archery targets are expensive. Setting up an entire 3D archery course with bull elk targets is quite an undertaking.

If you’ve never looked at the cost of targets, price them out online. The RMEF course at Total Archery Challenge easily costs over $10,000 to set up. Shooting at ten grand worth of foam targets isn’t something that happens every day and is something you’re likely to experience only at the Total Archery Challenge.

THE RMEF COURSE AT TOTAL ARCHERY CHALLENGE SEVEN SPRINGS

To shoot the RMEF course at Total Archery Challenge PA, I set up my Mathews Monster Wake with some lightweight arrows. The Wake has 50 pound limbs so I selected a 350 spine arrow that weighed 7.9 grains per inch. With 100 grain field tips my total arrow weight came in at 380 grains.

At my draw length, I was able to achieve around 280 feet per second. This was plenty to hit the elk targets at the distances TAC had them set up on the course.

Since this was my first attempt at shooting long range archery, and something I don’t plan on doing in a hunting situation my goal was only to hit the vital areas of the elk target.

Normally in 3D archery, you’re shooting for the 11 ring. TAC isn’t a scored event, however, and I was here to hit foam and minimize the number of arrows I destroyed.

Total Archery Challenge PA

The closest shot on the course was 28 yards and the longest was 108. Three targets were set at 100 yards on the RMEF 3D course, giving you a chance to really stretch it out.

The longer shots were mostly clear of any obstructions. This allowed you to focus on settling your pin way out into the distance. At the Total Archery Challenge, I’m always wary of hard to see obstacles in your way. That set the RMEF course apart from the others I had shot in the past.

The RMEF Course wound through some steep terrain going down the Seven Springs ski slopes. Overall, it wasn’t too treacherous with the exception of three specific spots. These areas incorporated steep angles sure to test the third axis of your bow sight. Additionally, you had to deal with unstable footing further increasing the difficulty on these close range shots.


Retrieving your arrow from those elk targets was a bit challenging. This particular part of the course was steep enough that I struggled with my footing going down, much like a mountainside on a western hunt. My lone miss of the day was on a very steep close range shot.

TAC Seven Springs

The elk target was only 45 yards away but positioned steeply uphill. Additionally, the ground at the stake was severely uneven. At full draw I was fighting the bubble on my sights level. I kept canting my bow to the right, and should have let down from full draw and repositioned.

Instead, I fought against gravity with my bow and rushed the shot. I put my arrow directly between the bull elk’s legs. Luckily, I was able to retrieve my arrow from right under the target and it sustained no damage.

Lesson learned. If you need to let down, reposition, and start your shot sequence over again, do it.


Total Archery Challenge 7 Springs

Through the course I struggled to be accurate with both elevation and windage together. The majority of my shots were accurate either horizontally or vertically, but not both both at the same time.

You can see from the target pictures that I never nailed the 11 ring, consistently landing either beside it or below it. This gives me something to work on in the future.

Shooting at the Total Archery Challenge is unlike your typical archery hunting situation, but it can help better prepare you for the future. Even though I won’t be taking 60 yard shots at deer during West Virginia’s archery hunting season, consistent practice at those distances will make my 20 yard accuracy improve. I finished the course at 7 springs TAC with increased confidence and new interest in shooting long range practice sessions.

Total Archery Challenge PA RMEF Course
Finished the TAC 7 Springs RMEF Course in just under two hours, not counting the ride up the ski lift.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE TOTAL ARCHERY CHALLENGE PA RMEF COURSE

The RMEF course is a great choice if you are interested in trying out long range archery. The shots are long but not tricky.

Before today I had never shot past 70 yards. The big vitals of an elk are easy to hit at long range. Because of this, it may actually be the easiest course in the Total Archery Challenge lineup.

I came home with all my arrows, and I am far from great at 3D archery. The majority of my shots scored an 8 (big on an elk) and even an arrow into the leg of an elk, but I didn’t lose a single arrow.

The Leupold course has closer shots but many of the targets are smaller. They’re also positioned in a way to obscure the vitals. The shot lanes are very narrow and this makes it easy to hit an obstacle and lose or break an arrow.

TAC 7 Springs
Arrows lost forever are a common sight on the TAC course

On the RMEF course many of the shots were long but into wide open areas. This greatly decreases the chance of busting an arrow off a rock or tree.

I’m glad I chose the RMEF course at Total Archery Challenge PA for the first day of the event. Shooting out to 90 yards (108 if your sight housing clearance allows it) was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Total Archery Challenge PA

However, with only 15 targets and a two hour course completion time it left me wanting more.

I think the best way to shoot the RMEF course at Total Archery Challenge PA is after you finish your first course. At 2:00 the courses open and you can walk back on to shoot a second time.

In two hours you can get through the RMEF course, and it adds a little extra on top of an already awesome 3D archery event. Make it your TAC bonus course, not the main event of your day.

The event was smooth and organized, an impressive feat for the number of participants at Seven Springs. I didn’t have to wait at any targets and was able to move through the course at my own pace. If you haven’t gotten a chance to shoot at the Total Archery Challenge before, do your best to make one of their many events in the future.

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