Archery Judo or stump shooting

Today, a little bit about the “stump shooting”. The idea of this archery activity is well reflected in it’s name – it is a walk in the field combined with shooting at objects encountered on the way, such as stumps, clumps of grass, molehills or anything else that can serve as a target.
In countries where hunters can use bows (in Poland it is forbidden), stump shooting is very popular as one of the best ways to train before hunting. We can prepare ourselves in this way for 3D competitions, field or horse archery – all kinds of this sport, where the ability to quickly assess distances and shoot at variable distances is needed.
But most of all, ‘stump shooting’ is simply great fun in itself!


Unlike many other forms of archery that are best practiced competing in a smaller or larger group, stump shooting is the ideal activity for a single shooter or a pair of archers. Shooting in this way when more than 3-4 people are gathered starts to stretch over time and make it a little tedious.

The idea itself is simple: we walk somewhere far away from people, in as varied an area as possible and look for some characteristic object within reach of our bow. Looking for an example at a rotten trunk, we assess with our eyes the distance to it, carefully check whether the shooting line is safe (including the area outside the target and a sufficiently wide margin on the sides) and shoot. We usually release one, sometimes two arrows and go to assess the hit, or find the missed projectile. As a rule, we do not shoot in the same place again, but after collecting the arrows we continue our journey, looking for the next opportunity.
The most important feature is shooting at unknown distances. We never check the distance before shooting, we only try to assess it with our eyes, possibly helping ourselves with various tricks, but not using for example a rangefinder.
Fortunately, arrows can be seen in flight, so a close miss is almost as satisfying as a direct hit.

As far as bows are concerned, any type can be used, but stump shooting is especially popular among traditional archers – probably mainly due to the weight of the equipment and comfort of walking with it.

As every experienced archer knows, arrows have a strange ability to hide in the grass and litter. The key to the economic sense of the stump shooting is therefore the appropriate arrowheads to prevent the loss of ammunition. The most popular are “judo” points, produced by the American company Zwickey ( The comes from the famous martial art based on the use of various grips – therefre seems suitable for heads equipped with four ‘gripping’, spring-loaded, wire-wire arms. The difference from an ordinary target point is dramatic – it may be a slight exaggeration that it is impossible to lose such an arrow, but it happens once every few thousand shots, not every second… Their strength is also impressive: the soft-looking springs can easily withstand even contact with stones. The heads are quite expensive – I advise against Chinese fakes – but we don’t need a lot of them.

It is worth to choose strong shafts for them. The screwed-in version is worth installing on a carbon shafts equipped with aluminium reinforcing collars at both ends. When it comes to tapered heads and more traditional shafts, bamboo is much better than wood.
The colours of the feathers are also important – as bright, uniform as possible and as “artificial” as possible, such as bright pink or yellow.
So much short description, to the topic of stump shooting, details of making the right arrows, aiming and shooting techniques we will come back!