I recently spoke with IBO, IFAA, and FITA Champion, Scott Antczak, to discuss his archery career.
Scott – I started shooting at age five with my father at Whitnall Park in Hales Corners WI. Dad introduced me to many outdoor adventures, hunting, fishing, rifles, skeet, trap…but my favorite was archery. I remember the excitement of being 5 years old and running out to the bails to shoot my first arrow. I still feel a similar enthusiasm every day that I am fortunate enough to shoot.
Jimmy – Did you shoot a compound first and then transition?
Scott – I started with a recurve. It was a Bear Kodiak, but by age 13 I switched to a compound with sights. I had a 15 year span of competitive powerlifting where hunting/archery took a back seat. In the early 90s I started to hunt again, strictly a bowhunter, but with limited practice. In 1996 I missed a doe at last shooting light. It was on New Year’s Eve and I realized I could have hit her with a snowball. The peep on my string didn’t align properly. Immediately after that I took sights off my compound and mastered that within a month. A local range owner put a recurve in my hand to try out. I missed the entire hay bail at 30yds, but I thought this might be a good next challenge. In 1997 I purchased an Earl Hoyt Jr. Sky Hawk and never looked back at shooting a compound again.
Jimmy – How many IBO Worlds have you won?
Scott – I’ve won 3 Indoor Worlds, 2 Traditional Worlds and 1 open World Championship, all in the Recurve Unaided Division. (Laughing) I went to New York to win last year but you blew that. Thank you sir, may I have another?
Jimmy – What other major competitions have you won?
Scott – The IFAA World Bowhunter Championship in 2009. That was by far the toughest course I’ve ever shot. It was unmarked distances out to 60 yards. 31 countries make up the IFAA. I shot against Marizo Rabasto of Italy and Christian of France, both incredible shots. I have set 16 NFAA and FITA Barebow state records in Wisconsin, and I have the Men’s Barebow with compound 1/2 animal state record – 276.
Jimmy – What is your most memorable shoot and why?
Scott – 2005 IFAA Indoor World championships in KY. It was my first major world competition and I shot side by side with USA FITA world team member Ty Pelfrey, who has become my shooting mentor and good friend. This event was an awakening for me. It was the point where I realized what accurate shooting is all about. Ty set the World IFAA Indoor Record at 285 26x on the 300 round that year. It was also my first exposure to string walking and to witness high level competitors who are very serious about their passion.
Jimmy – You worked your way up to become a champion. What do you attribute to your success? What helped you become a champion?
Scott – First you have to love practicing and learning to overcome frustration and challenges. X factors: good eyesight, good strength and hand/eye coordination, good work ethic are all needed. World Class coaching that I received from Ty is also invaluable. Get the best equipment you can afford, learn how to tune, make your own strings, arrow be as independent as you can and get to know your equipment. Physical conditioning is often overlooked and is very valuable for traditional archery, not only to hold your form, but some cardio reduces your heart rate and reduces adrenaline for “pressure situations.” Shoot 3D often…in SE WI we have many tournament from Jan-Sept. Learn how to judge yardage and become familiar with 3D targets in different terrain.
Jimmy – What was the most pressure you’ve felt shooting?
Scott – My first few world events. It was new and my mental game wasn’t in the place it needed to be. I felt like jumping off a cliff in Spokane at the FITA Field trials, humiliated in Indiana at the IBO World. I learned through the school of black and blue.
Jimmy – What do you like most about 3D shooting?
Scott – As a hunter/gatherer, it reminds me of “the hunt”. You never know whats around the next bend or the next target. Shooting at foam animals is a blast.
Scott – Yes, love to hunt. I have been fortunate enough to have harvested 3 elk, 2 NWT caribou and many Wisconsin whitetails. This year I shot a nice typical 10 pointer that scored 152 1/8 P&Y. I shoot a modern recurve, but I hunt old school, on the ground, stalking and sitting.
Jimmy – Come on Scott I know you. I saw you on the chairlift at Worlds in New York and you know that you are scared of heights.
Scott – (Laughing). Absolutely! As a 13yr old kid I had a Baker tree stand. I fell all way down a tree, hugging it as I rapidly slide / fell down the tree. I made a lot of noise and was was beat up pretty good. The next day I snuck in and sat on a log. I shot a small buck 7 yards away, broadside. Grounded is good for me. Everyone I know who has hunted out of a tree has fallen out at some point. I figure the Fred Bear way on the ground is good for me.
Jimmy – What bow do you currently shoot?
Scott – A Spigarelli 650 Club with Win-Ex limbs.
Jimmy – What arrows?
Scott – Easton 3L-18 ACCs, Blazer minis, 100g tip.
Jimmy – What pound bow do you shoot?
Scott – 44# for targets and for hunting 46#.
Jimmy – What aiming system do you use?
Scott – String Walking
Jimmy – What is a typical training session and how many days per week do you shoot? How many arrows in a day?
Scott – 5 days per week, 150-200 arrows per session.
Jimmy – What are your archery dreams / goals?
Scott – I am living my dreams of IBO/IFAA world champion, 2011 3 Rivers Hunter Challenge shoot off winner was also very cool. I enjoy helping others get started in the sport, train and compete. I love the camaraderie of friends who are archers. Locally, Stretch, a good compound sight archer and Chris Schwandt, the 2011 Modern Longbow World Champion are excellent training partners. We help each other get battle ready for big events. I would also like to master shooting without the draw check.
Jimmy – Do you have someone or something that motivates you? If so what?
Scott – I was baptized a Christian in February 2011. I’m not “religious” per se, but I do believe in God’s word. I’ve read the bible cover to cover two times since being baptized and am in a men’s church group. Something happened with my shooting after I changed my life. I am no longer nervous. I feel calm and strong. I went through some tough times last year. I had a breakup from a woman who I planned to marry. Then a few months later my long time archery partner killed himself. God helped me deliver his eulogy. Phil Krysiak, 1975-2011, is written on my quiver. I can still feel his spirit when I shoot. Phillipians 4: 12-13 says “I know how to live without nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation..be it a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want. For I can do anything that God asks me with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and the power.”
Jimmy – Scott thanks for taking the time to talk with me and for sharing a little bit of personal information about yourself with the archery community. I look forward to squaring off with you at Worlds.
Scott – My pleasure, but before we end this I want to thank you for what you are doing for archery, both with the website, your videos, and IBO. You don’t paint people into a narrow box of what can be considered traditional archery and that is great for the sport.