Born and raised in Billings, Montana, Kris Schaff is a 25-year-old archery phenom, who shoots for Elite Archery (Scott Archery, Custom Bow Equipment, Winner’s Choice and more) and USA Archery’s compound team. His 2018 accolades so far this year include a Nimes, France World Archery title, second place World Archery Vegas title, second place Vegas Shoot title, and a World Archery Indoor USA team gold win. When he’s not tearing up the tournament scene, he’s either hunting in his game-rich home state or acing his dad-game.
Kris – you’ve been shooting professionally since you were 18-years-old – so with roughly six years of experience under your belt (quiver?) what would you tell your 18-year-old self? Or any young tournament archer starting out?
I would tell myself or any young tournament archer to have fun with it and don’t let your bad days get to you. I think when I was younger I let the pressure get to me and I let the “big name pros” intimidate me. All in all, they are humans and have good and bad days just like myself. So just practice your shot and don’t worry about anyone else but yourself. Your scores will show that!
Who do you look up to in the tournament world? Who is your mentor?
In the tournament world, I definitely look up to Logan Wilde. When I was younger, he was always one pro that would come up and talk to me. As I’ve grown older we have become good friends and I still call him and text him frequently with tuning questions. He’s always been so down to earth and an awesome guy to be around! He’s always positive and has words of encouragement and that’s why I’ve always looked up to him as a pro.
You are pretty honest on your social feeds showing both the good and the bad that happens at tournaments. How difficult is it to share those photos or stories of tournaments that didn’t go like you planned? What is the reaction from your fans?
Showing the good is always easy to do because you get so many encouraging and uplifting messages from people, but showing the bad can be a little more challenging. When you didn’t perform like you had hoped, it tends to be difficult to let that go when moving on to the next tournament. When people like, comment, or share those posts, it shows up and it reminds you of the weekend again. Some tournaments it’s easier to look back and reflect on when you shot well or you learned a lot, but some weekends it’s just nice to be able to move on and start fresh the next weekend. Nonetheless, all of my friends, family, and fans keep everything positive and it usually makes for a good few days of practice and a good next tournament.
You are also a big hunter – mostly big game? What have your learned from your hunting experience that helps you in a tournament? Or visa versa – what have you taken from your tournament experiences to help with your hunts?
I hunt pretty much anything that is in season in my home state of Montana. I’ve never hunted outside the state, but one of these days I would love to venture out and see what other states/countries have to offer. I feel like there is both help from tournament to field and from field to tournament.
I would say from tournament to field would be the most help because I know how to make good shots under pressure and when that animal is coming in to a call or you’re sneaking up on him, your heart is pounding and you are getting that adrenaline rush. This has also helped me in tournaments because you have to be patient in your shot and sometimes while hunting you may have to wait that extra 2 seconds for their leg to move, the breeze to calm down, or wait for the animal to turn their head so they don’t see you draw back. Also from field to tournament, I feel that this has helped with the pressure as well because I started hunting before becoming a pro archer and being in a pressure situation hunting has taught me how to manage and deal with the pressure in the tournament setting.
Michelle Scheuermann, Editor, Archery Wire