by Johnathan Karch
So Where Do I Go To Shoot My Bow?
I find that one of the toughest issues for new archers is not what bow or arrows to get, but where are they going to shoot? Not everyone has a local archery range that they can stop by anytime to shoot.
A great solution is to set up a home archery range in your backyard, barn, basement, etc. This option avoids range fees, crowded shooting lanes, and allows you to select your own shooting distances.
Setting up an Indoor Range
For those living in city limits, you need to check with your local ordinances to see if you can shoot in your backyard or not. If you cannot shoot in your backyard, some people find their garage or basement to be a good alternative. The backstop is the biggest item to invest in when setting up an archery range. The Shield backstop is a great option as they are easy on arrows and very durable. The Shield offers a hanging rack too, which holds it properly and fits most places, including outdoors.
For shooting indoors, the best targets are block and 3D targets. They can stand alone and arrows stick in them well. Some 3D targets may be a bit too big for your range, but a block target like the Morrell Yellow Jacket is a great size for shooting. Paper targets offer more variety at a better price compared to other targets, but require a backstop you can shoot into. A great backstop-and-target-in-one is the Rinehart NASP Archery Target.
Setting up an Outdoor Range
With limited space and the risk of damaging property or people, indoor shooting is not always ideal. For those with the space and opportunity the backyard outdoor range is most ideal shooting situation. There are a variety of target options for the outdoor range from 3-D animal targets, bag targets that can be placed on the ground or hanging, or 2-D target faces that come in a variety of animals or spot targets for scoring. A good target back stop should always be considered with any target regardless of the shooting situation and the Shield backstop is also a solution for outdoors as well as it was indoors. If you have the space, placing a large pile of sand or dirt behind your target will stop arrows as well.
Many bowhunters will prefer a good quality 3-D target like the Rinehart Woodland Buck for practice. The Woodland Series of targets are resistant to sun, moisture, and temperature and have a replacement vitals section for shooting broadheads which make them the choice for many backyard ranges. The small Rinehart RFT ball is another excellent range target that is extremely durable and fun. They can be hung from a cord to be a moving target or tossed on the ground at various distances for creative target that keeps shooting interesting.
The Delta McKenzie Arrowstop round target is a perfect choice for the non-animal target in any backyard situation. Many of us have seen these at summer camps and high level shooting events and provide solid recognizable shooting surface. They are easily score-able and with replaceable faces they can last for many years.
2-D faces are the most economical targets if you have the appropriate surface to mount them on. Available target platforms like the for mentioned Hips Target or improvised platforms like layered foam or carpet strips or even bales of straw are great for placing paper faces on. Faces can be replaced often to keep them fresh and new.
The Range is Set, Now What?
You have everything you ‘need’ to get shooting at home now. Having a few extras on hand can make your shooting more enjoyable. One extra accessory that makes the difference shooting outdoors is a bow and arrow holder. Also having an arrow retrieval tool will help with finding lost arrows, if you ever miss the target that is.
For those shooting in the woods, the chance of hitting a tree is high, even for the best of shooters. A sturdy arrow puller will save you time, money, and stress. The TopHat TakeOut Arrow Removal Tool works on all arrows from wood to carbon with ease.
Shooting your bow at home is great fun, and you will really see an improvement in your shooting if you are able to get into a good routine. Be sure to shoot with family, or invite friends over to shoot with you, as archery is a sport everyone can enjoy. For those looking for others to shoot with, check for local archery shoots in your area. Asking local archery stores or searching for ranges online can be a big help.
For more information contact:
PO Box 517
Ashley IN 46705