Whether your archery park is part of a large community recreational area or a standalone archery facility, you’ll attract more archers by offering target areas geared toward varying interests and goals.
Shooting from a treestand or ground blind is more difficult for many archers than shooting flat-footed. You can re-create typical hunting scenarios and help bowhunters prepare for success with these tips for building a bowhunting range.
Get Sighted In
Bowhunters can sight in their equipment by using targets designed to stop broadheads and their blades. You can also create an area with broadhead pits – targets barricaded or backed up by a sand pit – that safely stop errant arrows without damaging the arrows or broadheads. The sand-filled backstops catch the broadheads should an arrow miss or pass through the target. If those aren’t viable options when other archers are using the range, set aside specific days and hours for broadhead targets, and encourage bowhunters to use the range at those times.
Click here for more tips on accommodating broadheads at your range.
Simulate Live Hunting Scenarios
A park’s bowhunting range should reflect common hunting scenarios for its area. It should offer elevated platforms, simulated blinds, and long-distance shooting when appropriate.
Distances at the range should reflect common hunting scenarios in that area. Targets should be designed for heavier draw-weight bows and crossbows. Special broadhead targets should be considered in this area, and safety barriers should surround the practice area, where appropriate.
|Cullman Community Archery Park in Cullman, Alabama, uses an elevated platform like this one to simulate treestand scenarios.
||This is a bowhunter’s view from the elevated platform at the Demopolis Sports-Plex in Demopolis, Alabama.
||Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Washington County, Minnesota, has simulated ground blinds like this one.
In Eastern states, most bowhunters use treestands or ground blinds, and most shot opportunities are 40 yards or less. An elevated platform large enough to accommodate at least two shooters, and targets 10 to 40 yards away can mimic common hunting scenarios. A simulated ground blind can be built below the platform, or set up as a separate shooting lane on the ground.
In Western states, most bowhunters spot and stalk wildlife, which often presents longer shot opportunities. Targets out to 70 yards help prepare bowhunters for Western hunting conditions while helping them learn their effective shooting range.
Photo Credit John Hafner
Bowhunters and other recreational shooters often practice before work or in the evenings. A lighted facility can extend shooting hours and attract more potential bowhunters.
Check out the ATA’s Archery Park Guide for more information on incorporating a bowhunting practice area, and other features to consider for your community archery park.