March 18, 2020

Where Can I Do Archery? Public Land and Park Concerns

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If you are new to archery and you have a brand new bow you may find yourself asking where you can actually use your bow legally. There are a large amount of places which seem logically fine but aren't and some which you would feel wouldn't allow it but are amazing places to fire your arrows.

Where can I do archery? There is an almost unlimited amount of options available to you, from archery shops and clubs to many high schools, colleges and universities. Then if your city or HOA allows it you can setup a full area in your backyard to use to practice archery.

Well if it is that simple I guess we don't need to add much more onto this and you are clear to move forward. Yeah, it isn't too difficult but learning how to approach these people can help you get a yes more often as much of it will be private land and you will need to get someones approval or sign off.

Where Can I Practice Archery?

There is a great many options available to practice archery if you think larger than your backyard or out in the forest while hunting. You can reach out and ask your local archery shops and clubs, schools and colleges, and then possibly parks and other recreation areas.

Local Archery Shops and Clubs

I would suggest reaching out to the local archery shops and clubs as many will have an indoor shooting area specifically to help people find the right bow. This means that the lane is there and available for use, this will be nice for you as there won't be random people or rules to obstruct your shooting.

If they are a larger or more quality shop they may also have a full indoor range where you can practice. Please note if you go to their shop and want to use their equipment you will more than likely need to pay a fee, please represent us well and pay their fee, it works out for you and them.

High Schools, Colleges, and Universities

You can reach out and talk to your local area high schools, colleges and universities as some may have an archery program. If they do then you may have the chance to also utilize their facility, do note though that it may come at a fee and isn't something you should expect access to for free.

Since schools run all day you will need to change your practice times to be at nights or during weekends. The other approach is if they have no archery club and area to fire a bow you can ask them for permission to use a field area for practice.

Where Can I Do Archery Outside?

You can inquire from the city, county and other government bodies in your area as to the use of public parks for archery. Additionally you can look into fairgrounds and public hunting areas as to having some space to practice with your bow and arrow.

Arrow In Target in outdoor area - Where Can I Do Archery
Arrow In Target in outdoor area

Can You Do Archery in a Public Park?

For many towns this is actually an approved area to practice firing your bow and arrow, please make sure to reach out and find out before so the cops and a ticket don't get involved!

When you practice in a public area you are responsible for every arrow fired and all people in-between. You need to pay careful attention to people wandering into your firing lane, pets, and other things which could cause you to fire wild.

Additionally, for safety you should never fire arrows up into the air, nor fire blindly as this means you can't see anything in the way of you and your targets.

Can You Do Archery at a Farigrounds?

While not available in all cities, if you are lucky enough to have a fairgrounds in your area you may be in luck! Since they are typically very busy during the summer but almost always shuttered at other times of the year they may have a perfect spot for you to shoot.

Try to find out who owns the fairgrounds and start a conversation with them about using the space during off-peak times. You can even ask them if they feel there is a good time from their side when you can practice your archery in their space.

Now that you have spoken to them and are aware it is their land you should offer to pay them for the chance and opportunity to use the space. This may require some discussions as to overall cost or payment needed but this is where you can negotiate and cover everything you would want to do and what times.

Can I Practice Archery in my Backyard?

This may seem like the easiest route to take when looking for a place to be able to practice but it is a tight rope of legal issues depending on where you live and how much land you have.

What happens if your arrow misses a target and should jump into the neighbors yard and worst case injure someone, these are what you have to think about.

Check Your Local Regulations Out

You need to first check with any city or local regulations which could impact your ability to use your bow and arrow in the yard, this is highly variable depending on the state, city, county, and other factors.

Next you will need to look at if you are a part of an HOA, that means home owners association, these groups help ensure the neighborhood maintains a level of curb appeal. This means they can be immediately against the building of anything in your yard that can be seen by any other houses, and an archery backdrop definitely will be on that list.

Start Building a Backstop

If you have the all clear from the above investigations the first thing you will want to do is to start building a backstop, this is specifically to catch any arrows which miss the target to ensure they don't leave your yard.

Here are a few options you can use depending on availability in your area:

  • Hay Bales - Use them in a stacked set to be approximately 6 feet high and 6 feet wide. This could be the most inexpensive and fastest method if you live in a rural area with easy access.
  • Plywood Sheets - You can use a thick plywood since this will be a much easier backstop to move from outside to inside.
  • Plastic Foam - Using compressed plastic foam can be layered to absorb and stop an arrow, much like a target you can buy larger sheets of this compressed foam make an excellent backstop to stop arrow movement.

Whichever option you should choose, whether from above or not you must make sure it fully can stop your arrows when traveling at full speed.

Choosing Your Targets

There is a large range of targets available online from places like Amazon, for backyard shooting I do prefer box targets as they are easy to take out and put away. Though a great many who shoot like t use bag targets like this one also, they just aren't my favorites, probably because I grew up on box targets.

Practice Shooting With a Training Band

If you are in an area where you can not fire your bow without real trouble but you would like to continue to work on strengthening and getting the motion down the next best option is for you to use a training band.

There are more expensive versions where it will anchor to your foot which gives you the upward resistance also, it may be worth it if you have issues holding the bow for longer periods of time.

Final Thoughs

As you have seen there are a great many options of where you can actually shoot your bow successfully and legally in your area. I still prefer firing at home as it allows me to not have to travel with the bow in my car and I can practice at a moments notice and stop as soon as I have to.

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Article written by Josh Koop
I have loved to play outdoor games since I was a little kid, as I grew up I found more games and I also found out about alternate rules. I started Outdoor Diversions with Matt to help get this information out to everyone so they can enjoy these games as much as I do!