Archery is officially defined as the sport or practice of shooting arrows, with precision at high speed, from a bow designed to project the arrow forward. Historically, it has been around for many centuries and was often used in warfare and for hunting purposes. There is evidence indicating that it was around as far back as ancient times. For some who just can’t get enough of this thrilling sport, they might be seeking ways to fulfill their hunger to enjoy shooting anytime from their own home. He or she may not always have the time to drive to a range, or there might not be any locations nearby. In cases like these, it pays to take the time of setting up their own shooting range at home. For those who live on a large piece of land, the task of setting up their own shooting range is likely not going to be so difficult. For those who live in a more populated area, however, the task may prove to be somewhat more detailed, but definitely still doable.
The first thing anyone should do before setting up a home shooting area is to first check and make sure that they are not breaking the law. Some cities and townships have ordinances against firing archery equipment just like they do with firearms. The best idea is to either call or go to your local city hall or police department. They will likely have information to provide concerning the use of this type of equipment in your area.
The 2nd thing anyone setting up a shooting range needs to consider is safety. Any bow used from high-tension compound bows down to simple re-curve bows has the potential of seriously injuring and/or killing not only someone else but the person firing the device itself. Any arrow firing practice should include the same level of safety precautions that a gun or firearm firing session would possess. This includes proper eye protection for the user and anyone they have standing nearby watching them practice. While not always a tradition or requirement when shooting, it is always a good idea for anyone to wear proper eye protection to guard their eyes when practicing this sport. There are times that wearing proper eye protection has prevented someone from being injured by small flying pieces or objects that can become airborne and projected backward or to the side. When pulling a string or cable back at high-tension and suddenly releasing it so close to the face, it is definitely a good idea to always wear proper eye protection. Some of today’s safety glasses on the market are also designed to improve vision by preventing distortion of the shooter’s vision by reducing overly bright sunlight. Basically, they double as sunglasses that will not reduce the shooter’s vision during the activity.
If anyone is going to learn how to practice at home, they will need an open path and a nice target for actually firing the shots. If possible, it is best if they select an area away from their own, or anyone else’s, house and cars for practicing. They will want an open line of sight between where they will be standing and where the shots will be hitting the target. The main purpose of the backstop is to stop or “catch” the arrows that either miss or deflect off the target. The backstop is the most important part of anyone’s home practice range. The backstop prevents anyone or anyone’s property from harm when arrows miss the target, which does happen more often than most realize. If practical, hay bales stacked at least 6ft high and 6ft wide is an option that is really affordable. For most people out in rural areas, this is fine but often not looked well upon in subdivisions and within populated towns due to being unsightly. For those where the hay bales are not an option, a piece of really thick plywood or a double layer of 3/8 or ½ inch plywood is suitable. A backstop like this is also much simpler to move to the back of or inside the garage each day when finished shooting. A large piece of densely compressed plastic foam is another option for a backstop. Whichever material used, just be sure it is capable of completely stopping the arrows that will be traveling at high-speed.
Foam blocks seem to be one of the most practical items to use as the actual target for shooting. These foam blocks are quite popular and often seen for sale in sporting good stores. They are really affordable, long-lasting, lightweight for moving or transporting and simple for attaching a bulls-eye or other paper picture for shooting. There are also foam targets manufactured to resemble various animals or creatures such as a deer. These are somewhat more costly but do add more excitement to the sport.Bag targets are an even lower cost option. Typically these are constructed of various types of synthetic fiberfill dense enough to stop the arrow from passing through. Another advantage is that they often have one or more bulls-eye, dartboard, tic-tac-toe, archery baseball or other game already painted on one or both sides. This eliminates the need for attaching a paper target for focused aiming when shooting and also adds plenty of fun and competition to the activity.
Wherever enthusiasts reside, it is easier than most realize to set up a safe, practical and fun shooting range at home on their own property. The important thing to remember is to always keep it legal, safe and, most of all, “HAVE FUN!”