Follow these five tips to ensure a successful day of shooting and friend-making at the archery range.
1. Safety First
Safety should be your No. 1 concern at all times on the range, not just for your benefit but also for those around you. Always point your bow downrange (toward the targets) when your bow holds a nocked arrow. Also, never cross the shooting line (to pull your arrows from the target) when others are still shooting.
Likewise, never nock an arrow until everyone returns from the targets and crosses back over the shooting line. All ranges have different setups, so read all posted signs, and ask about the range’s safety rules before entering it for the first time.
2. No Horseplay
Never run, yell, scream or throw stuff when on the range. Ranges are not playgrounds. Also, leave your arrows in your quiver until it’s time to shoot. Use two hands when pulling arrows from the target, and then carefully return them to your quiver. If you don’t have a quiver, hold your arrows in one hand like a bouquet as you return to the shooting line. Horseplay doesn’t apply just to children. It’s dangerous at any age. Further, smoking or drinking is never appropriate on the range.
3. Give People Space
Because archery is a great sport for all people of all ages, you’ll see people from all walks of life on the range. That means beginners shooting beside world champions, with some people shooting for fun, and others shooting seriously because it’s their job. Be friendly, but stay out of other people’s way if they look like they want to be left alone. Many archers do not like to talk while on the shooting line. Some might be OK with it, but in general, don’t talk to others while on the line.
4. Pay Attention
Pay attention, especially when approaching or leaving the shooting line. Many indoor ranges are tight setups with little extra space. You might be shooting close to other archers, making it easy to bump them accidentally. Also make sure not to interfere with nearby archers when nocking your arrow or drawing your bow, and keep your recurve bow upright! When ready to shoot, make sure your feet straddle the shooting line. Don’t stand behind it unless your range requires it.
Also, pay attention to how many arrows others shoot. If they often wait for you to shoot your arrows before they can retrieve theirs, you should take fewer shots. You don’t have to shoot every arrow in your quiver! Finally, don’t leave the shooting line if the archer next to you is at full draw! Stand still until their arrow hits the target. You’re then safe to leave the line.
5. Don’t Brag
This should be common sense learned in kindergarten, but braggers don’t belong on the range. Whether you’re excited about your new bow, or you just shot a perfect score, it’s OK to get excited, but never act conceited. Archery is for everyone. Also, someone with better equipment doesn’t necessarily shoot better scores. Don’t ask other archers for their scores when shooting in leagues or other scored events. It’s annoying to be asked, “What’d you shoot?” after every trip to the target. Likewise, don’t watch others to see where every arrow lands. Don’t be that guy!
Anyone can try archery, no matter their age, gender or physical abilities. And now that you know the basic dos and don’ts of range etiquette, you’re set for serious archery fun and awesome friend-making in the process. Find an archery range to get started today!