HGTV's House Hunters: Seeking
a Home for Archery HGTV's House Hunters: Seeking a Home for Archery

If your wish list includes a backyard archery range, you’re much like a husband and wife who recently appeared on HGTV’s “House Hunters.”

They were house-hunting in Florida for a plantation-style home with enough space for a backyard archery range. That’s a big challenge, but they wouldn’t compromise on their archery range.

That’s good, because backyard ranges offer many benefits, especially convenience. Practicing is much easier when you can shoot a few arrows before work and again before sunset. It’s also easier for the whole family to practice together, even if it’s just a few minutes.

Just for fun, let’s look at what an archery dream home would look like, and consider some tips for setting up a home range.

The Archery Dream Home

Finding a perfect spot for your target bale within full view of the back porch is every archer’s dream. If you’ve got extra ceiling height, you can also try to get some extra distance and warmth in the winter, by standing inside and shooting through the door. Crystal Gauvin, a world-class compound archer who now shoots recurve, achieved that dream in her own back yard. Photo Credit: Crystal Gauvin

In a perfect world, you could just move into the Easton Salt Lake City Archery Center. You would be within commuting distance of Salt Lake City, which is home to several archery manufacturers. Of course, who wants to work when your backyard has a 3-D course, field-archery course and 90-meter outdoor range with 64 targets?

All the great archery disciplines would be at your fingertips, and you would have no excuse to not be an amazing archer. Then again, that might cause too much pressure. And imagine the landscaping costs!

Realistic Goals

When setting up a backyard practice range, work with the space you have. Don’t worry if you can’t fit a full 20 yards. Find a target bale that fits your yard, and grow from there. The drive and passion to practice matters more than the distance. Photo Credit: CT Elder Law Blog

You don’t need a huge backyard to have fun practicing. A clear, narrow lane 20 yards (60 feet) long is all you need for a serviceable range. If you have more space, all the better. You can set up multiple targets and practice at longer distances. Before you place your first target, of course, check local ordinances. Some towns and cities do not allow backyard archery practice, or they regulate it with a permit.

Another important consideration is what’s beyond your target. Make sure no house or occupied building is behind your target because misses happen, even for the most confident and competent archers. Ideally, your backyard adjoins a woodlot or vacant lot, and you’ve built a plywood backstop immediately behind your target.

If you’re unsure if your backyard range is safe, take some photos and show them to experts at an archery shop to get their opinion. If they think you’ve found a safe place to shoot outdoors, go ahead and buy a target that meets your needs and interests.

Bowhunters have fun practicing on 3-D targets, as do 3-D archers. If you prefer a standard archery target, buy the largest one you can afford. Large targets provide more room for error. If you make a bad shot, your arrow is less likely to snake into the grass beyond. Large targets also last longer because you can aim at different sections to spread out the wear and tear.

If you buy targets online, you’ll likely pay small fortunes in shipping costs. It’s best to visit an archery shop to see your options and choose a target. While there, buy a bow stand, which holds your bow while you retrieve arrows.

If you don’t yet have a backyard range, you can practice at an indoor range or nearby archery club. You can find a range or club by clicking here.

If you have a great backyard range, we want to see it. Share a photo of your range on the Archery 360 Facebook page.

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