How Do You Build A Backyard Archery Range?

Having your own archery range is like having your own secret lair. Regardless of the circumstances, you can always find time to shoot some arrows into the targets.

There may be many reasons you may be looking for creating your own range. You don’t have any range near you, and thus have to find alternate ways to practice your archery.

Driving to range every time you want to have a go with your bow can be chore, especially if you don’t have any archery range nearby. Or you may have erratic schedule and lack time to pursue your hobby outside.

Maybe you just want to do some extra practice.

You may want to have fun with your friends and family. Or maybe you have lots of space that you can use in your garage, basement or backyard.

No matter the reason, your own private archery range is a great way to satiate your craving for bow and arrow.

So, here are some things that will greatly help you set an archery range at home.

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1. Rules and Regulations

The first thing that you need to do is to check whether creating a home/backyard range is allowed by law in your community, city, state, and country.

There are couple of ways to figure that out:

  • Some targeted searches online may point you in the right direction
  • Alternatively, you can also ask around in your neighborhood, or you can ask in equivalent of community center, resident welfare association, town hall, or equivalent in your locality

Please also make note of your local rules regarding how you should create an archery range, and what are the specifications and regulations you need to be mindful of while creating a home archery range. Some places may have restrictions in place regarding what you can and can’t do.

Read: Setting up an Archery Range

Archery | Can I Shoot In My Backyard?

2. Space Requirements

Needless to say, to make even smallest of range, you require decent amount of space.

Backyard is the most ideal place, if you have it. Otherwise you can also consider your basement or garage as an option.

The point is, you will require at least 10×4 yards (30×12 feet) space to even consider an idea of an archery range.

Read: Archery Facilities Planning Guide

3. Safety First

All things in archery start with this core fundamental. Safety is the first thing you should be looking at whenever you are doing anything remotely close to archery.

First of all, the area you are going to use for archery should be completely secured. Arrows can be dangerous, lethal even.

So, you need to make sure that your archery remains contained to the area you have designated, and no person, stray animals, or valuables can even remotely get effected by it.

If you are in a rural area with lots of open spaces, you can relax your criteria of securing the area a bit.

However, you will still need to take some precautions and make some arrangements so that any stray arrow may not injure a person or destroy any property.

So here are some of the key components you should definitely look into to make your archery range safe:

3.1 Safety barriers around the range

Safety barriers will solve two problems for you. It will, first of all, won’t let the stray arrows going out of the range, thus minimizing the risk of injuring someone.

Secondly, it will also stop people, kids and stray animals from coming into the range and exposing themselves to the danger.

The best safety barrier is a wooden fence around the range. This serves best because it is durable and safe; and you can also make it a bit stylish, thus accentuating the aesthetics of your backyard.

You can also use netting and closely barbed fence, but they are expensive, not too safe, and not private enough. They are semi-see through. Any passerby will be able to see, and neighbors may even have objections.

Read: How to Set Up a Backyard Archery Range: The Essential Tips

3.2 Backstops

Backstops are large backgrounds placed behind the target. They capture any stray arrow that may not hit the target.

This is for the safety of the people around you, as well as for keeping your arrows safe. Arrows, no matter how strong, can break easily or get misplaced if not taken care of.

It is also convenient in case you have a large area behind you, otherwise collecting your arrows after a session can be bit of a drag.

Backstops come in many shapes, sizes and materials, each having their own pros and cons.

You can create your own backstop or you can buy some readymade backstops off the market/online.

Here are some backstops hand picked for you:

Aoneky 2mm Archery Backstop

Ginsco Camouflage Hunting & Shooting Netting

3.3 Overshoot distance

Overshoot distance simply means keeping a margin behind the target. That is, the distance between the target and the nearest boundary.

It is encouraged to have some overshoot distance, but it is understandable if it is not practically feasible.

Overshoot distance adds another layer to your safety measures. It acts as a buffer zone so that any arrow that may get lobbed may not be able to cross the boundary wall and coincidentally hit someone.

Read: Building the Ultimate Backyard Archery Range on a Budget

4. Distance markers

This is a spot or line of sorts to mark the distance from the target, that is, a line or a circle to let you know different distances like 20-yards, 30-yards and so on.

This may sound very obvious; however, the essential point to keep in mind is to make these markers as permanent as possible so that they may not wash away with rain, wind, or mud.

You can put a wooden plank to simply demarcate it, or you can dig a hole and affix a pole/brick/plank to make it stick for longer.

DIY Homemade Archery Target from Scrap Materials

5. Targets

Now, archery targets come in various shapes and sizes. However, the key differentiator is the material.

Depending on the material, the durability and functionality of the targets may vary.

Some targets are more suited for a particular type of archery (such as tournament, hunting), or may go well with a particular type of bow (for example – longbow, compound bow).

Targets for compound bow may be very different from what you may use for a homemade traditional longbow.

You may use broadheads to practice your hunting skills, in that case you will require a target that is most suitable to handle the rigors of broadheads.

You can buy any type of target in the marketplace, or you can create your own at home.

If you are into DIY projects, there are lots of simple ways to create targets.

Targets are essential components of an archery range. So, getting them right is of paramount importance. Cheaper ones may wear off quickly, and you may need to replace them often.

Your own range gives you lots of freedom when it comes to targets. You can mix and match various types of targets. Some can be bought from the market, while others can be simply created at home.

Here are some of the hand picked archery targets that you can immediately start using for your archery range:

Bag Targets
Block Targets
3d Targets
Traditional & Classic Archery Targets

6. Positioning Your Targets

You may have watched lot of people on YouTube placing their targets at ground or hanging them up the tree.

All of these placements work if you are a casual shooter. However, if you are practicing for an event, then you would like to make the conditions as realistic as possible.

Thus, the inclination and height of your target should correspond to the guidelines of the event you are going to participate in.

In general, if you are shooting long range, or if you are using a slow bow, it is a good practice to have your target tilted about 10-20 degrees away (from you) from the vertical axis.

If you do that then the arrow will fall at the right angle to the target. This way it will not damage the arrow in any way.

The arrow may hit on an angle if the target is not positioned correctly

Read: How To Turn Your Backyard Into An Archery Range

7. Shooting From Above

If you are going to practice tree stand shooting, it makes sense to have a target and setup that most aligns with your goal.

There are lots of elevated platforms in the market you can consider to help you do that. You can also create a wooden platform or mud elevation to give you that feel.

If you are practicing your hunting, you may be using a broadhead. In that case, do ensure that your target is sturdy enough to take the beating, but soft enough to not damage your broadheads.

Here are some of the hand picked tree stands to get you all set up:

8. Bow Stand

This is an essential part of home archery range. You wouldn’t want to leave your bow on the ground when you run towards the target to fetch your arrows.

Now, here as well, you can buy a bow stand or you can create your own.

Bow stand will also help you to store away your equipment when you are done with it.

In case you are not very big on bow stands, you can make some makeshift arrangements instead of having a proper bow stand. But in any case, you will require something to aid you in securing your equipment.

Here are some hand picked Bow Stands for you:

9. Emergency And First Aid Kit

Circling back to one of the most important points again, safety should always be priority when you are engaged in any type of physical activity/sport, especially in case of semi-dangerous activity like archery.

No matter how careful you are, how meticulously you have designed everything, accidents can happen. And as they say, ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst’.

Emergency kit is the last safety net you require to complete your range. Any range, even a personal one, is incomplete without an emergency kit.

Below are some of the examples you can choose from for emergency kit.

It is recommended to go with market solutions for a kit instead of preparing it yourself.

If you are an optimist like me you may downplay how bad it can get, and hence remove a lot of things from a typical emergency kit while making one yourself.

Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Series Grizzly Pack First Aid Kit

Lifeline 85 Piece First Aid Emergency Kit

10. Have Fun

Now you are all set to have your passions channeled. All that is required now is to enjoy your creation by having a good time.

The major difference between a professional range and a personal range is that you can do so much more in your own personal range compared to the professional one.

There are a lot of games and ideas that you can implement to truly have a blast. Your range can become a great activity zone for your family and friends to have a nice, fun and memorable time. Sort of like your own sanctum sanctorum.

But do remember to stay safe while you create some lasting memories in your range.

Read: Archery Games: 10 Ways To Make Shooting Even More Fun

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