We used to go to Centre Parcs quite a lot and theres always an archery range for the kids to have a go at.
As a child I made my own rough bows from willow and bamboo arrows with varying results.
However, now have my own recurve bow and did attended a local archery club for about 2 years but the cost of membership, insurance and weekly fee was so high for the amount of actual shooting I got in.
So I started exploring options..
I made my own target from items we were throwing away.
Hello Fresh is a home food delivery service we used for a couple of years, the deliveries came packaged in a medium sized thick walled cardboard box.
Inside this the food was wrapped in a “woolcool” insulating packing. Over time I collected loads of these dense wool bags and packed As many as possible into four of the shipping boxes.
Taping the four boxes together and attaching some printed target sheets completed the unit.
This target works really well for both archery and air rifles so I do recommend you having a go. However this type of target would not work for a crossbow, these require a far denser material.
If you cant get the “coolwool” packing try tightly packing in old clothes into the boxes.
The issue with this idea was the room required, I don’t have a decent range length combined with ensuring safe firing of arrows makes it impractical for me. For initially setting up the air rifle this targets fine but the distance I can get at home isn’t challenging enough.
Local archery ranges
I don’t know why I didn’t hunt out what was local to me earlier!
I now have a local range that I can attend without the overheads of club membership and can get far more shots in whenever I go than at the club.
If your new to archery I would advise going to a club to begin with. They will teach you how to safely and accurately fire a bow and arrow. They normally provide lessons and equipment that allow you to try your hand before investing in your own equipment.
There is also a lot of different types of bow and styles of archery, so you really don’t want to jump into buying your own until you understand the options. These clubs can give you a valuable introduction into archery allowing you to understand the type of archery that interest you and the different equipment required.
A good source for clubs can be found at https://www.archerygb.org/clubs-facilities-development/clubs/find-a-club/
My issue with clubs is you’re waiting for everyone to finish before being able to retrieve arrows. There’s always one or two that like to wait till last or have to re-adjust themselves on every shot while everyone’s stood staring at them. Normally there isn’t many people at the private range compared to the club shoots and everything’s more informal which suits me fine.
Its also a lot safer than setting up at home. I would always recommend trying to find a local range even if you do have a huge private area.
I would now practice archery more often if it wasn’t for the air rifle range at the same site distracting me.