Archery is a sport with numerous benefits for physical health and cognitive function. Practicing archery can help to strengthen your body, improve your hand-eye coordination, and even boost your focus.
However, for many people, going to an archery range isn’t always an option. Archery ranges often require payment for the use of their services and equipment, which may not be compatible with all budgets. Moreover, the commute to the nearest archery range may be inconvenient for some archers.
Plus, there’s the issue of privacy: not everybody likes an audience of strangers around them when they’re trying to land a shot. Not to mention the inherent risks that come with shooting on an archery range full of other people.
All of the above factors often lead archers to keep up their practice from home, in their own gardens or backyards.
But what does the law say about practicing archery at home, and how can you do it safely? We’ll be covering these questions and more in today’s article, so stay tuned!
The Legality of Practicing Archery at Home
Depending on where you live, the laws surrounding the practice of archery at home might be different. Therefore, it’s important that you do your due diligence and verify the specific legislation in your country of State of residence. By the way, if you're interested in the history of archery, click here.
Some of the State legislation surrounding at-home archery is relatively vague, and some States don’t have any clear-cut regulations on whether or not you can practice archery at home.
Generally speaking, though, it is legal to practice archery on private property throughout most of the U.S - as long as you abide by certain rules.
If you’re going to be practicing archery at home without supervision, you will need to be at least 18 years old. If you are a minor, your home archery practice will have to be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
Your home must be at least 150 feet from any public land, roads, or highways, and your designated archery area must be large enough that you aren’t posing a risk to yourself or others. While there aren’t necessarily any specific measurement guidelines in place to judge this by, we’d recommend about 20 yards of space, minimum. Again, however, you should check if your State has any land size requirements in place.
Additionally, there shouldn’t be any public areas, properties (public or private), or communal areas in your line of sight from where you’re shooting.
For safety purposes, you’ll need to set up a backstop or similar system in case of misfires.
It’s also a good idea to get a bowhunting license for your area. Even if you never intend to actually hunt, your license will prove that you’re a competent archer who is concerned with safety and protocol. This will be really helpful if you ever run into any questions about your archery practice from neighbors or law enforcement.
Most of the requirements for practicing archery at home are common-sense rules: don’t cause a disturbance, don’t shoot from a location or in a direction that could conceivably put somebody or their property at risk, and put the appropriate safety measures in place in case of an accident.
Practicing Archery at Home: What You Will Need
In addition to your bow and other shooting equipment (arrows, quiver, and protective gear), there are a couple of things you’ll need to set up your own archery range at home.
Of course, if you want to practice archery properly from your garden or backyard, you will need a target to aim for.
If you’re going to be practicing indoors (which will be the best option if your backyard is surrounded by other properties), we would recommend the Morrell Yellow Jacket Stinger Field Point Bag Archery Target.
The Morrell Yellow Jacket target is a portable target, which is great for indoor practice because it means that you can easily take it out for your practice sessions and store it away when it’s not in use.
Portable targets like this one are also great if you only want to practice from home some of the time. This way, you can use your target at home, but equally easily transport it to another shooting location.
Morrell’s Yellow Jacket Filed Point Bag consists of 38 layers for maximum durability and stopping power. It also has a weatherproofed exterior, so it’s suitable for outdoor use as well as indoor archery. Plus, there’s a convenient carry handle built into the top for enhanced portability.
Alternatively, if you’re exclusively going to be practicing outdoors and want to leave your target up permanently, you could combine a similar bag or block archery target with an archery stand. This stand from Highwild is made from powder-coated steel, which means that it’s highly weather-resistant and won’t corrode when left exposed to rain. It also features a stabilizer and holes for ground nails, so it’s sturdy, safe, and reliable.
The other important piece of equipment you will need to invest in if you want to practice your archery skills at home is a backdrop, otherwise known as a backstop.
A backstop’s purpose is to catch any misfired arrows, which is really important if you’re practicing from home.
Your backstop will need to be large enough and strong enough to reliably catch any missed shots. This backdrop from Anokey is suitable for use with bows weighing up to 45 lbs and is made from 2mm high-density fiber cloth. It’s strong enough to stop arrows made of wood, aluminum, and even carbon. All you need to do on your end is find a suitable attachment to secure it to.
To cut a long story short, you can practice archery from home in the U.S.
However, you will need to ensure that your home range is more than 150 feet from other properties or public areas, and that it’s large enough to safely practice in.
Moreover, you will need to purchase suitable equipment for target practice and safety maintenance.
A bowhunting license may also come in useful in case of any queries from authorities.