Archery at Home: How to Build a Safe and Legal Range

Having your own archery range in your backyard provides a convenient place to hone your skills whenever you want. It also saves you money since you won’t have to pay to use a commercial facility. However, safety should be the top priority when creating a backyard archery range, as archery does carry risks. In this article, we’ll discuss how to set up a safe DIY archery range at home.

Safety First

When building and using a backyard archery range, safety is paramount. Bows and arrows are essentially weapons still used for hunting after all. The reality is that not all properties are well-suited for archery. Open outdoor spaces on large lots with significant distance between homes work best. An enclosed yard is ideal since it prevents kids or pets from wandering into the area.


Many municipalities prohibit archery on residential property due to safety concerns, especially in urban areas or crowded suburbs. No matter where you live, research local laws to see if archery is allowed in your backyard or if you need a permit for a home archery range.

a man is holding a bow and aiming it

Fences and Backstops

When designing a shooting range, guaranteeing a secure space is the utmost important consideration. We initially consider the positioning of backstops and barriers to ensure that any errant arrows will not threaten anyone else’s safety. It is vital to keep in mind that a bow is a weapon in your grasp. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to only employ it in a secure atmosphere.

The primary step is to decide where you will install your security safeguards. These items are located behind the intended destination, so arrows will be captured should there be an errant shot. A mound of soil or a soft wooden barrier should work well, but you can also buy specialized stopping mats or nettings. The goals should go directly before the backstop, but if the backdrops are tall enough to capture a lost arrow, they can be moved forward.

You can make your own DIY backdrop by stacking earth or constructing and stuffing a small wooden wall. You might want to think about getting an arrow-blocking mat or mesh.

You should only establish a backyard shooting range if you have a completely enclosed outdoor space and live in an area where you are not close to any other individuals. Putting up a fence if you live in a suburban area is essential to discourage neighbors, animals, or children from entering your garden. A sturdy, tall wooden fence will be ideal for keeping out any passersby and as an extra backstop for any wayward arrow. I have even observed individuals displaying placards warning people not to enter the lawn.

Be sure to label your firing lanes clearly so that no one goes beyond them while you shoot. You should mark the distance precisely to ensure you get it right. However, it’s always advised to have a designated line, like at any standardized firing range.

It is permissible in most municipalities and states to shoot a bow and arrow in one’s backyard for training. You should, nonetheless, talk to your regional office and check if there are any rules or regulations associated with shooting bows and arrows. It is important to bear this in mind, as an archery range in a backyard may be seen by nearby people and anyone walking by, unlike in a basement. You should tell the people near you that you are considering constructing a shooting range in your yard, so they are aware and do not enter your property.

Get Some Targets for your Range

Archers who have varying objectives and capabilities should select diverse objectives that are befitting of their abilities. Due to this, various archery targets were created, each with advantages and drawbacks. In my post, I discuss my favorite archery target and what you should consider while selecting your first target. 

But, in a nutshell:

  • Bag targets are the most fundamental archery targets. They are typically inexpensive and simple to set up and relocate. These may be suitable if you’re just starting off or want to minimize your initial expenditure.
  • 3D targets are targets that are shaped like real-life animals or objects. They are fantastic tools for generating realistic, life-like scenarios. They can be paired with obstructing objects to create various archery setups.
  • Block targets are lightweight yet resilient foam targets. They are considered higher quality than bag targets but are usually more expensive. They are also incredibly easy to set up and move about.

The targets will likely be the most expensive item in your selection, but this is for a justifiable purpose. A target of good quality will remain functional and dependable for many years of use. It’ll be simpler to transport and less likely to hurt your arrows when taking them out. Decide what kind of results you want to achieve with your practice routines and make it a priority.

If you want a cost-effective option, think about finding a reduced target – lots of makers offer targets at a low price due to little flaws in the foam or paint. You won’t become aware of these after you’ve utilized them for a short time. It might be worth your time to construct your own targets, which can be accomplished using a few methods, such as merging old carpets or using foam. These can hold up for a long time, costing much less than a usual target.

How to Properly Position the Targets at Your Archery Range

There are many configurations for your goals that you can choose from. A sensible option would be to set up the people in different lines spaced out sufficiently. This allows you to work on your shooting skills at a range of distances in a single session or with the help of your friends.

If you are constructing a 3D array, try and make the appearance as life-like as possible. Insert something to act as a barrier between you and what you are aiming at, and experiment with different stances. Put in more effort when building a realistic habitat, and you will be better prepared for the actual hunting experience.

Making the Shot: My Top Aiming Tips for Bow Hunting Accuracy

How to Place Distance Markers

It can be quite challenging for novice shooters to accurately gauge distances by relying on the target in view. The optimal method to acquire that knowledge is to apply distance indicators. These are items located at predetermined distances from the intended line. They will let you stand at premeasured distances from the goal and practice estimating the distance by aiming at the target. It is possible to simplify practicing shooting from various areas without reaching for a rangefinder each time one begins a session.

To create your distance indicator, get some sticks or stones and measure 5-10 yards away from your intended finish line. You can employ an uncomplicated distance gauge or an inexpensive, precise rangefinder, such as those I proposed in my proposed equipment page. Make a small opening in the earth at the required size and spot, and then set the pieces in place at the proper distances before placing them there for good.

You can now use the distance markers to practice aiming at various spots by placing them somewhere close to you or by standing in a certain spot and altering the targets’ location.

How should you position your bow between shots?

When doing archery, you will have to lay the bow aside occasionally – for instance, when you go for a jog to collect your arrows from the goal and look at your accuracy or when you use binoculars to observe your planned destinations. Leaving your bow on the floor could be unsafe since someone may inadvertently tread on it. Placing it on a seat is an impractical option due to the risk of it being toppled over. Products known as bow stands were created to put the bow in a safe place between shots.

Bow stands have become more economically accessible today, and they can usually fit multiple bows simultaneously. I discovered an excellent item on Amazon for you. This is a game-changer for buddy practices. Suppose you’re not interested in purchasing a bow stand that’s been professionally made. In that case, you could make one with PVC piping or timber. You might save money and feel more comfortable with the ability to customize it to your preferences.

How Long Should an Archery Range be?

Many folks are concerned they don’t have enough space in their backyard to create an effective practice area. Despite its size, a small archery range is just as effective as a larger one, particularly for inexperienced individuals who need to work on their close-range targets. 

You don’t require a large outdoor area to create a suitable archery target area. The area must be big enough to conveniently and safely accommodate at least one target so that arrows will not stray to unintended locations. The area should have a minimum of 20 yards to permit suitable practice. The greater your scope, the more opportunity you will have to exercise it.

Suppose you have a big garden or space to work with. In that case, you can create an area with different markers representing different distances. 

A beginner should focus on shooting at a distance of 8-10 yards to familiarize themselves with their equipment and ensure it functions properly. The distance should feel relatively close to the target. As you get better, you’ll be able to perform shots at increasingly longer distances, so planning and preparing yourself will help you improve your technique, even when practicing in your backyard.

Is It Safe to Leave Gear at the Range?

It takes a significant financial commitment to build a backyard archery range. A large amount of energy should be devoted to foresight, buying the necessary materials, and organizing them into place. It is advisable to develop techniques to ensure your equipment works over time. Making it is beneficial to your finances and the hours invested.

Rain and wind could harm your targets and equipment if they remain in the shooting range. Even though many target objectives are now created to be able to handle all kinds of weather, it is still wise to cover them, bring them into your home or store them in a secure place.

Consider special protective covers for daily goals or any sturdy covers you can locate. Exposure to the sun over a prolonged period may reduce the lifespan of your goals, so it is imperative. Maintaining an up-to-date daily watch over your targets will help protect them from being damaged by wild animals.

Think about bringing your targets into your garage when you don’t plan on using them for an extended time. Protect your targets from the three worst adversaries during winter: rain, ice, and snow. This has become famous for its bag targets, which tend to be vulnerable to the weather, but also for other targets. I would advise that all your equipment be moved indoors during the winter to prevent any harm from coming to your gear.

The Benefits of Having an Outdoor Archery Range in Your Yard

One of the most noteworthy perks of having a bow and arrow range in your backyard is the enjoyment it will surely bring. You, as well as your family and friends, can all have a great time together using the lineup of different activities. You can have your own archery competitions, which will be great fun for outdoor parties, birthdays, and other special days.

bow hunting beginners target
A rifle and pistol practice target – Photo credit:

Archery Requires Practice to Hone Skills

Successfully mastering archery skills necessitates high self-control and dedication to training. This practice can benefit adults and older children as they learn and refine their abilities. However, the effort required to make progress also benefits older kids. 

There are bows created specifically for young archers to use. As children hone their abilities and become more proficient, their self-assurance will also boost. Naturally, children will gain an increased feeling of duty as they get used to taking part in activities safely.

Stress Relief

Archery can be a fun and engaging sport and help those who participate lower their stress levels. Engagement in any exercise can trigger the body to produce endorphins that improve mental and physical well-being. By taking part in archery repeatedly, either in the morning or in the evening, it might be conceivable to better handle the constant strain brought about by your job or some other part of life.

Improve Physical Fitness

Shooting with a bow and arrow does not necessitate long-distance running or leaping from a particularly high diving board. However, it still allows for caloric expenditure. It is estimated that by practicing archery for 30 minutes, an individual can expend between 100-150 calories, as the World Archery Federation reported. Shooting a bow and arrow is an outstanding exercise for muscles in the center of the body, like the biceps and pectorals, and it helps enhance hand-eye coordination.

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