Safety for a DIY Backyard or Basement Range - High Altitude Archery

Safety is a top concern for any archery range, especially when you’re looking to build one for yourself.  There are some common sense guidelines that you can follow to help keep your space safe.

All Ranges

Regardless of where you shoot your arrows, you’ll need to be aware of what’s behind your target.  You might expect to always hit your mark, but there is always the possibility of an error in execution or equipment failure.  Never take a shot if you aren’t sure that what’s behind it is safe.

Backyard Range

Always check with your local law enforcement authority before setting up a range in your yard.  Some cities or towns have classifications that lump archery in with firearms, which makes archery a questionable activity in those suburban yards.  Other localities are less restrictive and allow more free use of your yard as range space.

Once full legality is established, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a good solid target to catch your arrows.  The Yellow Jacket 3 target by Morrell is a great option.  If you want something more lifelike you can choose any one of the foam 3D targets by Rinehardt, such as their Strutting Turkey model, or Elk.

Backstop material is critical for yard ranges, but suitable material is readily available.  Most often hay bales provide the backstop to prevent errant arrows from causing damage.  Other materials that are used include carpet remnant or old blankets. When using materials like blankets or carpet, make sure to allow the material to drape loosely to the ground.  Having the material loose will allow it to flow as the arrow begins to penetrate and the fibers will stop the arrow more safely than if the material were taut.

Basement or Garage Range

When planning your range, make sure that you can get a suitable distance for practice in your space.  While you might be tempted to stretch to 20 yards, it’s not uncommon to have an indoor range as short as 10 feet.  The key to a safe space is to ensure that there is no entry point downrange, so look for doors or stairways that might cross the path of an arrow.  If you see this condition in your plan, you may want to rethink the layout.

Like with any other range, you’ll need a good target which can take a pounding while you train your skill.  Morrell bag targets like the Yellow Jacket 3 are a great choice.

To preserve your walls (and your arrows), think about what might be behind your target.  Carpet remnant, old mattresses or even conveyor belt hung from the ceiling joists work well.  The key to using carpet or conveyor belt is to cut the material to just an inch or so from the floor so that it can swing freely.  This helps to absorb the energy from the arrows and prevents shoot-through and damage to the arrows or walls.

Just Have Fun

As long as you follow these common sense rules, you should be set up for the best part of archery – having fun and improving skill.

As always, if you need assistance in picking products that meet your needs, give us a call!