Places to Shoot a Bow & Arrow

Updated May 23, 2018

Archery is a popular pastime but shooting a bow and arrow requires consideration of the law and safety. Numerous venues may be chosen for safe shooting, and the archer must not violate the law by shooting in residential areas. Beginning archers must be especially careful until consistent accuracy is developed through practice.

Archery Range

The archery range is a top choice for bow and arrow practice and competition shooting. The range provides a safe setting with targets and backstops. Most ranges are also associated with professionals who offer lessons and advice for beginners. The range may also offer arrows, field points and a variety of equipment to rent and test before committing to the expensive purchase of a new bow. Archery ranges exist in numerous regions but are not accessible for everyone.

Public Lands

Public lands offer open space for archers who are hunting or practicing. Forest Service lands are common through the United States, and the majority of the space is open to archers. Portable targets are ideal for the open space because you may retrieve your arrows. You should also shoot with a backstop in addition to the target. The backstop ensures stray arrows will not fly toward any life form. Also avoid areas with trails and heavy traffic when shooting a bow and arrow on open lands.


Hunters may shoot their arrows at animals with the proper permits and licenses. Small game animals are shot using blunt tips that provide enough force to instantly kill the animal. Injured small game animals may also be quickly captured or shot with a second arrow to complete the job. Large game animals require precision shooting with sharp broad-head points. Arrow placement on a large game animal requires a shot placed immediately behind the front leg of the animal. The arrow will penetrate the skin and pass through the vital organs for a quick kill.

Private Lands

Private lands are ideal for shooting a bow and arrow if a target with a backstop is built. The land also must be in an area where shooting is not restricted by homeowner's associations or the law. Backstops may consist of natural features in the landscape, but many archers will use masonry blocks to create a hard backstop. The addition of hay and targets also prevents arrows from breaking on the hard backstop. Constructing a private archery range is ideal for daily practice without the need to travel to a public range.

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About the Author

Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at