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Is it Safe to Shoot in My Yard?

Backyard archery ranges make practicing convenient, but be sure your setup is safe before shooting your first arrow. Let’s review what to include when planning a backyard range.

Local Laws

Start by checking your town or county’s website for archery-related ordinances. You can also call the police department’s information line or visit an archery shop to learn if backyard practice is legal.

It’s also a good idea to tell neighbors you plan to practice archery in your yard. Explaining your setup can calm concerns and prevent conflicts.


Make sure you allow for 25 yards of space behind your target if you’re not using a backstop. Photo Credit: ATA

Carefully plan where you’ll place your target. Don’t shoot toward roads, houses or areas where people pass by or hang out. In addition, build a physical backstop to catch stray shots. The backstop should be larger than the target and capable of stopping arrows. This could be an old carpet hung behind your target to catch shots. If possible, also leave about 25 yards of safe area behind the target and backstop.

Range Layout and Targets

As with bows and arrows, several varieties of targets will suit your needs, budget and archery type. Three basic types are 3D targets, small portables, and large target bales. Every target has pros and cons.

You can store small portable targets indoors and carry them outside when practicing. Place these targets on the ground so you’ll shoot at downward angles, which ensures misses won’t travel far.

Large target bales are expensive, but last longer than smaller targets because you can spread out where you shoot the bale. It’s also more difficult to miss large bales, which makes them ideal for backyard use and long-distance shooting.

Also consider 3D targets, which are fun to shoot and great practice for bowhunting and 3D competitions. Their downside is that they’re usually smaller and easier to miss.

As with other archery gear, buy targets and shooting bales from experts at an archery shop. They’ll help you choose the best target for you.

Safety Rules

Backyard ranges require safety rules at all times. If others are shooting with you, tell everyone when the range is clear and when they can resume shooting. Make sure everyone knows to stay behind the shooting line when anyone is practicing. Also, keep your pets leashed or indoors.

Having a convenient place to practice means you’ll shoot more, improve quickly, and have more fun. To get started on your backyard range, visit an archery shop for advice and a target. You can find a nearby shop here.



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