Many sports are associated with a particular season. Football is synonymous with fall. Spring brings baseball. Yet other sports are enjoyed in a more year-round fashion. From indoor to outdoor shooting, archery’s versatility makes it easy to enjoy all year. However, does one season reign supreme when it comes to shooting outdoors? As it turns out, that depends on your location, preferences and a host of other factors.
Spring: The Potentially Perfect Season Everywhere
If you conducted an informal poll, many archers would say their absolute favorite season to shoot outside would be late spring. Spring weather across most of North America often lends itself to shooting archery outside. This is particularly true in areas of the world that experience cold winters. Across many parts of the U.S., April showers bring not only May flowers but perfect shooting conditions.
“The weather is great today — it’s spectacular. It’s sunny and cool,” said Robert Cerone during an interview in mid-May. Cerone is the owner of Targeteers Archery in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. “Now that the rain has slowed up, we start to get busier at the outdoor ranges.”
Along the East Coast, outdoor archery ranges pick up during May, according to Cerone. “There are a lot of different archery clubs in the area and they start doing 3D and other outdoor shoots in late spring,” Cerone said.
It’s a similar story in the Midwest. “Late spring, early summer are great times to shoot outside,” said Matt Colgrove, the shop manager at Full Draw Archery outside Omaha, Nebraska. “It’s not as windy and not as hot.”
Summer: A Season of Fewer Distractions
Summer is a great time to be an archer. It’s often easy to find lessons, leagues and outdoor tournaments. With school out for the summer, it’s a great time to bring the family to the range. Whereas spring weather can be unpredictable, summer weather is often more stable. Across the Midwest, Colgrove says archers in his area battled a very windy spring. Heading into summer, the winds seem to be dying but extreme heat is likely hot on their heels.
“A lot of our customers aren’t going to the outdoor ranges. They have their own ranges set up at their own house so they can shoot when it’s comfortable,” Colgrove said.
Time of day often matters when it comes to shooting in summer. When temperatures are high, many archers choose to shoot in the cooler weather of the mornings and evenings.
Cerone talks to a lot of recreational archers. “They say later summer it starts to get too hot, and so they migrate back inside,” he said.
Fall: Life Gets Busy and So Do Some Ranges
It’s not just the heat of late summer that drives some recreational archers back indoors. Late summer can bring bowhunters to the range as they prepare for upcoming hunting seasons.
“It gets busier on the ranges with all the bowhunters,” Cerone said. “But it also seems like in early fall, recreational archers tend to put the bow down for a bit because they have other things going on like college and school starting.”
Winter: Archers Head Inside, Unless …
When winter weather returns, so do the indoor archers. However, that’s not always the case for archers in the South.
“Right now it’s 100 degrees outside with 100% humidity,” said Randy Sims during an interview in mid-May. Sims is the owner of Orlando Archery Academy in Orlando, Florida. “Late August until May, that’s when we get to shoot outside the most.”
Between sun exposure and daily thunderstorms, Sims says his indoor range is always the most popular place to shoot.
“That’s why we built the indoor range,” Sims said. “I love shooting outdoors with the elements, but it rains almost every day. And when you have 100-plus degrees, it’s rough if you’re not conditioned.”
So, when is the absolute best time to shoot your bow outside? It turns out the only right answer is whenever you feel like it.