The only time I tried archery before was a couple of weeks in high school P.E. class. Not one of my arrows hit the target. They all landed in the grass only a few yards from where I stood. So you would think when I was asked whether I’d rather go horseback riding or to the Koteewi Archery Range in Hamilton County, Indiana, I’d choose horseback riding. But I had been on a horse a couple of times over the past few years. I wanted to give my readers something different. So for you, my dear readers, I chose to embarrass myself the way I did over four decades ago.
The archery orientation
I was nervous going into the Koteewi Archery Range office. Did they expect me to know what I was doing? But I was instantly put at ease when I was asked if I had used a bow and arrow before. They do not assume that everyone who walks in the door is an experienced archer.
The gentleman there fitted me with an arm protector and picked out the right bow for me. He then took me and another couple who was there to the range for a quick orientation.
Safety first. Before shooting, everyone at the range must confirm they’re ready. After you shoot your set of arrows, hang your bow up on a beam in the range and wait for everyone else to do the same. When everyone has hung up his bow and stated “clear,” it’s time to retrieve the arrows. Repeat these steps throughout the session.
Next, our guide showed us the proper way to shoot. Arrow placed on the bow just so. Left arm straight. Pull the string and arrow back, with your hand close to your face, about level to the bottom of the ear. Aim for the target. Shoot.
Oh my gosh, would I remember all of that? Apparently not, because just like in high school, my first several arrows landed on the ground a few yards in front of me.
The other couple who was there had experience. The woman had been to Koteewi Archery Range before. Her husband had experience elsewhere. They pointed out that I wasn’t extending my left arm completely straight, and I wasn’t placing my arrows in the correct spot on the bow.
After that, wow, did I improve! It wasn’t long before I was hitting the target—and shooting some bullseyes.
Shooting at (fake) animals
Now that I had that down, we went over to another range, where we could shoot at a variety of fake animals. I couldn’t bring myself to shoot at the deer, even if it wasn’t real. Instead I aimed at a jackalope, since it’s a mythical animal, and a dinosaur, since dinosaurs are extinct anyway. Then I tried for the cobra. Yes, cobras are real animals, but they’re creepy. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit the venomous snake.
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Before I knew it, my hour was up. I was disappointed because I was truly having a good time with this newfound sport. I want to go back, and because it’s part of Hamilton County Parks and Recreation, it’s affordable. A bow, five arrows, and an hour’s time in the range is only $20.
If you go to Koteewi Archery Range
Koteewi Archery Range is located at 11909 Koteewi Drive in Noblesville, Indiana. They offer multiple ranges for various skill levels, lessons, and a pro shop. The range is handicapped accessible and is open to both adults and youths. They also offer horseback riding, an aerial park, and other activities. Check the website for further details.
During our visit to Hamilton County, we stayed at the Prairie Guest House in Fishers Indiana.
Disclosures: Visit Hamilton County Indiana hosted our visit to Koteewi Archery Range. Our experience was complimentary. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a room through the “Check rates here” link above, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
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