My 10-year-old daughter carefully nocked her arrow, pulled back the string of her bow, aimed at her target, and released. Whoosh! Her arrow went flying through the air. She felt like Robin Hood, Katniss Everdeen, Hawkeye, and a demigod in Percy Jackson’s world all rolled into one. Even though the books she had read and movies she had seen depicted people shooting arrows at far away targets, I could see the twinkle in her eye as she hit the target 5 yards away.
Our family was inspired to try archery after reading books and watching movies with characters that shot with a bow and arrow as well as seeing it on the Olympics. After searching the internet, we found C&B Archery, a relatively local archery range and store in Hicksville, NY.
The staff is an interesting mix of archers. Some love to discuss the history of archery. Others are more doers than talkers as they spent time on the shooting line giving people pointers about how to improve their technique and fine tuning people’s bows. I could even picture some of the camouflage-wearing staff out hunting with their bow and arrow at the ready as they look for deer and other wild game.
The shooters there were also a hodge podge of different people. There were lots of other first time archers who were eager to try shooting. Then there were some older men with bows that looked like they were taken straight from Robin Hood’s Merry Men, while other archers had high-tech, futuristic-looking bows.
Our whole family did their beginner package which included instruction, bow rental, and shooting time. They gave us a brief half-hour lesson about the different compound and traditional bows, range etiquette and safety, and archery technique. Then all of us got the opportunity to shoot – even my 7-year-old daughter.
First, she took her bow and straddled the shooting line. Then she carefully loaded an arrow into the bow by placing it in the “basket” and pulling the arrow back so its nock, the plastic clip on the back of the arrow, was secured on the bow string. After pulling back on the bow string with all of her might, she anchored her right hand by the corner of her mouth, and aimed at the target. You could see the focus in her eyes before she released her arrow. She didn’t get a bulls eye on her first shot. However, as we continued doing this for over an hour she got the hang of it and did eventually hit the center of the target!
Even though there were a few misses here and there, all of us enjoyed the satisfaction of repeatedly hitting the target. It requires strength to pull back the bow, visual acuity to focus on the target, and discipline to go through the steps multiple times to try to get the same results over and over. We’ve been back there many times and still get a thrill every time we shoot a bull’s eye!
- Preparation: Not really any – just wear comfortable shoes and don’t wear anything billowy.
- Cost: $25.50 for a 30-minute lesson on how to shoot and range safety and then 1-hour of shooting on the range. There’s a group rate of $18.50 for 3 or more shooters.
- Time & Energy: It was a 25-minute drive from our house. Based on the safety requirements and necessity of following the range rules, it is recommended that shooters are at least 8 years old. However, they will take younger children if they are capable of following the rules of the range and pulling back on the bow. If you’re planning to go during the weekend, you should make a reservation.
- Contact Info: C&B Archery is at 11 Commercial St, Hicksville, NY and online at www.cbarchery.net. They can be reached at 516-933-2697. You should talk to Dustin, the manager, who is particularly good with kids.