Want to have more fun while practicing archery? Here are 5 ways to make recreational archery even more fun - and challenge your skills!
#1. Shoot Balloons with Arrows
One of the simplest and easiest ways to keep kids / young archers occupied is to use balloons on your target.
Tip - For extra fun, put about 2 tablespoons of glitter inside the balloon and watch the explosion of glitter when they hit it. Filming the glitter explosion is also a good idea. If you don't have glitter handy, you can also use corn starch and food colouring.
However leaving broken balloons and lots of glitter all over the place is bad mojo, so please clean up your mess afterwards.
#2. Blowing out a Candle with an Arrow
For more advanced archers, this is a fun challenge. Trying to blow out a candle without hitting the actual candle. (And without setting fire to your arrow. For obvious reasons you should take safety precautions when practicing this.)
#3. Shooting at Fruit / Vegetables
Another popular thing for kids to shoot at is fruit and vegetables (preferably the kind they dislike the most). While watermelons might seem like a good idea, that is a waste of good watermelon! Instead try shooting at apples, broccoli or something the kid really dislikes.
"Zombie Survivalists" - people who are a bit obsessed with the TV show "The Walking Dead" - prefer to shoot at head sized melons, however they seem to be forgetting that to kill a zombie you have to get them in the brain, which is roughly double the size of an apple, which means they should be picking pretty small melons.
Note - Shooting at fruit and vegetables tends to leave juice all over your arrows and that will smell bad if you forget to clean your arrows afterwards. Keep some water, rags and maybe even some cleaning alcohol handy for cleaning your arrows after you are done shooting and clean them before storing them away.
#4. Robin Hood an Arrow
Trying to split an arrow is a huge challenge. See my tips on How To Split An Arrow. For extra challenge, try to Robin Hood a Moving Target.
To do it on purpose, place an old arrow (one you don't need any more) in the middle of your target and then practice shooting until you manage to robin hood (hit it directly in the end). You may not get it on the first day of practicing this particular challenge, but with regular practice you will eventually do it - and do it again and again. (I have lost track of how many times I have Robin Hooded my arrows.)
If you would rather not destroy one of your arrows, a different challenge is to shoot at a piece of LifeSaver candy. If you get it right it in the middle then that is just as good as Robin Hooding an arrow.
#5. Field Archery / Roving
Field Archery is a specific sport of archery, wherein your challenge is to try and hit a target at a random / unknown distance. The distance is usually unmarked and the location is usually across a field, across rough terrain or in the wilderness. As a sport, it was traditionally practiced by people who are into bowhunting and "rovers".
One way to get into Field Archery is to get a Target Ball, like the one shown below. Then simply toss it into a field and begin shooting at it. I recommend using metal blunt arrowheads so you don't damage the ball as much. The interior of the thick rubber ball is filled with sand, so you will definitely want to avoid using broadheads as that will leave holes and cause it to leak sand. I also recommend using wingnuts on the arrowheads so that your arrows don't get lost in grass easily in the event you miss.
Roving is an old tradition of young men going for a walk and shooting at random objects along the way, often while drinking and making up drinking songs like "A-Roving We Will Go". Rovers would wander across the countryside and pick random targets to shoot at, sometimes combined with "I dare you to try to shoot ____." The practice of roving dates back to the 16th century, and possibly earlier when it might have been known by different names.
The modern equivalent of roving is called "Stump Shooting", shown below. The archers wanders around old woods and looks for old tree stumps that are fairly rotten and falling apart, and then shoots the rotting tree stump. Make sure you check to see if the tree stump is actually fairly soft, as you wouldn't want to shoot at a hard tree stump and damage your arrow.
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