Learn archery with MDC's free training programs

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

Kansas City, Mo. – Archery's ancient skills are finding modern roles. The bow and arrow once signified survival. Today, archery is still used in hunting and plays a role in food gathering, especially deer hunting. But also, target archery is growing in popularity. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers training and shooting ranges that makes the ancient art accessible to anyone.

"Archery literally is available for anybody," said Nathan Woodland, MDC's Parma Woods Range Supervisor. "Our three-hour workshops have two hours of shooting time. In that time, most people are able to shoot a respectable grouping at 10 yards."

Kaizley Williams, 13, of Kansas City was one of 35 youngsters shooting archery on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at Gladstone's Happy Rock Park.

"It's something that helps keep me focused, and I know I can do it really well," Williams said.

Chris Capps, MDC outdoor skills specialist, gave lessons and monitored the shooting range at the one-day event in a partnership with the city's summer parks programs. MDC staff can train parks staff, school coaches and youth group leaders in how to offer archery using affordable, standardized target gear.

Archery equipment is available that is adaptable to all ages. People with physical challenges will find ranges accessible to wheelchairs. Specialized gear enables people with other physical challenges to shoot archery, too.

MDC offers a variety of ways for people to learn and enjoy archery. Conservation Department shooting ranges and nature centers offer archery classes at various times during the year. Both staffed and unstaffed archery target shooting ranges are available in the Kansas City metro area.

MDC's Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center will offer an Adult Summer Camp archery session 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21. The course will teach adults the basics of target archery shooting with compound bows. Discovery Center is located in the heart of Kansas City at 4750 Troost Ave. This program is free. But advance registration is required by calling 816-759-7300.

The Lake City Shooting Range will offer a Beginning Archery course 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5. An archery class designed for teenagers is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13. Both classes are free. But advance registration is required by calling 816-249-3194. The Lake City Range is part of Landahl Park east of Independence and north of Blue Springs. The address is 28505 E. Truman Road in Buckner.

Parma Woods Shooting Range offers archery classes for beginners and for experienced shooters who want to sharpen their skills. An Intermediate Archery course will be offered 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 30. Parma Woods will offer a basic archery class 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, and from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4. This class will introduce participants to equipment, safety precautions and skills. The stance, draw, aim and arrow release techniques produce accuracy. Basics are fairly simple to learn, and with practice good technique produces accurate shooting. For information, call 816-891-9941. Parma Woods is west of Parkville at 15900 N.W. River Road.

A Bowhunter Education class is scheduled at Parma Woods 6 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 9 and 10. This class teaches safety and archery skills useful in bow hunting for deer, turkey or small game. The course will cover archery gear, shooting skills, conservation, hunting regulations pertaining to archery, tree stand safety, shot placement, trailing game and field dressing game. Those who complete the course will be Bowhunter Education certified. The course gives people the necessary skills to be successful at bowhunting for game, but it also is a useful refresher course for veteran bowhunters.

Both the Parma Woods and Lake City ranges offer target archery ranges. There is a charge of $3 per hour for archery range use for shooters over age 16.

The Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs will offer families with children ages 7 and older a chance to make and shoot homemade bows and arrows from Noon to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26. The program is free but registration is required, call 816-228-3766.

Once an archer learns how to shoot a bow and arrow, practice makes accurate. MDC provides unstaffed target ranges for free public shooting. These ranges provide a chance to shoot for fun and to tune up skills for hunting seasons.

A popular archery range is at the Platte Falls Conservation Area, about one mile east of Platte City off Route HH. That range has targets set at various distances.

James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area has a field archery range. This range is on the area's southeast corner. It can be reach off Smart Road. For a map, visit extra.mdc.mo.gov/documents/area_brochures/5501map.pdf

MDC also offers the Missouri National Archery in Schools Program, also known as MoNASP. This target archery program for schools provides a safe and simple way for youths to learn and enjoy archery. The gear is basic and standard for all participants. The target range protocols can be used for indoor or outdoor shooting. MoNASP includes competitive matches and tournaments. But the bottom line is target archery is fun and enjoyed by a wide variety of youths. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3813. Anyone interested in the program can also call Outdoor Skills Specialist Chris Capps at 816-622-0900.

For more information on MDC outdoor skills programs, visit mdc.mo.gov.