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Jared Hoefs with a bison target. Below, a look at the range and various targets archers can aim for. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Archery becoming vogue due to ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy

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BY Sarah smith

The popularity of archery has received a major shot in the arm thanks to the “Hunger Games” trilogy of books.

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That’s the opinion of Jered Hoefs, archery technician at Smokey Hills Outdoor Store.

So the store made a major investment in an archery range, with new targets added this year.

“There has been a rise in traditional archery,” Hoefs agreed, since the Suzanne Collins “Hunger Games” book came out in 2008, followed by the films starting in 2012.

The series has also attracted girls to the sport, since the female protagonist in the series is a young woman named Katniss Everdeen.

The Smokey Hills range has some rather futuristic-looking foam targets, like the Velociraptor and the Duck Bill Dinosaur, even though they harken originally from a past millennium.

Life a golf course with sponsored holes, the archery range has local businesses sponsoring each target. (You’ll have to go to the course on U.S. Highway 71 to see who sponsors the Jackalope.)

Hoefs points out the range is a community resource, reinforced by the community sponsorships.

Wildlife groups such as the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the National Wild Turkey Federation have also sponsored targets.

Points on the range, open from early spring to late fall, go from a maximum 10 points for a heart shot, to zero for a miss.

Vital organs other than the heart score 8 and 5 points depending on how close the archer is to the creature’s heart.

Last year 400 archers tried out the new course, Hoefs said.

The course is designed so that everyone can make a safe shot without endangering anyone else, Hoefs said.

If archers are challenged by an 80-yard shot, they can walk right up to a target to flex beginning muscles.

There are 30 targets total. Some spots have the ability for archers to take a shot at five separate targets.

Hoefs said it’s a relatively cheap sport to invest in, with good used beginner’s set starting at around $50.

Flags of different colors signify the level of expertise required for each shot; pink for challenge, yellow for intermediate and green for casual. You can take shots from each spot, Hoefs said, as you hone your skills.

Prices for the sharpshooters can be in the thousands of dollars.

It’s a resurgence that Hoefs believes will keep growing and a sport that has unlimited potential.

Itasca offers archery lessons

Have you ever wanted to shoot a compound bow but didn’t have one or were afraid to try?

Join certified archery instructors for hands-on training and coaching on compound bows, then try out our archery range. This program is designed for beginners. Children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Bows are provided during the program. Personal archery equipment is not allowed due to weapons rules in Minnesota State Parks.

Meet in the back lot of the Indian Mounds/North Picnic Grounds Parking Area June 14 from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

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ssmit

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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