Open season: Hayden Archery Range ready for its fourth summer

The Hayden Archery Range opened its gates for its fourth summer of operation on Wednesday.

In 2020, Hayden Parks and Recreation Maintenance Supervisor Kyle Barrett proposed the range in hopes of growing the sport in Northwest Colorado. His plans were approved and he began constructing and maintaining the range at the old Hayden Racetrack, about two miles south of town, where the archery range still exists today. 

A driving factor in getting the range built was to offer young archers a place to safely practice their craft. 

“The 4-H archery kids have used it tremendously over the last several years,” Barrett said. “I have been a very avid archer pretty much my whole life. I shot 4-H archery and that was one of the reasons I wanted to see if we could pursue building an archery range and get the youth involved as much as I can.”

To shoot on the range, archers must first visit the Hayden Center at 495 W. Jefferson Ave. to sign a waiver and pay a small fee toward a monthly or seasonal pass.

According to Barrett, the range is a much safer and more cost-effective way to practice archery. 

“It gives people a place to shoot where you are not at the local gun range because that is where a lot of people used to go shoot their bows,” he said. “Shooting your bow at 30 yards while someone is shooting a high caliber rifle at 300 yards and then waiting to go out there, it was a safety thing.”

Archers must bring their own bows to the range, but the targets are already hung and set, shooting pads are in place and racks are available to hang archers’ bows. 

The range features six targets ranging from 10-70 yards. The closer distances are made for younger individuals and any beginners, while the farther targets can be used for big game hunting practice. 

Archers of all ages are welcome, but minors must be accompanied by an adult. 

“Most bow sights have five pins, and most people go up in 10 yard increments,” Barrett said. “Usually, 30 yards is the maximum for a youth, but an adult will shoot anywhere from 20 to 70 yards on their five pins.”

Barrett has to take the targets down at the end of each season so they do not get ruined through the winter months. To prepare the range for the start of the season, he hangs them back on their frames, which are checked and re-secured every year. 

Barrett said he has seen the sport grow at a rapid rate nationwide and hopes the addition of the range in Hayden will only continue its growth in Colorado. 

“Archery is really gaining giant speed as an industry as a whole,” Barrett said. “It is really taking off.”

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