The heroines of both “The Hunger Games” and “Brave” use a bow and arrow. Katniss Everdeen used it to find food for her family before she was thrust into the spotlight. Princess Merida shot arrows at targets while riding through the forest on her trusty horse.
Movies like these have been inspiring girls to give archery a shot. Josh Jones, manager of Spokane Valley Archery, 3809 S. Linke Road, said he has seen an uptick in business from both those movies. He said every four years after the Olympics, he sees an increase as well.
Spokane Valley Archery has been at its current location for 13 years. For 22 years before that, it was the Outdoor Sportsman in Spokane. Owned by Jones’ father, Mark, archery is the family business.
Jones said it was his grandfather who first became involved in archery – he started an archery club in Seattle. He passed on his love to his son, who passed it on to Jones.
“His (Mark’s) passion was always archery,” Jones said.
Jones began working behind the counter at age 12. Now, 33, he manages the business and hunts with his bow and arrow – elk and deer, mostly. Jones said the meat he hunts is organic, leaner and tastes better than anything he can find in a grocery store.
At Spokane Valley Archery, visitors can get their first lesson, which Jones recommends. He said they measure your arms and even do a check for eye dominance, which can help in lining up the targets.
Jones said he finds archery very calming and even therapeutic. He said it is fairly cheap to participate, once you have the equipment.
If you aren’t ready to commit to buying your equipment at first, bow rental is $8.
There are 14 acres on the property for shooting. There is a 3-D course with hills and rocks where you can shoot foam deer, a flat range for target practice up to 100 yards and an indoor range for lessons.
They also offer Junior Olympic Archery Development, a youth archery program for anyone 18 and younger. It’s sponsored by the National Archery Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes archery.
The program offers state, regional and national championships. Jones used to compete and won state competitions in his youth.
Crossbows are not a legal hunting weapon, but Jones said visitors are welcome to bring their own to practice at the shooting range.
He said archery is nice because the whole family can participate. He compares the sport to golf – you can be either very young or very old when you begin.
“Not too many sports are like that,” he said.