MISCOUCHE – Public access to archery as a hobby or a sport has become a lot easier in Prince County, thanks to a program being organized at the Miscouche Recreation Centre.
Coordinator Bruce Crabb has been working for several months to get the program going, with the support of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation, the P.E.I. Archery Association and Duncan Crawford who owns Cass’ Creek Outdoor Store and Archery Range in West Covehead.
With funding from the P.E.I. Wildlife Conservation Fund, Crabb has been able to purchase 12 compound bows, 60 arrows, a bow stand, targets, netting and other safety necessities.
With the recent arrival of equipment, he offered the initial training session for a dozen interested adults and youths on Saturday morning.
Crabbe outlined the program as being for those 11-years-old and above, mainly because of the coordination and strength needed to properly draw the compound bow that will be the staple of the program, but he isn’t necessarily ruling out younger enthusiasts.
In addition to introducing the public to the sport, Crabb would like to expand the Archery in the Schools program. He noted that in addition to being a personal hobby or skill challenge, archery is also a competitive sport to the Olympic level.
Dale Cameron, project coordinator for the Trout Unlimited Prince County chapter, attended the presentation to determine how he could incorporate the new equipment to his needs.
He has had expressions of interest, and has offered archery experiences as part of the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program. In addition to having an accessible range, which the Miscouche Recreation Centre provides, and the equipment for training, he would also like to train instructors to be available for the special events his watershed group organizes.
Crabbe noted that Basic Archery Instructor training is a one-day course, at a cost of $80, and the need is as important for the new public archery program as it is for Cameron’s interests.
Crabb will also be looking for committee help to run the program as well as volunteers to help with door and range duties. He also suggested a nominal registration fee of between $5-15 to cover maintenance, range rental, equipment replacement and other costs the program is expected to incur.
After outlining the proposed program, Crabb invited the participants to try out the equipment. He introduced them to the range whistle commands, proper use of the bow and arrows, and tips on safe range practices.
Blair Dawson and his son, Jacob, of St. Nicholas, heard about the presentation and decided they should investigate. They enjoy watching hunting shows, and the use of archery got Jacob interested in the equipment.
They purchased a beginner bow for him and felt the availability of an instructor would be useful.
“He has one, so it’s nice to know safety,” Blair Dawson considered, as he also has had no experience other than with home-made toys as a child.
The program is still under development with practice times flexible and options open. Anyone interested in volunteering with the program or learning archery is urged to contact Bruce Crabb at 436-5469.