Archery instructor Randy Hedman with shooters at Northern Lights Archery range.
The ancient sport of archery is alive and well on the Kenai Peninsula at Northern Lights Archery off Kalifornsky Beach Rd. on Poppy Lane. Randy Hedman and his family recently opened the 14 lane, 20 yard archery range and full line pro shop “I’ve been shooting archery for about 19 years and use to work at an archery shop in Anchorage. I love teaching and working with people so when we moved down here I saw the need for a local archery facility and pro shop, so we took the opportunity to open Northern Lights Archery,” Hedman told the Dispatch.
Jerod Ramm draws a bead with his bow at Northern Lights Archery range.
Initially Hedman says it was hunting that attracted him to archery, “There are a lot of special opportunities for bow hunting only permits, but actually it was the thrill of stalking an animal and the challenge to get within bow range that drew me to archery. You have to become more in tune with your surroundings and the animal you’re hunting in order to get within range to make an effective shot. With a rifle you can be successful from as far as 200 to 300 yards, but with a bow you have to get within 40-60 yards depending upon your ability, and that is always an exciting challenge,” said Hedman.
Robin Hood would be quite amazed to see the changes that archery has undergone since he and his band of merry men rescued Maid Marion from the evil sheriff of Nottingham, “Many people still shoot a long bow today, but basically there are two styles of archery: the traditional long bow or re-curve, and the compound which has the wheels, cams, and draw strings that increase the release velocity,” explained Hedman. A compound bow shooter himself, Hedman says the evolution of the sport has opened a great opportunity for young people, “You still have to be able to draw pull back poundage, which makes it important for a young person to be fitted with the proper equipment to match their strength, but my 11-year-old daughter for example is able to pull back a 45 pound bow and she can shoot for up to two hours at a time because of the let off of the compound bow helps her to build her strength without becoming overly tired, which also helps the safety issue and development of bad habits due to fatigue,” added Hedman.
Northern Lights Archery features a range that allows for shots up to 25 yards for up to 12 archers at a time, “We’ve created a safe family environment where regardless of your level of proficiency the whole family can come in and have a fun time, we don’t have a membership fee, we charge by the hour and have a full line pro shop available where you can purchase your equipment and I also can do repairs and adjustments on your bow for you here. Even if you have your grandpa’s bow in the closet and you’d like to shoot it we can check it out for you and repair it if necessary and be sure it’s safe for you to enjoy and shoot,” said Hedman. Northern Lights Archery also offers personal lessons and classes in archery for youth as well as adults, “The easiest way to find us is to come out K-Beach Rd. to Poppy Lane and turn toward the college and come down one block to the first street on the left called KB Drive and we’re right next the Packaging Store,” said Hedman. Northern Lights Archery is open Tuesday Saturday 10:00am 6:00pm. For more information call Randy at 260-3228.
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