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  • Take Aim

    New archery complex at Denman Wildlife Area expects to capitalize on the sport's rising popularity
  • WHITE CITY — A little-used corner of the Denman Wildlife Area that sports little more than blackberries and starthistle will soon become a field of dreams for local archers.
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  • WHITE CITY — A little-used corner of the Denman Wildlife Area that sports little more than blackberries and starthistle will soon become a field of dreams for local archers.
    ODFW plans to break ground soon on a new archery park near the wildlife area headquarters, providing the region's first outdoor public shooting park at a time when interest in the sport is surging.
    On one flank there will be a covered, six-lane, archery range for beginners.
    On another flank will be a bowhunter range where shooters will be able to take aim at three-dimensional targets from a variety of distances, including an elevated platform to simulate tree-stand shots.
    And in the middle will rest the crown jewel — a covered, 10-lane range with movable targets that can be extended as far as 90 meters so anyone can try shots like Brady Ellison and the rest of the United States' silver medal-winning team in the London Olympics.
    "If there are kids around here who want to try Olympic archery, I want to give them a place to shoot," says Russ Stauff, Rogue watershed manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    The archery range will be open from dawn to dusk, available for organized practices and sanctioned tournaments. And all for the price of a $7 daily parking permit or a $22 annual parking permit.
    Modeled after community park ranges designed by the Archery Trade Association, the range will be the first of its kind on the valley floor and one of two ODFW plans to build as prototypes to encourage future ranges on other wildlife areas or in municipal parks across the state.
    "We hope to build these as flagship archery parks," says Chris Willard, ODFW's hunter-education coordinator, who is overseeing the work at Denman and a similar range at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area near Corvallis.
    "We really want to support recreational shooting," Willard says. "We look at archery as a sport that complements hunting and gets folks outdoors."
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