Do you know where I can find an archery range near Toronto that rents archery equipment suitable for a 5 year old? I am trying to find a place that rents equipment so my 5 year old son can learn archery.
- Lisa T."
Now there is a challenging problem.
The problem is there is no archery ranges that rent archery equipment. Let alone equipment that is suitable for a 5 year old. It is generally accepted that most archers have their own equipment.
The Toronto Archery Range has no age limit, but anyone under the age of 16 must be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times, so that is certainly an option. However it is a free public archery range and it doesn't rent equipment.
There are private ranges outside of Toronto which may allow archers that age, but they will certainly have similar restrictions with respect to supervision and they are not free. Expect to be paying $10 per hour just to use private ranges, and that doesn't include the cost of renting equipment.
There is a 3rd party company that rents sports equipment (+ a damage deposit), but it is a bit of a racket because beginners are much more likely to lose arrows / damage equipment so they are really expecting you to end up damaging equipment and losing part of your damage deposit. Also I wouldn't recommend their smallest youth bow for a 5 year old because it is really designed for a 10 to 14 year old.
There are some archery instructors like myself who provide equipment during archery lessons, but such lessons are more for people who are very serious about learning archery and are certainly more expensive. Maybe put a pin in that idea and come back when your son is older / more serious about the sport.
Canadian Tire, Bass Pro and similar stores sell youth archery equipment which is reasonably priced.
There is a $69 bow on Canadian Tire for example that would be suitable for your son.
You would also need to buy about 6 arrows and a shooting glove or shooting tab, so overall you might be spending closer to $150+ on equipment, but at least the equipment is reusable and you can always sell it all later on Craigslist if your son ever loses interest in the sport.
Lastly I suppose you could just make your own equipment.
- Just buy wood dowels from Canadian Tire, 5/16th dowels is a good size for making arrows.
- Cut the dowels to an appropriate length for your son's draw length (24 to 28 inches is probably more than enough), notch the ends to make nocks for the arrows.
- Adding feather fletching to the arrows is optional and unnecessary since this is just for a youth bow, but as you get better at making arrows over time you can practice fletching arrows in order to improve accuracy over longer distances.
- Find a piece of oak or similar hardwood that is 4-5 feet long and tiller it into a bow. There are plenty of youtube videos on the subject of tillering a bow evenly if you need help.
- Paracord makes a decent bowstring for a cheap selfbow.
- Your first bow will probably suck horribly, but it will still shoot. Don't worry about it. As your son gets older you can make more bows together and you will get better at it.
- If you have some scrap leather you could make a shooting tab. Cut the following shape out of the leather. It doesn't need to be perfect, but you will need to size it fit your son's hand.
- Encourage your son to use the shooting tab whenever shooting so he doesn't hurt his fingers. Some archers suffer nerve damage to their fingers by shooting without protection.
Alternatively you could buy the bow I mentioned from Canadian Tire and then make the wooden arrows and shooting tab yourself. If your son likes making things this is something fun you could do together.
There are also archery themed summer camps in the GTA / Ontario, but I believe they are all currently closed due to COVID. That is something to consider in future years when COVID is behind us.
Likewise Beaver Scouts and Boy Scouts sometimes do archery, but again COVID.
Best of luck! Happy shooting!