Can I Practice Archery On Public Land? (The Answer)

Posted by Andy Ryan
Posted at
archery bow and arrow

Practicing archery is a lot of fun, but the question is where is it legal and where is it not? I will try to explain this in this article in a simple manner. So you can know from now on where to shoot and not. I would love to tell you if it was legal or not in your specific situation, but I can’t and I will explain what to do if you are not sure.

Can I practice archery on public land? Yes, you can practice archery on public land if there is no public endangerment and the space you are using is well suited for archery practice. If you are not certain, check with your respective police minister.

In my research trying to find the answer to this question, I could never find a specific law targeting this type of practice on public land. The only law I could find related to public and archery was that it’s not prohibited to walk through a commercial center with a bow and arrow.

But after a lot of time spent looking for something that could change the situation I stumbled upon this statement. That a council can introduce an ordinance prohibiting the use of bows and arrows on public land. Once this is adopted, it’s a law. That’s why it’s important that you check with your local police minister to make sure that such a law has not been adopted.

Practicing on public land can be smart and it can be a mistake. It all depends on the situation and the place you are practicing. Use common sense and think through your setup and practice range. You should at least have 50 meters of space where there are no people. I will go into more detail on how and where to shoot down below.

What to remember when practicing on public land

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you are about to start your practice. First, of all, you need to check that there are no people around you and that the direction you are shooting is not a place where people are meant to walk. I like to have at least 50 meters of space for myself where I know there are no people.

Always use a backstop to prevent any arrows from going behind the target. You need to have it big enough so any arrows that miss will hit the backstop. The worst shot that you wouldn’t imagine yourself shooting, that shot also needs to be stopped. I found another site mentioning the discussion of archery on public land. He sent a letter to the NSW ( The office of the Minister of Police) and the parliamentary secretary for police. He asked the simple and direct question ” Can I legally practice archery on crown lands such as sports & recreation fields, provided I do so safely and responsibly?” And here was the reply he got: Reply From Letter

The website that I mentioned in this paragraph is
He has a very informative and well-written article on the public use of archery.

I like to use a backstop netting that I place behind my target. You can also make one if that is preferable. I will link to the backstop netting down below

Can I Practice Archery On Public Land? (The Answer) 1

Check it out on Amazon here:

Backstop Netting


DIY backstop

There are several ways you can make your own backstop. You can use hay or compressed foam. The important thing to remember when you make your own is to use a material that can handle the impact, but also make it possible to remove the arrow without breaking it. Keep that in mind when you pick your material of choice.

You can build a wall, ramp, or box. The possibilities are endless as long as they check the criteria mentioned in the paragraph above. If you are going to use public land that is far from your house it’s smart to make your wall foldable so you can take it in your car. The reason I love backstop netting is mainly that that issue is handled. I use a part of a part and shoot into the woods and I simply just hang my netting there.

The important thing to remember if you are going to use it in the public land is to make it big enough, I mentioned this in the first paragraph, but I needed to say it again because it is such an important thing to remember. If you choose to use it in your backyard, the size will not hurt you. You want to avoid hitting your neighbor`s wall or window so a big backstop is just great.

Ask before practice

If there are any people around you in a park, make sure to ask the people if they are ok with you shooting archery. Some people can be frightening and find it disturbing. In most cases, it should be fine, but asking will often be well appreciated. If there would be a reason for the police to come and ask you why you shoot there, it would be most likely because of the people around you calling it in or complaining to the cops.

What to do if it is not legal

If the public land you wanted to shoot at was not legal, you want to leave and find somewhere else to go. Try to find a range or a club where you can shoot at. There are often hidden gems if you look around for them.

If this was your plan A make a plan B. Use your backyard if that is legal, to find out if it’s legal in your area and how to do it check out this article

Using your backyard can be a good option and can save you the drive to the public land even. I am using my garage and a backstop as my range and it works perfectly. The same rules apply here so make sure to check with your police minister before taking any action.

Using the basement. I have a friend who has upgraded his basement to an archery range and I am so jealous. It’s the perfect place to shoot if you have a large enough basement. If you are going to do some changes to your house in the near future, keep that in mind. Shooting inside when it’s cold and snowy outside is just a great solution.

Related Questions

Is archery legal in the UK? Yes, archery is legal in the UK. Archery used to be the national sport in the UK and was not only legal, but practicing was mandatory for everyone.

Is it legal to hunt with a bow in the UK? No, hunting with a bow in the UK used to be legal, but at this time it is not. Archery used to be the national sport of the UK, nevertheless, the UK has made the decision to ban hunting with a bow.

Can you hunt deer in England? Yes, you can hunt deer in England. You do not need a license to hunt in the open season. The time of the year the open season is varied by region and species.



Andy Ryan is the founder of ArcheryPower and has been in the archery industry for many years. He is an instructor and maintains a certification. His mission is helping more and more people each year with archery and bow hunting.

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