Lebanon’s only archery range continues to grow following June opening; here’s what it’s like inside | Community News

I’m no Katniss Everdeen, but holding a bow and arrow while staring down the target in Lebanon County’s new indoor archery range sure made me feel like her.

Of course, all possibilities of a “Hunger Games” -esque transformation were dashed to smithereens as my arrow soared and found its mark in between the two targets only 20 yards in front of me.

At Lebanon Indoor Archery on Lehman Street, even a beginner is made to feel like they could potentially work their way up to being the “girl on fire” or a true archery competitor with enough practice.

Forrest Hoffert transformed much of the nearly 70,000-square-foot building that once housed Sookie’s Apparel into five separate ranges, complete with an area to shop for archery supplies and repair bows.

Initially, archery was just a hobby for Hoffert when he acquired the building in 2020. It initially served as a storage facility for his other company, H&M Glass, which specializes in glass restoration and repair, shower enclosures and other products.

“(Archery) was always a big passion of mine,” Hoffert said. “Instead of just having it as a hobby, I could turn it into a business.”

At first, the facility was only open to H&M Glass employees, but Lebanon Indoor Archery opened to the public June 2.

Lebanon was uncharted territory for an archery range. Aside from a few clubs devoted to the sport, Hoffert said there wasn’t anything like this in the county before.

Lebanon Indoor Archery has an area dedicated to selling a variety of archery supplies.

Notching an arrow

Larry Miller, Hoffert’s longtime friend and the range’s manager, is a certified archery trainer offering 20 years of wisdom to help guide customers as they step onto the range.

While teaching me, an uncoordinated lefty, he offered clear and patient guidance including how to draw a bow – “straight back to the corner of your mouth.” And, though he is right-handed, he took one left-handed shot that was far better than all of mine combined.

“The more often you do it, the better you get,” he said as one of my arrows hit the target for the first time.

Before his job at Indoor Archery, Miller built cars for a living. In his free time, though, he traveled the world competing in target archery. He scored in the top hundred out of 3,000 in the 2019 Vegas Shoot – a prestigious international archery event.

“I always wanted to shoot,” Miller said, adding that since he started 20 years ago, he’s amassed 100 different trophies and medals. “I just loved it, couldn’t put it down.”

He’s been instructing others, including his son, Dakota Miller, and his son’s friend, for a decade.

“It’s a pride thing, I guess,” Larry Miller said. “I taught them everything they know.”

And it paid off. Both boys placed at the top of the Pennsylvania State Archery Association tournament several years in a row, he said.

Lebanon Indoor Archery Range

Lebanon Indoor Archery offers a bow and arrow repair station as well.

Room to grow

My target practice took place on the learning range, but the business’ 18,000-square-foot basement holds four other ranges to satisfy all experience-levels. Similar to the learning range, archers can gain some “spot” practice at the spot range. In archery, the familiar bullseye targets are called target spots.

Another range offers 3D targets placed at various angles and distances from where archers are stationed to take their shot. At the opposite side of the building, those who prefer more traditional shooting, like with wooden stick bows, can shoot 3D targets at a closer range.

In the larger 3D range, archers can shoot at models of pigs and alligators with a bow and arrow or shoot at square bales specifically made to take the impact of a crossbow that shoots at much faster speeds.

For those looking to get an idea of ​​what it’d be like to hunt in an African Safari, or perhaps contend in a zombie apocalypse, the building has a TechnoHUNT video range. The range offers customers different scenarios, from the usual deer or gazelle hunt to warding off the undead. Those renting a bow and arrow, like I did, cannot use this space.

With a variety of ranges and space available, Miller and Hoffert envision Lebanon Indoor Archery becoming a place where locals can host birthday parties and other events.

“We’re pretty proud of it,” Hoffert said. “In a short period of time, we turned (the range) into this. Give us a little more time and we’ll have this place more scenic and more decorative. ”

Eventually, Hoffert hopes to put together a team sponsored by the range and become regional qualifiers for archery tournaments like those hosted by the International Bowhunting Organization. Additionally, Hoffert plans to expand the archery supply area into the upper level of the building.

Indoor Archery Range

Larry Miller, manager at Lebanon Indoor Archery, explains the point system for shooting in the 3D range for traditional bow and arrows.

For now, Miller and Hoffert are mainly aiming to get more customers in the door.

“Everyone who comes in seems to love it,” Miller said, adding that several customers have indicated they’ll be coming back and bringing company next time. “It all sounds good for the future. I’m just hoping to get more people in the door a little bit quicker. ”


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