From the CBH newsletter:
There was a recent ruling at the El Dorado Archery Range, by the Long Beach Parks and Recreation Department, that disallows the placement of...and shooting at... 3D animal targets in front of the butts on this range. This is a practice that has been enjoyed by target archers and bowhunters for years without problems.
This ruling was based upon two women who had observed an archery class being taught by Marcus Bossett. They were aghast at seeing youth shooting at 3D Animal Targets and demanded that the park stop this terrible practice.
The “terribly offensive” class is called “Instinctive Archery” and Marcus has been using his own personal 3D targets for his students to shoot at so they know how to shoot and score all of the tournaments held in California which includes the 3D tournaments.
These two women managed to cause a sweeping policy change that includes the entire archery range and anyone who comes to enjoy it.
Marcus and I spoke a couple years ago when PETA planned a protest at his classes due to his use of 3D animal targets. He had 'dedicated four and a half years to the range.' I contacted Marcus regarding what I had read and he confirmed what the newsletter states. He said that during one of his classes, a woman walked up in between his students and the targets (incredibly unsafe on her part) and began taking photographs of the animal targets and then turned around and took photographs of the class. When Marcus asked her if he could help her she ignored him and walked away. He tried confronting her and she remained silent, got in her vehicle and drove off.
Shortly thereafter, Marcus was informed he would no longer be allowed to teach archery at El Dorado Park. Marcus explained to me that he contacted the park numerous times and spoke to Citywide Programs Superintendent, Joy Warren a trying to get a straight answer as to why. He stated that she refused to meet with him in person, but would talk on the phone. He also mentioned that he was told that very few people are using their own 3D targets on the range. I have shot 3D animal targets at this range since 2009. So has my hunting partner and many of my friends. So do many other archers. I even have video proof of my shooting 3D animal targets in 2009 with no issues with anyone. I even had other archers ask me if they could shoot it, too.
In checking the El Dorado Park webpage, I notice the lack of any information on the archery range. At the bottom, it does mention the Junior Olympic Archery Development program and states, 'FREE archery instruction. Learn on their equipment or your own!' Yes, it also says your own, so can't archers bring their own targets to this class? If to this class, then can't other archers bring their own targets as well?
I called Joy Warren and she informed me that the ruling is indeed correct. There were a couple people that felt the park was 'promoting the injuring of animals' by shooting at the 3D foam targets and the 'park does not want confrontation'. She admitted she knows very little about archery and bowhunting. Just to clarify, shooting a 3D animal target allows bowhunters to practice better shots so that when we hunt these animals our shots are spot on and so we DON'T leave an injured animal in the forest. We want our shots to be accurate and for the animal to die quickly. We hunters don't like to see an injured animal any more than you do.
I shared with Joy that bowhunters use 3D animal targets to more accurately focus their shots by shooting for a smaller area in preparation for hunting. That's one of the reasons we use them. Another reason for using our own 3D targets is that we don't beat up the straw bales or the rubber backing used by the Olympic-style archers. We bring our own targets to save the park having to replace the bales sooner and to have a more solid target to shoot.
Here's the real issue. The park did not inform the public of this change! I asked if I could see the official letter they sent out to people. Come to find out, they didn't draft a letter to go out and they surely didn't post notices around the range stating that archers couldn't use them. What they are doing is if the rangers see someone is shooting at a 3D animal target, the rangers go out and inform the archer they must remove the target from the range as they are not allowed any longer. She also stated that there was no plan to inform the public. It's not even mentioned on the Long Beach Parks website. Many of us bowhunters buy an annual park pass specifically to use the archery range. Even the park pass rules are outdated as they now use a plastic pass that hangs from your rear view mirror. At $60 per pass or $7 per vehicle if you don't have a pass, it isn't cheap, but it is worth it to be able to practice out to 80 yards. It's the only place in Long Beach that you can shoot that far legally. Shooting at 80 yards allows our shots at 30-40 yards to be more accurate.
There is a multitude of bowhunters who use this range on a daily basis to practice for hunting and just for target practice. According to the park, only Olympic Style archery is allowed from now on and that this ruling was put in place two years ago. Really? How come no one has ever heard of this until now? Ms. Warren explained that the park manager put it in place two years ago and she is just enforcing it as she is fairly new to her position. I offered to sit down with the Long Beach Parks and Recreation Department and share what bowhunters do for conservation and why we practice like we do, as much as we do. With 30 years of experience I believe I have some knowledge on the matter. I was denied a meeting.
I also asked if bowhunters could volunteer to help rebuild the dilapidated fence just beyond the archery targets. Anyone who uses the range knows what I am talking about. This is a safety barrier and backstop should any arrows miss the straw bales. It looks like Swiss cheese. She said that staff from Boeing would be fixing the fence on July 26. I also mentioned how unsafe it is to have the fence open in the middle and recommended that it be closed. I also asked if any signs would be placed on the opposite side of the fence to let patrons know there was an archery range on the other side. She said they can get temporary signs to put on the backside of the fence. I hope they put a few up and spread them out. Plus, they should be in English and Spanish so that more park users can read them.
How do you bowhunters feel about this? Please chime in as they must hear from us. I know I am incredibly upset as the next step is to ban anything but a traditional bow. I will be following up with the park to see if we can get the 3D target use back and what steps we need to take.