RICE, Minn. — The now-consistent summer weather has people of Stearns County breaking out their outdoor sports gear and readying themselves for days of sun.
People from this area and even as far as Hutchinson, Minn., last month came to Mississippi River County Park in Rice to shoot in a 3D archery event.
The 30-target range was set up throughout the trails of Mississippi River Park, along with some more traditional targets in the open field for newer shooters and demonstrations.
T.H.E Great River Archery Center partnered with Little Crow Archery Club, based in Hutchinson, which hosted the event. Scheels Sports sponsored the event and the city of St. Cloud and Stearns County Parks and Recreation employees participated as well.
The 3D range is meant to simulate what a real scenario would be like for archers out hunting, the St. Cloud Times reported. The life-sized animal targets are positioned along the trail, either in plain shooting sight, or shrouded in the woods.
"It's more like hunting,'' said Brian Koonz, one of the center's board members. "It puts you in that element of, you're out in the woods, there's wind, you can't control the lighting ...''
Koonz said this is the best way people can learn how to shoot in a real-life situation and recall it later.
The 3D targets have markings on them, similar to a standard target. However, the circles are sometimes smaller, and placed differently depending on the animal. The smaller sections are worth more points in competition scoring. But the targets are really drawn this way for hunters to practice accurate shooting in hunting.
"It makes people more ethical hunters,'' Koonz said. "The worst thing you can do as a hunter is, you never want to wound an animal. It teaches you what to do and what not to do.''
The event was host to other archery activities for both highly experienced shooters and new learners.
That Sunday morning, kids lined up in front of the open targets and learned how to shoot properly from adults. Vendors hung high-tech bows from their tents and long-time archers tried their hand at open-field targets up to 101 yards away.
T.H.E Great River Archery Center also used the event to kick off its membership drive for the newly formed T.H.E. Great River Archery Club. The membership drive is a fundraiser for amenities like the new indoor archery facility and events like the one this weekend.