Is it illegal to use a public park as an archery target range?

March 27, 2010 by Bowhunter  
Filed under Archery Set

Moris asked:

I live right next to a park (my backyard actually borders the walkway) and I was wonder if it would be illegal to bring a target and my bow to the park to get some practice shots in. Now, you may think I'm an idiot for considering this, but when I say park, I dont mean using the football/baseball/soccer field, or shooting next to the jungle gym or swing set where the kids play. Granted, this park does have all of that, however, there's also another side of that park that no one goes to and is very very VERY far from all of that (cant see or hear it... VERY FAR). Think of the park as a long rectangle and all the populated areas are on one side, where as I'm talking about using this other side that has nothing but grass and a paved walkway. The only people I ever see here is the occasional dog walker (such as myself) or the guy that cuts the grass. This area is too small to build anything from the park's perspective because it is surrounded by houses, but big enough to let a dog run freely and happily. Now you might be thinking... wait what? Surrounded by houses you say? Well yes, it is technically surrounded by houses, but I reiterate, I'm not an idiot. The houses lined up on the north side is on top of a very large hill... I'd say 30-50 ft up (steep hill... I used to take cardboard and slide down it as a kid) and the houses lined up on the south end are on ground floor separated by their wooden picket fences. Now I'm thinking of setting up a target in front of the hill, using the hill as a catch for all my miss shots. It seems to be a very safe setup. This little area is really like a small meadow tucked away in the corner. It is fully surrounded, invisible from any passing cars on the streets. The walkway moves from east to west... the east side is a small (10 feet or so) hill with a prick wall separating the sidewalk and street with the park, leaving only an opening in the wall for the walkway while the west side is covered with large trees and shrubs again, leaving only enough for the walkway towards the more densely populated and used area of the park... and when I say this populated area is far... i mean far... the two areas are separated by a 1000-2000 feet walkway on a gradually downhill slope.


So with all that said, I get down to the real question... can I get in trouble for doing this? There doesnt seem to be any real safety issue and there is more than adequate space for this. Considering that this is a public park, I dont know if there are any laws against archery in general out in public or using public space for archery... or is it one of those, it's not a problem until someone complains things... because I can assure you that this area is so desolate that I doubt anyone will ever know I was there. I'm just scared I might be doing something illegal and get slapped with a crazy fine or get sent to jail for something like... use of a deadly weapon or whatever. Feel free to add any additional information / suggestions on top of the answer of this question.
I live in California

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3 Responses to “Is it illegal to use a public park as an archery target range?”
  1. Bowhunting

    I read all that and even though it seems you have found a “safe” place to practice, Archery in public places is considered illegal.
    Even during safe activities, accidents happen and I wouldn’t just the park just incase. You could try getting your local councils opinion, they may say it’s ok or if it isn’t they could tell you a place that is :)

  2. Video Games

    It’s a bad idea.

    Is it illegal? That depends on where you live. At the very least even if it is not illegal now, you start doing it and it will be illegal very quickly the City Counsel/County Board/State Parks where you live cannot allow everyone to start doing it. You would be warned off by the police fairly quickly.

    You should try to find a archery range. You can shoot safely and legally, and no one will bother you as long as you follow their safety rules. It will not cost that much.

  3. Car History

    I whipped out my Nerf archery set in Central park once and the police officers didn’t complain. They did when I pulled out my Nerf N-Strike modified Rocket launcher though….

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