Sunday was a great day… To be a Bow Hunter!
I thought I’d go try out the private archery club in Chino, CA called the Oranco Bowmen Archery Range. I had always heard of a range that was supposed to be one of the best ranges in the world, and didn’t believe it till I experienced it’s splendor! As I pulled in off the 71 freeway just north of the 91 fwy, I was immediately impressed by the beautiful rows of trees lining the gravel road entrance.
The rules for this private archery club in Southern California are pretty similar to most other ranges. You will notice that the range is only open to the public on Sundays from 8:30 am – 2pm, except for holidays. The Oranco Archery Range fees for non-members are $10, and $20 for a family. As soon as you park, you will need to walk over to the clubhouse to sign in and pay your fees. Remember to bring cash or check only (If you forget there’s a gas station near the 71 fwy, but the ATM fees are $2.95) If you want to be an annual member, which I highly suggest, it is $180 from the beginning of their season in June, and gets lower each month. You will also need to become a member of the NFAA / CBH / SAA for $75, which you should benefit from membership anyways. There is a $30 fee for new members as well, but that’s about it. So to get in, you’re looking at $285, which is a small price to pay for such a great range.
One complaint that some people have is that you cannot shoot crossbows at the range. The reason is that the crossbow bolts will enter the bales with such force, and because of the short length, they get buried into the bale, making a destructive object to some archers arrows that cost up to $25 per arrow.
While the range states that there is no shooting broad heads at bales, understand that Oranco Archery Range does have a broad head pit where you can dial in your arrows into a sand pit. The pit is set at about 50 yards, and is right near the clubhouse. Most hunters know this, but just to make sure… and field points don’t fly the same. You have to dial them in before the hunt, and Oranco is a great place to do that!
As you enter the range you will see the practice range on the left hand side, and most target archers and hunters meet under the natural canopies of the trees as they hone their equipment and archery skills. The corrugated roof overhead blocks the sun, and gives moderate protection from in-climate weather. Just walking down the line, you see a variety of archery tackle, from primal handmade stick bows to super technical olympic bows that cost a fortune.
The best part of my day was walking their field mountain course that takes you through a series of outdoor targets with different animals. Although I am a wild pig hunter at heart, I couldn’t help but smile as I sent some arrows down range, at 40 yards, aiming at the necks of some Mallards! (Yes, I need some practice) The rules are pretty much like that of a golf course, in that you wait your turn when others are shooting ahead of you. Your allowed to release 4 arrows, before you have to move on to the next challenge, but that’s not a problem, because you can’t wait to see whats next. Bring some water on the course, as the hills will get to you after awhile.
There were some distance target challenges that kept me wanting more and more. The landscape was peaceful even though there was a public shooting range right next door. It kinda felt like my own version of a golf course that I will make into a weekly ritual. The staff and members were so relaxed and friendly while exploring this awesome range, that it felt like I was home.