Only a month until Oklahoma's deer archery season and bow hunters needing a place to practice should check out the new archery tower and range at Crystal Lake.
It's free to the public and unique for Oklahoma City. Built from specifications provided by the national Archery Trade Association, archers can shoot at targets from a platform that is 14-feet high. The tower can accommodate as many as four shooters at a time.
“There are probably four or five people a day that stop in here that say they are going out there to shoot,” said Rob Stillwagon of Arrowhead Archery in Del City.
“It gives hunters a chance to practice like they were shooting out of a tree stand, getting them proficient at shooting downward angles. It's the only place I can go in Oklahoma City without paying an arm and a leg to sight in my bow.”
City Care, a non-profit organization in Oklahoma City that cares for the poor and homeless, leases Crystal Lake from the city for $1 per year. Volunteers donated time and materials to clean up the lake and build the archery range and tower.
One of City Care's missions is to introduce inner-city children to the outdoors through a program called City Kid Outdoors.
With the growing popularity of archery in the public schools, an archery range seemed ideal at Crystal Lake, which is somewhat secluded even though it's not far from downtown Oklahoma City, said Cash Cargill, City Care's youth program director.
“It fell right in with our mission, teaching kids about the outdoors,” Cargill said. “We thought it was a perfect thing to do.”