Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


3d club just voted to close. no helpers

Messages posted to thread:
Fletch 11-Aug-17
Bud B. 11-Aug-17
Tal McNeill 11-Aug-17
George D. Stout 11-Aug-17
Fletch 11-Aug-17
Ishi 11-Aug-17
M60gunner 11-Aug-17
Jon Stewart 11-Aug-17
Lost arrow 11-Aug-17
Altek 11-Aug-17
jk 11-Aug-17
aromakr 11-Aug-17
jk 11-Aug-17
limbwalker 11-Aug-17
jk 11-Aug-17
PEARL DRUMS 11-Aug-17
JusPassin 11-Aug-17
George D. Stout 11-Aug-17
throwback 11-Aug-17
George D. Stout 11-Aug-17
stick33 11-Aug-17
Lost arrow 11-Aug-17
OkieJ 11-Aug-17
hawkeye in PA 11-Aug-17
jk 11-Aug-17
hawkeye in PA 11-Aug-17
DanaC 11-Aug-17
Longbow58 12-Aug-17
RymanCat 12-Aug-17
strshotx 12-Aug-17
Eric Krewson 12-Aug-17
throwback 12-Aug-17
George D. Stout 12-Aug-17
throwback 12-Aug-17
The Whittler 12-Aug-17
thorn 12-Aug-17
StikBow 12-Aug-17
Crow 12-Aug-17
N. Y. Yankee 12-Aug-17
jk 12-Aug-17
mjh 12-Aug-17
heydeerman 12-Aug-17
Eric Krewson 13-Aug-17
JamesV 13-Aug-17
Stoner 13-Aug-17
Jim 13-Aug-17
Red Beastmaster 13-Aug-17
Mountain Man 13-Aug-17
DanaC 13-Aug-17
DanaC 13-Aug-17
OkieJ 13-Aug-17
r.grider 13-Aug-17
JamesV 13-Aug-17
Wild Bill 14-Aug-17
DanaC 14-Aug-17
Babbling Bob 14-Aug-17
Babbling Bob 14-Aug-17
TrapperKayak 14-Aug-17
Sipsey River 14-Aug-17
Babbling Bob 14-Aug-17
jk 14-Aug-17
jk 14-Aug-17
jk 14-Aug-17
DanaC 14-Aug-17
HillbillyKing 14-Aug-17
jk 14-Aug-17
jk 14-Aug-17
Bob Hildenbrand 14-Aug-17
Babbling Bob 14-Aug-17
lv2bohunt 14-Aug-17
3D Archery 14-Aug-17
Pappy 15-Aug-17
Hal9000 15-Aug-17
bowfrk 15-Aug-17
jk 15-Aug-17
jk 15-Aug-17
jk 15-Aug-17
3D Archery 15-Aug-17
jk 15-Aug-17
jk 15-Aug-17
Rik Davis 15-Aug-17
jk 15-Aug-17
jk 15-Aug-17
3D Archery 15-Aug-17
Z-MAN 15-Aug-17
DanaC 15-Aug-17
StikBow 15-Aug-17
jk 16-Aug-17
jk 16-Aug-17
jk 16-Aug-17
From: Fletch
Date: 11-Aug-17




Well, my local 3d club in Maine just voted this week to close up shop, and disband the club. It started in 1963. This will be the last month of the club (August 2017).

Reason? Lack of help to set up/break down for our "big" shoots" (3-4/year). Number of paid members is 35 (dwindling, used to be over 60 7 years ago). Most are compound shooters. I think I only saw 2-3 other trad shooters in the 4 years I have been a member.

We needed a new slate of officers. I volunteered to be president last year (we had a sense it was going to be an issue). No one else stepped forward. Only a handful of people helped set up/break down after shoots. Only 3-6 people showed up for our weeklyg 3d club league shoot.

Our membership dues? A massive $15/ individual. $20 for the whole family.

Do what you can at your club to sustain it. Seems like participation at other Maine 3d clubs is down too. I guess adults and kids would rather be on the internet reading about things, than actually doing things.

Looks like I'm shooting more in my backyard from now on.

Sad.

From: Bud B.
Date: 11-Aug-17




Sorry to hear that, Fletch. My trad club, Barefoot Traditional Archers in Burlington, NC, only has about 15 members. If we get 40 or more shooters at our 3D shoots we feel fortunate. We do, however, have a decent turnout on workdays. I have to be at the club at 0700 in the morning for getting ready for our shoot next weekend.

We only have three shoots a year. We barely make enough to keep targets somewhat presentable. We recently lost four targets to an unexpected flood from 4" of overnight rain. That hurt us a bunch.

From: Tal McNeill
Date: 11-Aug-17




Sorry to hear it. We're seeing the demise of clubs in our area too. Same thing, lack of help/support/volunteers.

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 11-Aug-17




Our area is no different. Cost is the main concern as the return from attendance doesn't even pay for used 3D targets, much less the ultra high cost of new ones. Two of those clubs merely said they can make ten times the money having shotgun shoots versus archery since the cost of supplies is so low versus take-in.

I remember a time before 3D when you could buy a year's worth of targets for field shooting for less than a hundred dollars. As for the "help" thing, that has always been an issue...even in the 60's. We had about ten members do all the work at the club, but then how much work does it take to pin up 28 targets each week. The real work was when we cleared shooting lanes and repaired targets, and we normally did that in late fall after hunting, or early spring.

By the way, $15.00 a year, and low attendance is a recipe for disaster in the first place when you only have thirty-couple members and trying to be a 3D club. Do the math.

From: Fletch
Date: 11-Aug-17




George,

Finances were actually very sound for our club (over $4000 in the bank). We leased the land ($39 acres for $1 year). Our biggest annual expense was liability insurance ($800+/year). So, We COULD have continued for a couple of more years.

The issue was that the same 4-5 people had to do all the work as you stated (clearing/keeping lanes open, set/remove stakes), repair targets, set up/remove them after a big shoot. Those guys willingly brought their atv to haul the carts around to pick-up and take back targets. We kept 15 targets up all the time. For big shoots, we put up 30-40 targets (removed the "daily targets" which were ok, but well-used), Those guys who did the grunt work were all near or over 70 years old. I was the youngest "worker bee" at 57 years old. The older worker bees just said "enough, we need someone else to help."

We also started to see more broadhead damage to targets. Beats them up fast.

So , no, the financial math worked out for us. We would have to imcrease dues in the coming years to address the dwindling attendance of the "big shoots" (our money makers). In the past, we'd get 60+ shooters (maybe 15-18 trad guys). This year, we started with 35 shooters total, then it declined to near 30.

We needed a slate of officers (pres, vp, treasurer, sec'y, and 3 directors, as per our by-laws). The current president had health issues and has held that post for 10-15 years. He couldn't go. I worked with him since last year to "learn the ropes), so I could take over. Trouble was no one else stepped forward.

It wasn't the money, crazy at it sounds. If we did increase dues, we probably would have lost some members, but you have to do what is needed. It was a strange ending to the club. Being an officer didn't take that much time. 4 meetings/year? c'mon folks, that should be easy to do. Our club didn't market itself internally very well. I made some suggestions, and got my head lopped off. I wonder if fractions were created with some to the gruff tone, that kept people from stepping up. That's my guess.

Money/finances, was low on the list for reasons.

We have to treat members like guests, but hold everyone responsible for making some sort of contribution. I

My advice to any member of a club of any sort, particulary shooting/archery club, is to LEND A HAND, and BE SUPPORTIVE. It does make difference. Can't be a passive user these days.

From: Ishi
Date: 11-Aug-17




I think that the trick is to partner with another organization. For example, Golden High Country Archers in Colorado is a public/private partnership. It is so popular that it has a waiting list for new members who are not residents of the City of Golden or active duty military personnel. Columbine Bowman is primarily a field archery course. George would feel right at home. This is also a public/private partnership. My local 3D club is very small - Mrs. Ishi and I (along with rabbit wrangler "Barkley") are often the only archers shooting. It is part of a gun club, so a private/private partnership.

Having made this observation - I agree with the OP - these clubs are a lot of work and require active volunteers.

From: M60gunner
Date: 11-Aug-17




When I started with the club in CA., 1979 our dues were $10 bucks a year. We had only paper targets. Maybe 25 members. Last time I looked dues for working member is $125 a year. We actually made a bunch of money on 3D's. What hurt us was having to move the range from a fairly close to Freeway access to up in the mountains. That was 10 years ago. We almost folded up due to lack of people. But a few of us said "No Way" and kept going. Now there is new blood, younger blood that has stepped up. I still get club news, last month they had 80 for a 3D fun shoot. The even got a great write up in the CA. Bowhunters newsletter. Clubs have their ups and downs and it seems no matter which club, (doesn't have to be archery) there are the few that hold it together for the rest.

From: Jon Stewart
Date: 11-Aug-17




It happens in a lot off sports and archery is no exception. We are life members of our club and almost never go out there. We have one of the nicest clubs around, 3 D range, broadhead range, 14 target field course and a PAA course. You can shoot 50 yards inside our clubhouse it is so big and if you get in the kitchen you can shoot 55 yards. There was a great divide at our club with the traditional archers and the trinket shooters. When we were active we had to threaten a law suit just to get a traditional only league on one of the nights during a week. THEN they voted in the crossbow. Wanted to increase member numbers I guess. I haven't been back out there since. I have my own property and put up a 25 target 3 D course and our family enjoy shooting that.

From: Lost arrow
Date: 11-Aug-17




Our 3-D is not a club but is sponsored by Johnston Chapel Church. No dues, no charge to shoot and free hot dogs. Pretty good deal. Our shoots are one a month April thru September. Last year our average was just above 70 per shoot. It had grown steadily from the first shoot of 15 shooters 9 years ago. This year we are down to about 50 avg. so far. Not many young shooters showing up to carry it on. The same guys have been setting up and tearing for 9 years. When we decide we can't do it any longer it will be finished. Nobody interested anymore. People are attached to the internet, TV, and recliners. A family outing is hopping in the SUV and going to a restaurant. SAD times.

From: Altek
Date: 11-Aug-17




Fletch, you didn't mention the club you're with in Maine (I've been to quite a few there) but lack of club membership help does seem to be commonplace. I think over the years bows, arrows and shooting styles have morphed towards formal target shooting and away from what traditional used to entail (basically fun and hunting), which I believe continues to cause a general decline in interest and particularly in volunteerism. The 'new traditional' is more of a fad with many newcomers and they never accept any club responsibility beyond showing up to shoot...and even that is giving way to comfy couches or other recreational pastimes. In a nutshell, we are boring ourselves out of archery, or at least doing our best to 'accessorize' it beyond the level that maintains any interest. A sign of the times, I guess.

From: jk
Date: 11-Aug-17




M60 X2

Active marketing..active outreach. That doesn't mean Internet...you've got to shake some hands ...and hang some posters, no matter how cheap.

Connect with more people including those with different interests.

Give up if you're not reaching out to JOAD, 4H, Scouts, women, and connecting with their events.

And of course, if you lack a club website it means you don't want to survive.

Hostility to wheelbows is suicidal: many/most have stickbows in closets).

From: aromakr Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 11-Aug-17




When I was President of the Lodi Bowman in California in the 1980's we had the same problem, members but few workers. What we did was raise our dues to $150/ year, but you could work off all but $25.00 by coming to work parties, club meetings, club shoots and joining NFAA. It worked quite well for that club. They now have over 150 members and own their range of 60+ acres in the foot hills in central Ca. They are one of probably two/three clubs in Ca. that own their property. They are now building a Club house, They have built a RV park for members. It takes work and dedication but can be done.

Bob

From: jk
Date: 11-Aug-17




btw, clubs around here have increased membership dues (ours is $65 for couple) ... shoots cost $20-50 depending if one day or two.

With many small businesses and other activities, RAISING prices brings higher class (sorry about that) members: folks who WANT what you offer and are happy to pay for it.

Do most folks in your area drive the cheapest cars or something safer? Nice SUVs? Are your pickups crapped out or are they nice 4WD?

People aren't driven by cheap, they want whatever tries to meet their needs and desires.

From: limbwalker
Date: 11-Aug-17




Sorry to hear that.

I've been involved with and run JOAD/AA clubs for 15 years now, and it's damn tough to find people who will volunteer any meaningful amount of time these days.

Lots of reasons. Most folks are too busy or don't want to deal with the abundant criticism that seems to be heaped on the "doers" these days. Much easier to sit back and criticize I guess, and that's sad.

This generation of young people are not "joiners" either. That started with my generation (gen X) as we were not joiners nearly as much as the baby boomers, and they were not as much as the WWII generation. Some of that is good - dads my age spend more time with their wife and kids than dad's my father's age. But that means they aren't hanging out at the club and helping with stands/bales/maintenance, etc.

Part of what hurts archery clubs is the same thing that causes indoor archery ranges to go belly-up. If it gets too expensive or inconvenient, the option to (as you say) shoot in your yard is always there.

Our JOAD clubs stay afloat because of highly certified coaches and officials who have valuable experience. And the students are there for more than just a casual recreational experience. Without both of those things, it too would probably go belly up. We operate on a thin margin as it is.

From: jk
Date: 11-Aug-17




Cursing the people you don't attract and describing them negatively is flat out goofy.

From: PEARL DRUMS
Date: 11-Aug-17




About a week ago I was talking to the vice president of a fairly local club. They were in a bad way themselves. He told me the best thing they did to revive the club was to involve local businesses. The businesses would give him a handful of, say, free ice cream cones vouchers for kids. So when they had a shoot or gathering he would hand a few out. It just grew more interest in the club and local businesses. In the end it worked great for both parties and they are thriving now. Of course there was more to it than just that, but it helped immensely.

From: JusPassin Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 11-Aug-17




Had the same thing happen to local club here. No one under 50 would lend a hand. Enough was enough and it closed down.

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 11-Aug-17




Hindsight is 20:20 every time. If a club is only invested in traditional archery nowadays, it's going to be an uphill climb. Of course if you live in an area like suburbia, there may be plenty of archers to help. Out here in a county of only 42,000 to start with, communities don't have that kind of support. The only surviving archery club around me (ten miles) caters to all kinds of archers and they are holding on.

From: throwback
Date: 11-Aug-17




I'm sorry to hear it Fletch. I've seen it a lot over the years, everybody wants to play but very few want to help out with the work and the ones that are willing to pitch in for the cause, get swamped. I agree too that is seems like a lot of people are more interested in sitting in front of a computer, or playing video games these days than getting outdoors and doing things. It seems a shame to me and It's kind of scary when you really think about it. If it keeps progressing we'll be a nation of people that don't know how to do anything unless it can be punched into a keyboard.

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 11-Aug-17




And I should add that it's not just an archery club, they have shotgun shoots to pay the bills and indoor handgun shoots.

From: stick33
Date: 11-Aug-17




It's really sad. My grandpa and his friends had a club/3D shoot back in the day for many years. That property has now sold and is filled with houses. I'm the only trad shooter among my bowhunting circle. Recruitment is pivotal. Deer numbers are way down in much of the midwest and access is diminishing. Troubling times are ahead, I'm afraid. Scary.

From: Lost arrow
Date: 11-Aug-17




I failed to add in my post that we allow compound as well as trad. Probably about 25% trad. I put flyers up each month in the area bow shops and some of the owners say that they have noticed a slight decline in compound sales.

From: OkieJ
Date: 11-Aug-17




Our club has the same thing happening, 4-5 workers out of 30 some members to set up and take down targets for the shoot. 3 of the 4 are the oldest guys in the club.

From: hawkeye in PA
Date: 11-Aug-17




Unfortunately a lot are not willing to sweat anymore unless its at the spa. Our club is the same way.

From: jk
Date: 11-Aug-17




Our 50 year old 200 member club, after dropping to 50 members, recovered with some great volunteers after raising membership fees, demanding no-smoking/no-drinking. Some people like to help other people. Don't forget that truth.

If you have not found people like that, admit that it's your personal fault, not "people today". If you're a church, reflect.

From: hawkeye in PA
Date: 11-Aug-17




Yea we have our three or four that will show up religiously to any work day so the others aren't doing it all. And usually a few others on occasion will come out. But rarely more than seven or eight out of over a hundred members. And yes we have email, Facebook, etc. Been a member for 49 years and the work force is low and old.

Remember when almost everyone mowed their own lawn? And their wasn't a spa/gym on every corner.

From: DanaC
Date: 11-Aug-17




Our club has a work requirement - 12 hours a year. We get a lot done, and we do *not* attract do-nothings. A lot of members far exceed the requirement, a few do less. Some are willing to pay the difference, and we take their money.

A nearby club actually has 'NO work requirement' on the front page of their web site. They don't have much going on...

As for 3D, regular local shoots are declining, have been for several years. (Both mixed and trad-only.) IBO shoots are doing well.

I suspect that a lot of people have done the math - one decent target for a hundred and fifty bucks, or a season of 3D's at ten bucks a week, plus gas and food. Not everyone is into the cameraderie or the competition.

From: Longbow58
Date: 12-Aug-17




Belong to one club 100 members usually the same 5-6 members doing the work.Our membership is up and down mainly because we lease the property and have no indoor range.But I can say when it's 3d time we do get 12-15 that show up so we are lucky there. I belong to another club with 3500 members in all and they struggle to get 5 to show. Sorry to hear about your club.

From: RymanCat
Date: 12-Aug-17




It certainly is sad times we live in these days. If we never grew up in glory days it probably wouldn't be that sad to us older guys maybe.

Fortunately I live in an area there are a number of clubs that thrive. Well maybe not thrive but survive anyways.

TG for the younger guys and the honey archers. If you don't have the work requirement rules in place then you need to have the fine policy where you pay not to work. Need young guys who have the get up and go in them.

From: strshotx
Date: 12-Aug-17




It was the same at my club as it is at others,out of a club of 90 to 125 members.There was the same 5-8 members do most of the work in setting up running the 3D shoots.We had a nice club,there was an archery shop,indoor range for the winter 300 shoots,outdoor bales from 10 to 50 yds and nice grounds and place for storage of targets for a 30 target 3D course.But sadly all goods things will end,the old gentleman that owned the archery shop and grounds where the club was passed away and the club had to find new grounds and storage for targets and ended not long after that.These days the cost of 3D targets is so expensive it would be hard to keep a club alive if you don't get good turn outs for shoots.

From: Eric Krewson
Date: 12-Aug-17




Been there done that, see it all, a few good workers and the rest that wouldn't do anything.

We had a nice indoor range owned by the city that we managed for them. We had to let John Q Public use the range, one learns just how sorry some of these people are after cleaning up poop and urine they would leave in the range rather than walk 100 yards to the public bathroom.

This was also the peak time for dipping and almost every bozo in the range had a dip and was spitting on the concrete floor or putting literally gallons of spit in the trash cans.

We banned tobacco use in the range but couldn't been there to monitor the situation except on a part time basis so the problem continued.

The city got a new recreation director who declared archery a violent sport and locked us out of the range. She then let her buddies steal the targets and equipment we stored in the range.

She was fired for incompetence in about a year, the city wanted us back but the club momentum was gone and we walked away.

From: throwback
Date: 12-Aug-17




Some of you mentioned the younger guys not wanting to help out. When I was younger, I helped a couple local farmers put in baled hay. The competition was fierce and if you didn't work your butt off you didn't come back. They tell me now, that they can't find any of the younger guys willing to do it at any price. I'm not knocking young people by any means and maybe they're just smarter than I was in how they choose to make a buck, but I do see a trend with things like this these days.

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 12-Aug-17




The old guard is moving along and the work ethic isn't even close to being the same...as a general rule. You do look at the general population now as they have other hobbies and really aren't interested in shooting sticks at targets. When 3D took over everything, many clubs dissolved and it's still happening. As for $4000.00 in the treasury, that wouldn't even likely buy targets if you had to supply the entire range. So I'm not buying that money isn't an issue....pun intended.

Even when we were going great guns...no pun intended, our archery club only had about a dozen workers that you could count on. But when you only have three dozen members, that's a third of the shooters...not really bad in the grand scheme of things.

Around here, there are not the archers/bowhunters we had years ago. It doesn't take a head count to figure that out either. Many of the oldsters have went to crossbows and really don't go to shoots anymore, and the clubs don't help that out by banning crossbows as if they are some evil demon. I don't see much improvement out here, and frankly shooting at foam animals can be boring if nothing changes in the setups....and I've heard that from many an archer back here.

So yes....look inward and see why the interest is going away. If you shoot the same course, the same targets and the same distances all the time, it will indeed become boring for most active minds. I think that it's time for clubs to start divesting in more novelty shoots and even set up 14 field targets where the 2D targets are affordable and people can learn to shoot with a backstop that doesn't lose or ruin arrows. You can't do the same old, same old for ever and expect it to stay fresh.

From: throwback
Date: 12-Aug-17




Eric, I just saw your post, that's crazy all the way around. It sounds like those people don't have any respect for anything and that recreation director doesn't know the first thing about archery. A violent sport? I'm sorry to hear it.

From: The Whittler
Date: 12-Aug-17




Fletch, I know just what your saying. Our club closed for the same reason. Another area which is only about an hour from me for 3d will be closing next year if the new archery owner can't find some place to hold 3d shoots.

He's thinking about having indoor 3d. In the winter it will be fun but summer I like to get out doors. I also live in Maine.

From: thorn
Date: 12-Aug-17




I hear what you were saying. The archery division of a club I belonged to died. The funny part was it was not for lack of shooters. We had two people ( another person and myself), running two separate indoor leagues in the winter. The problem was no help. After some time of running it ourselves, we asked for others to step up and run it. Nothing. It seems people wanted to shoot, but nobody was willing to do the work. You can wear out just a couple people with no help pretty quickly.

From: StikBow
Date: 12-Aug-17




It is a "user" society. My neighborhood park is getting overgrown to the point horseshoe pits and sand volleyball iare over grown. The walking paths are over hung. I started weeding every morning after my work out---not one person out of all the joggers, walkers or parents with kids offered to help=someone's else's job. Not a wonder that a volunteer activity,which involves actual work is failing. Setting up tournaments is work, easy for burn out to set in. Old guys do not bend or lift as much as they used to. Make a deal; you and two of your friends set up, but get half the fees. Might be worth your efforts I feel for you as a nearby range is a great benefit

From: Crow
Date: 12-Aug-17




Hate to hear that. Its hard to get helpers. I use to help out. Most clubs just have a select few that do all the work.

From: N. Y. Yankee
Date: 12-Aug-17




I belong to a small gun club that has been on the verge of closing for a couple years. No-one wants to chip in to help and therefor we dont have many events and no-one wants to join either.

From: jk
Date: 12-Aug-17




Don't mean to be an SOB (blame my favorite grandfather)...

...but I grew up selling ideas (machinery and services)...if people didn't buy it was never their fault. It was only mine.

First question gotta' be: how is the club failing to sell such a great resource?

Never blame the other guy (especially if you claim to be religious).

From: mjh Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 12-Aug-17




I belong to a active club in a metro area. Getting workers to work the hours needed has been an issue before and during the 20 years I've been in the club. Mandatory hours for membership, and a more expensive non working option, life time members (25 years of membership) do not need to put in hours. Many old guys older than me (and I'm not young) do a lot of heavy lifting. I put in many hours over the needed minimum over the years. Last couple of years I keep going in and out of working and non working membership. It's not, not wanting to help out. Dang I'm tired. Work, family, other commitments, and club politics have all taken their toll. I just can't do it any more, for the hours that are needed. I'll return at some point to help more, I do attend the monthly meetings that I can, and I go to a board meeting once in a while, but really I can't give anymore than that at this time. The club has been around 60 years. Yes getting new and young members is and will continue to be an ongoing issue.....we'll see if we last another 60??

From: heydeerman Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 12-Aug-17




Let's face it, we are a nation of busy people, eyeballs deep in debt, living in stressful days. Hobbys become less important in times like these. Plus folks are just genuinely lazy and don't want to do anything extra. Sure they will show up to hang out, camp, and shoot but they don't want to put out much more than that. Archery shops have been replaced by the big chains and the internet. If you have an archery shop in your area consider yourself lucky. Clubs are going down the same road. Fading out. The next generations won't know what they missed.

From: Eric Krewson
Date: 13-Aug-17




I ran the club I mentioned for 15 years. I worked between 500 and 900 hrs of overtime each year at the power plant and still made time to do the majority of the admin duties for the club, kept the range clean and orchestrated the logistics for the 3D tournaments we held on Saturday night on an adjacent ball field to the range. The bottom line; I loved and was consumed by archery, every aspect of it.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me; one day I doubled over evenings to midnights and asked a member who lived across the street from the trophy store to pick up the trophies for the Saturday night shoot. I had alway driven 20 miles to the store myself for the previous 15 years.

His response was "I don't think I will have time". Now folks, this "I don't think I will have time" response is the most common lie most folk tell when they don't want to do things.

I got out of bed, drove to the trophy store and only managed 3 hrs of sleep before I had to be back on evening shift.

I realized I had heard this response the majority of times I asked the members for help and decided I had heard it enough, packed up the books, handed them to another active member and walked away. the club folded in a year from lack of active administration and the loss of the indoor range.

People have plenty of time to do what they want to do and no time to do what they don't want to do so they lie about it.

From: JamesV
Date: 13-Aug-17




We had the perfect land for our club. 125 acres of pasture and woods adjacent to the city limits with $400,000 homes bordering on all four sides. The owners had started the club 35 years before I took over. We had 7 shoots a year with two 25 target ranges. Lots of work but the company I owned had employees that would come out and help set up the range as a personal favor to me (no charge) Every year the club would sponsor a free dinner at an up-scale resturant for all the workers and a guest to show our appreciation. Re-zoning brought the taxes to a point that the owners decided to sell (for a huge profit) and the club had to move. We had 70 members to make the move, right??? No one would offer to help. I put it to them like this, "either we all get together and move the club to the new location or sell everything and close down". I had ran this club for 7 years and was getting tired of the bickering and complaining that came mostly from the do-nothing members. This club had plenty of money to operate. $4,000 in cash, 55 3D targets in perfect condition ( most with replacement cores) and 15 well used targets, 2 porta-potties, 7 Morell Range practice targets, two huge awnings, tables chairs, cookers, and a 40Ft trailer. Everything was sold and all the money donated to St. Jude Children's hospital. But get this......Some of the members wanted the money distributed among the members, TOO LATE.

That's my story

James

From: Stoner
Date: 13-Aug-17




That's a shame, nothing like good fellowship. John

From: Jim Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 13-Aug-17




Doesn't surprise me at all. Our club has the same lack of participation when it comes setting up and work parties. It is a small dedicated group that continues to make it happen. The rest of the SLUGS show up to look good and shoot!

From: Red Beastmaster
Date: 13-Aug-17




The thriving sportsmanship clubs typically have a bar. :)

3-D shoots used to be a new thing. They were packed and new clubs popped up everywhere. It was a big deal and everyone went. Over saturation soon occurred.

Then targets became available in local stores at affordable prices without shipping costs. Everyone has 3-D's in their backyard now. I've got two, a bag, and a blob for broadheads. I even have a twelve target bag course in my woods.

The few times I do attend a local shoot is just to hang with a couple buds, certainly not shooting practice. I get that at home, as do most archers.

Poor turnout is not the fault of the club, the members, or the shooters. The 3-D novelty has faded. It's over. Don't beat yourself up over it.

From: Mountain Man
Date: 13-Aug-17




I think all the clubs are in bad spot

I own property now days and have my own ranges But i always belonged to local clubs and help when ever i could That said,,,,the times have changed,,,i havent worked a 9 to 5 5 day week in 25yrs,,let alone Monday thru Friday Not many people do anymore Im on call 24/7 and making a commitment is almost impossible let alone unfair to any organization Gun/archery clubs are not the only ones suffering,,,churches,VFW,Elks,Good Sam clubs etc etc Knowing when your coming and going in the world now days is hard for alot of working people I personaly think its more of life issue then a lazy generation thing

From: DanaC
Date: 13-Aug-17




" Poor turnout is not the fault of the club, the members, or the shooters. The 3-D novelty has faded. It's over. Don't beat yourself up over it. "

Go to an IBO shoot and you'll see otherwise. The problem is too many shooters want an easy course. The hard-core shooters are at serious "yeah, that wolverine is at 26 yards, deal with it" shoots.

The sport is settling out to 'up to the challenge' shooters and the and 'just for fun' shooters.

State IBO shoots around here draw 200 shooters, at $35 a pop. Hardly a dying sport, just not for "I can hit a deer at 15 yards, don't need any better" types.

Too many 'bowhunters-but-not-archers.'

From: DanaC
Date: 13-Aug-17




And of course, the flip side of that is, not every club has the resources - personnel or financial - to put on a 'big' shoot.

'Go big or go home' is definitely in action.

From: OkieJ
Date: 13-Aug-17




If you are having decent prizes people will show up. We have some here you can draw in with a free hamburger cook. They eat and leave before the work starts.

From: r.grider
Date: 13-Aug-17




Most every club is that way, 2 or 3 people do 90 percent of the work. It's just what it is. People are busier these days, than the old days. Hi

From: JamesV
Date: 13-Aug-17




I agree that people are busy these days but how do the slugs that never have time to help out always manage to find time to shoot or show up for the free dinners.

From: Wild Bill
Date: 14-Aug-17




Sad news indeed.

IMHO, Membership is becoming a part of the club, to benefit the club.

From: DanaC
Date: 14-Aug-17




Bill, how was the World shoot?

I see membership as a two-way street. You get out what you put in. But too many people expect to put in a little money and get a lot of fun out. And too many clubs come off as 'shooting ranges' rather than real clubs.

If the members are not asking 'how can I help?' then the club is in trouble.

From: Babbling Bob Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Aug-17




I agree with George that even in the early sixties, there were complaints about no help. Only a few would show up to change those heavy excelsor bales we used for field targets.

I've had several observations:

Young folks like my grown grandchildren, have more fun doing outside activities by themselves, such as hiking, which does not require repetitive practice, and do not socialize like their parents or grandparents. One of mine is a vegetarian and would not even shoot at an animal target.

The next generation, my daughters age, are actually the workers at the archery events I attend. They don't always connect with the folks my age or older since they have more answers than older folks and more technical questions. But again, those events (3-D or other type) would be lost for good help without their time and concerns. They should be encouraged.

Third thing is to get those folks out to events and to volunteer who are shooting Dad's recurves, or had a custom long bow made to enjoy that second deer season. A huge number of them out there. Four I used to work with had old recurves and long bows but would not set time aside to go to a 3-D. Same situation in the sixties too when Bear and Pearson sold bows to the masses but very few showed up at the ranges to shoot them.

From: Babbling Bob Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Aug-17




Another situation is our interest takes time and money. Many folks, like my grandchildren and old folks too, work on weekends and can't even afford a nice set of carbons or can volunteer on a weekend.

From: TrapperKayak
Date: 14-Aug-17




This is an unfortunate trend - apathy - that will someday result in the end of our hunting and shooting sports as we know them if allowed to continue.

From: Sipsey River
Date: 14-Aug-17




We need to ask, "If interest is fading in these events, why is it happening?" Is it because fewer people like to shoot? Is is because when clubs set up their courses the targets are often set up in the exact same position every event? Is it because shots are not interesting? Is it because no vendors attend? Is it because entry fees are too high? Is it because shots are too easy or too hard? Is it because the individual shots are boring? Is it because a lot of clubs set up the small critter targets as opposed to the larger deer and elk targets because of the high cost of the targets? I would guess that there are a lot of reasons that attendance might be down. We should also ask ourselves how many of us of those on this site, actually participate and help their local clubs. I am one who does not get involved anymore. I don't help because of my health, my age, and because of the distance to the nearest club, over 100 miles. But having said all of this, if the event is a good one, like Denton Hill, I drive about 1000 miles to attend. Denton does not seem to be having problems getting people there. If Denton ever fades, it will because us old guys won't be able to climb the mountain. Maybe we just need some fresh ideas on how to hold an event. But whatever the actual situation may be, for me, I love to shoot my bow and if the event is a good one, I will try attend. Love watching the arrow fly!

From: Babbling Bob Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Aug-17




Sipsy River here's some feedback:

Make shooting fun out back for the young ones.

Keep the targets fun and both easy and hard so that all shooters can participate. A good example is the TBOF Winter one day shoot in North Florida where they have a lot of easy targets to keep it family orientated. Most fun one day shoot I have attended. They also have several other multiday shoots that are more compeditive but they don't bog themselves down with more than a few shoots per year. That's smart. I think a few one day shoots a year are fine and less expensive.

Invite those we know who have a bow for that second season to come out and have fun.

We all know the compeditors need a few good targets which will be the ones all the folks will be talking about so a club can't be scared to have them. But many of those compeditors will also go compete in other archery events. Most everyone wants a social event, compeditors and families alike, so that is important.

Keeping an interest is much like those field archery clubs of the past where some of the members would go down to the nearby creek bed and set up an occational 2-D shoot several just a few times a year using the creek banks for the targets. Wow - were they fun.

Voluteering has to be part of it to get back on track to this post. Have to make that fun too. Maybe have a weiner roast day with chili and fix'ens. Go out and work together on one target at a time so it more fun than hard labor. Some will work hard, some watch in the shade, and the others will join in somewhere in between, but somehow it gets done or at least better than it was. Target set up the same - it needs to be social, not left to one or two who get tired of it too quick, especially if they lack praise by the others for it. Might have to tap a shoulder and recruit for this one. A good club can show some valuable guidence to the little folks if attitudes are left at the sign-in table, and fun is the motive. Little folks are proud of their dads when they volunteer.

But -- Folks have to have fun on work days and at events or they won't come back.

From: jk
Date: 14-Aug-17




Pay a young geek actual $$ to redesign and monthly-update club website and make necessary email announcements...like all other ventures in 21st century.

Maintain, actively grow and reconfirm contact database.

From: jk
Date: 14-Aug-17




From: jk
Date: 14-Aug-17




...of course, it's more fun to grumble about reality than to do something about it :-)

From: DanaC
Date: 14-Aug-17




jk, Facebook is free. Easy to update, easy to post pictures and even videos on it. Allows feedback. Others can share your posts to a widening audience.

Even if you do absolute zero on your own page, just having one allows you to follow a lot of good pages.

One of these is a group page for shoots in southern New England, the other is a club page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/414158128736962/

https://www.facebook.com/SwiftRiverSportsmansClub/

From: HillbillyKing Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Aug-17




Its still quite good in traditional clubs my area but i look at the age of most of us and the help issue will start being a factor in the future if we dont have an influx of younger archers come in I sure hope so !!!

From: jk
Date: 14-Aug-17




FACEBOOK is NFG for people who communicate much online. Facebook is fun for grandparents etc, but not for outreach. I have it and never look at it.

If somebody's looking for clubs or shoots in Kentucky they Google and won't bother with Facebook links unless they're already using Facebook...many folks avoid social network time-wasters...except of course, Leatherwall :-)

From: jk
Date: 14-Aug-17




I don't mean to knock Facebook, but it's FAR less effective for outreach, list building, and direct outreach than conventional websites (plus email). That's why businesses and nonprofits/churches pay for websites and conventional email.

Willing to pay a plumber? Why not pay a smart kid to grow your club?

From: Bob Hildenbrand
Date: 14-Aug-17




When I was asked to restart the archery program(defunct for 10 years) at a club I had just joined I told them that I would if we got bodies to help. Immediately we started recruiting from within the membership and brought in a few new members who I knew to be doers.

Fortunately we have developed a core group of 10-15 guys who can be depended on. With that we were able to get the club (all shooting sports) to give the archery group enough $$ to buy new targets. We had 9 guys to help set up our last 3D.

Right now the club is pretty content with the program as it is being run.

Fletch. I am sorry that you guys are dis-banding. Be ready to move on and realize that opportunities will pop up. Best of luck to you.

From: Babbling Bob Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Aug-17




JK is right on about email base. Our churches and various hobby interest groups have great success with them. Facebook is not for everyone. At my house it entertains my wife. It's not for me till someone in my family posts me being planted on the forty-four.

From: lv2bohunt
Date: 14-Aug-17




If your club isn't partnering with a youth shooting sports group in your area you are missing some of the best "club members " there is. There are groups of youth shooters in most every area and they are in need of a place to shoot and eager to pitch in. Try 4-H, Boy Scouts, churches, Archery in the Schools programs etc.

From: 3D Archery
Date: 14-Aug-17




Marketing is the key. But too many don't understand it. They think just having an event is all they have to do. here are some quicjk and dirty basic's you must do and know.

The first thing you need to know is that there are only three reasons someone does not go to your event.

1) They can't - Either due to money, time, work, etc. This group just cannot make it to your event. Not much you can do about them.

2) They didn't know of your event - The largest and most important group. It is this group you should focus your time and energy on.

3) They choose not to - This group knew of your event, they have an interest in it, but chose not to go. That should say something about your event. Hardest group to market to, but it can be done.

So, how do you get people to come? Here are the big three.

Website: The biggest thing is a good website. not one of these generic ones that so many clubs have. In a good website your events should be prominently listed, not buried on some calendar. The banner for your event should lead to a page for it, on that page should be a video for it and testimonials about it.

YouTube:It is free and runs 24/7. The main reason you have videos is so you can use them on your website and on FB. Videos you should have? Event Promo's, Testimonials and one for your club.

Facebook:Another one that is free and runs 24/7. Make a club page and then create events, make sure that it is linked to your website. Should have a video on it too. The trick is to have all club members share the event and to post to any and all archery groups.

The thing to do is to drive as many people as possible to your website.

You also have to remember that marketing is a numbers game. The more ways you can get the word out to as many prospects as possible, the better your chances of having a good turn out.

From: Pappy
Date: 15-Aug-17




Yep it is sad to see, TwinOaks is the only one left in our area and just a few years ago we had 5 or 6 within a 30 minute drive. Not anymore. We only have 21 members , but I will say a very hard working and dedicated 21 , well at least most of them. Pappy

From: Hal9000
Date: 15-Aug-17




A lot of it is the vibe of the club and those running it.

From: bowfrk
Date: 15-Aug-17




Here is the problem around here:the clubs that run 3D shoots are rod and gun clubs.Most of the people who run the clubs have done so for many years(we've always done it that way).These people have little or no interest in archery.They always leave a select few to deal with it but are always there to receive the receipts.The first 3d shoot I attended was in the mid 1990's.It was a hot ticket then 7 dollars to shoot 28 targets.An average of 125 shooters at each event.Now,they are lucky to break 40.$15 for 30 targets basically the same setup as 1995.The club does let members shoot for free if they come to setup at 5 A.M.(they can't leave the targets out due to vandals and theft.)I helped set up for many years until I got burned out.The straw that broke the camels back was when we were extremely short handed and were 10 minutes late for setting up the registration table.These guys who also shoot IBO started bitching up a storm because we were late.These are the same guys who make you wait with the kickstand,chair,umbrella,rangefinder etc. All these clubs catered to these shooters and made a league out of the circuit.It used to be family oriented not any more

From: jk
Date: 15-Aug-17




The website should ask questions/comments. That involves the viewer and WILL gather useful info as well as email contact info if designed properly. Naturally, any auto-response system requires an "opt out" clicker to be respectful of responders.

Facebook fakes real relationships. It's for folks seeking "fellowship" : teens/wives/elders/home-bound parents. Bad at calendars, bad at lists. It requires joining. Bad at direct communication (Vs email or SMS/text) "Free" doesn't mean good.

These were mentioned above:

facebook.com/SwiftRiverSportsmansClub/ ...very inactive, very little info. facebook.com/groups/414158128736962/ way better than 99% of facebook.

Compare to scbaarchery.org/ Our entire region is about 600,000 peeps, the majority very poor. Club members are better off than them: Tradesmen, small business owners, engineers, various professions, retirees. When we banned alcohol and tobacco about ten years ago the membership dropped from 200 to about 50, then grew back to 200 who pay much higher membership $$.

note "SCBA shoots" and "other shoots" as well as the year's calendar.

Click links to see Facebook and Twitter for shoot posters and people profiles. Excellent webmaster and event helper: Laura N.

From: jk
Date: 15-Aug-17




From: jk
Date: 15-Aug-17




...by the way, our SCBA website fails to ask questions (what's yer email address, what's yer phone # etc) but probably should. That's be a voluntary question and the data would get plugged into a contact database for mass mailing to interested/willing visitors...we'd use that database to mass mail announcements about shoots etc, all automatic. Again, volunteering that info would be optional.

From: 3D Archery
Date: 15-Aug-17




The purpose of a website is to get people to: A) Join B) Attend an event C) Make Contact with you

That is it

Facebook, when used properly can be a good tool. Why would you throw away another part of your marketing?

Your site is nice, better than any I have seen. What is your response rate?

From: jk
Date: 15-Aug-17




Facebook is OK for keeping track of relatives. Not as good as texting or twitter as a communication tool for adults.

No reason to use Facebook Vs average website plus real email. Many folks block all messages involving Facebook as spam.

Businesses, churches, and events tend to ignore Facebook unless they need to talk to grandma or have the luxury of their own webmaster who can use it (like my club's). Teens have mostly dropped Facebook in favor of fast/simple tools like twitter and texting. Navajo people use Facebook...it works well with their unreliable email access.

The fact that Facebook is free is should be irrelevant to a real archery club that wants to grow. If it can't pay a young geek or other enthusiast a very few bucks to make and maintain a real website that club is on the way out.

From: jk
Date: 15-Aug-17




"Your site is nice, better than any I have seen. What is your response rate?" I'll let Laura N know you like it. It's important to tell a club's team that they're appreciated.

"Response rate" counts transactions. It's not a useful measure for informational marketing. Our club doesn't sell many hats.

People find our website through Google. That's just about the only thing that matters.

The very best measure of our "marketing" success might be the ratio of new F350 trucks to lesser vehicles that deliver our folks up a heavily eroded road to our range.

From: Rik Davis
Date: 15-Aug-17




I didn't read all the threads, but if someone mentioned this, I apologize. But, has anyone considered the possibility that since our young people have grown up on IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION they do not want or need to shoot a lot of practice to kill their deer. The reason for this is most can go out two days before the season pull out their range finder and 280 fps bow and hit a 1.5 inch circle right away at 30 yards. In short, I am saying great equipment may be helping to kill the clubs. The rest of the problem is society's desire for immediate gratification, and hard work ain't it for the average young person now.

From: jk
Date: 15-Aug-17




I don't think bowhunting/archery needs "the average young person" and I don't look down on them, whoever they are. As well, only an old-timer still shoots a 280fps wheel bow. Too slow.

Meetup.com targets active people:

For example, meetup.com/hiking-204/events/242570703/? https=on&_af=event&_af_eid=242570703

Wherever you are, go to Meetup.com and see what's happening wherever you are in the US. You'll probably have to set up an Archery Meetup, which isn't difficult and costs almost nothing.

From: jk
Date: 15-Aug-17




Meetups go fishin' but I don't know if they shoot arrows anywhere in the US..yet.

meetup.com/ABQ-Fly-Fishing-Trout-Fanatics-AFTF/events/past/? scroll=true

From: 3D Archery
Date: 15-Aug-17




"No reason to use Facebook Vs average website plus real email."

I disagree, you are limiting your exposure. You use FB to create an Event and have all your members share it. That right there creates a good amount of exposure. The old marketing analogy I was taught is that marketing is like a table. The more legs, the better. or in other words, the more ways that you can get the word out, means a higher pool of prospects to draw from. Some like to call it "Shot Gun" marketing. But it is real and it works.

"The fact that Facebook is free is should be irrelevant to a real archery club that wants to grow"

Not true, most clubs are limited on money and a free platform is better than no platform.

"Response rate" counts transactions. It's not a useful measure for informational marketing. Our club doesn't sell many hats"

Not true. It can track how many people clicked on your event, which shows interest. It is a big deal if people visit your home page and do not go to any other pages, that tells you your site did not engage them.

"People find our website through Google. That's just about the only thing that matters"

Okay, so how did they know to look for you? The best form of marketing is word of mouth, not google or anything else.

"he very best measure of our "marketing" success might be the ratio of new F350 trucks to lesser vehicles that deliver our folks up a heavily eroded road to our range."

Well that is one way, But New members is a good one and so is renewals.

From: Z-MAN
Date: 15-Aug-17




We are living in a instant,disposable society. Many people today want instant satisfaction in less time. Easier to shoot in your backyard or air conditioned video range than spend a day at a sportsmens' club. The use of a crossbow makes it that much easier to do other activities for those who want to do it all.

From: DanaC
Date: 15-Aug-17




jk, our club facebook page is in addition to our website. That costs a bit of money and someone to learn how to use it. FB gives immediate access for people to ask questions and get a timely response. (Only the page admins see that part.) Plus it's easier to post 'fun' stuff on Facebook, animal videos, pix from shoots etc.

It's not an either-or. Some serious organizations maintain a Facebook page as a 'fun' social option that a website doesn't provide.

Setting up a great web page is great if you have the time and money and know-how to maintain it. A lot of smaller clubs do not.

There's more to it than just when-and-where.

IBO in the northeast has a cool page -

https://www.facebook.com/IBO-Northeast-545127478892269/

From: StikBow
Date: 15-Aug-17




There are Archery programs for youngsters-JOAD NASP,4-H. Reach out to them-let them shoot free for help with setup take down. I was going to ask our local club for cut rates -to get young people shooting. Perpetuate the sport. Do not overlook young people

From: jk
Date: 16-Aug-17




Start with a webpage and don't agonize about its design until you've had some time to see it in action.

To survive, clubs have some kind of money. If they don't they should ally with a more enthusiastic club. Look at a group of a dozen families who shoot some kind of bow: if there's not some kid or other enthusiast in that group who already knows a few website basics, they need to join another club. Pay money to grow and survive: same as any activity, including churches.

Thinking in terms of "hits" or other primitive metrics is a time waster. Dumbs things down. That pretends you don't know who you are after.

Consider what you want to say and get the word out in print and in person as well as by email to people you think might be appropriate.

It's NOT a "numbers game." That might be OK if you had zero idea of who you want to address, but that's not the case with archers, hunters, athletes generally...is it?

From: jk
Date: 16-Aug-17




Amazon.com ...heard of them? Went from zero to millions without ANY advertising...word of mouth.

From: jk
Date: 16-Aug-17




fwiw I'm going to one or two shoots near Gallup NM in two weeks...two-three hours from home. A friend in Gallup TEXTED scans of fliers that were distributed on the Navajo Nation. That friend doesn't even have email.

Navajo people text and use Facebook but don't make much use of email or websites. If you're Navajo on the rez you may not be reaching outside....maybe that's what you want. Is that how your imagined club sees things?





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