Jake Ellis has been addicted to archery since the first time he put his hands on a bow and some arrows.
He lives for the sport and now he wants to share that passion with others through a new class for beginning shooters he’s planning to offer at his business, Ellis 3D Archery Range in Forbes.
“I’m addicted to the sport because it allows me to spend more time with good friends.
The whole sport gets me excited from setting up my bow every spring to shooting all summer (to sitting) in my tree stand every fall,” he said.
Ellis is advertising his Archery 101 Class as a basic archery knowledge and safety course, featuring proper bow and arrow set up, along with discussions on things like equipment and tree stand and harness safety.
The class - or classes if there is enough interest – are open to all ages.
“It’s beginning archers (that) I’m trying to target so whether they are in the fourth grade or 40 years-old,” he said. “I think it’s important to be taught the basics the right way to help (people) enjoy the sport and (for) the safety of the sport. I’m hoping these archers learn some of the basic safety and fundamentals of their bow and arrow.”
The cost of the class will be $50 per student but that fee also includes a season pass for Ellis’ 3D Archery Range, which is a $100 value.
He created the Ellis 3D Archery Range, which is located just three miles south of Highway 37 on Highway 7 across the road from Forbes Cemetery, in 2015 after seeing a need.
“I opened the range because we didn’t have any 3D ranges in the near area and I have a passion for archery,” he said. “The range has more than 25 life sized animal targets which helps hunters practice ethical shot placements for hunting season. I offer a sight in range for compound (bows) and I’m just getting a crossbow target this year. I also assist in shooting form and help with fixing and adjusting the shooter’s bows.”
The class will be a first for him, Ellis said, but it won’t be his first foray into helping new archers get familiar with their bows, as he has been working in the field for years.
“I got into archery back in 2012 when I started working for my uncle Doug Ellis at Virginia Surplus. I am an avid outdoorsman and shortly after shooting and working on bows I was addicted to archery,” Ellis said. “This class will be new for me, but I help new shooters all the time at Virginia Surplus when they buy or bring in their own bows to get worked on.”
There’s a definitely a market out there for what Ellis is offering – both the 3D range and the class. Archery – whether for hunting, competition or hobby – is big business in North America and experts see the market expanding quite a bit over the next few years.
According to a recent story in Business Insider, the archery equipment market in US and it is poised to grow by more than $500 million during 2020-2024, which equals about an 8% increase.
As far as hunting goes, according to the latest statistics available, Minnesota sold 92,000 resident and 2,000 nonresident archery deer licenses and hunters harvested 21,000 whitetails that way in 2017.
Ellis said he’s not sure on the exact date or dates of the class yet, as he’s waiting to get a list of students first, but he is tentatively thinking it will happen sometime around May 1, when the range usually opens (weather depending). He’s thinking a two-to-three hour session depending on numbers.
He’s also hoping it’s the start of a regular feature.
“I’m hoping to grow the sport so I (can) do this every year and help new archers,” he added.
While Ellis can offer a couple of bows for those who attend the class, he recommends participants bring their own equipment, which should include a bow, arrows, an arrow rest, a sight and a release at the minimum.
For more information, contact Ellis by phone or text at 218-750-7685 or seek him out on his Facebook page @ellis3DArchery.
Ice deteriorating quickly with recent warm weather
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges people to be extremely cautious on and around the ice, as recent warm weather has deteriorated ice conditions across the state. Some lakes already have large areas of open water and there have been reports of vehicles breaking through.
Ice thickness varies widely across the state. In some places south of the Twin Cities, DNR conservation officers already are warning people to stay off the ice. Ice conditions near shorelines and public access sites are particularly poor. All across Minnesota, ice conditions become highly variable when the weather is warm and the sun gains strength.
“Take extra safety precautions around the ice right now,” said Lisa Dugan, recreation safety outreach coordinator for the DNR Enforcement Division. “Just because a particular spot was safe yesterday – or even an hour ago – doesn’t mean it is now.”
Minnesota has had three ice-related fatalities so far during the 2020-2021 ice season. Nearly every year, late-season ice results in dangerous fall-throughs when people try to enjoy the ice as the weather warms.
The most effective way for people to stay safe on the ice or open water is to wear a life jacket. Anyone who ventures onto late-season ice should wear ice picks, use a chisel and check the ice thickness frequently.
They also should double the DNR’s ice thickness recommendations, which apply to new, clear ice. Ice thickness varies even on the same body of water, but particularly hazardous areas tend to be around bridges, channels, culverts and streams.
For more information about ice safety, visit www.mndnr.gov/icesafety.