SUMMIT TWP — Take a hike, take a shot.
The combination is unique, entertaining and gaining in popularity.
Such is 3D archery on the Oneida Bowhunters' club grounds.
“It's really taken off over the past couple of years,” said Shawn Collins, head of the club's 3D archery committee. “The club itself is by private membership, but the 3D shoots are open to the public.”
And the public has responded.
Collins said Oneida's 3D shoots attracted 30 to 40 participants two years ago. Last year, those numbers increased to 70 to 80.
The first of the club's six scheduled 3D shoots this year was Feb. 23 — and attracted 124 shooters.
“That's the most we've ever had,” Collins said.
The age range for that shoot was 7 to 84.
The Oneida Bowhunters club — located on Rimp Road — has approximately 34 acres of land. The 3D archery course involves about a mile hike.
“It's a good family sport and a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors,” club president Ron Reismeyer said. “It's a different type of walk through the woods.”
Future 3D shoots are scheduled for May 17, June 14, Aug. 16 and Sept. 20. A shoot scheduled for April 5 was canceled.
The Oneida Bowhunters have roughly 100 members. The 3D shoots serve as their prime fund-raisers.
“These shoots enable us to keep the lights on,” Collins said, chuckling. “They mean a lot to us. When people participate in one, they usually come back.
“The popularity of 3D archery shoots is definitely rising.”
A 3D shoot costs $12, $6 for kids, with children 12-under admitted free. There are 30 targets and a shoot typically lasts for two hours.
“The targets are foam animals and are life-sized,” Collins said. “We have targets as small as raccoons and as large as elks.”
The range of shot varies by age and skill level. Youths can shoot from 20 yards away, adults from 30 to 35 yards, competitive shooters from 50 yards.
“It's a good sport,” Reismeyer said. “People participate for different reasons. Some come here just to enjoy the outdoors. Others come to hone their archery skills.
“We're hoping more young kids get involved in it to make the sport last.”
The Oneida Bowhunters club has been around since 1958. Through the years, club members have shot more than 2,300 white-tail deers.
An awards banquet is held at the end of each hunting season. Members who harvested their first-ever deer that year receive a plaque and trophy.
Club historian Ken Hoehn said the organization also has a summer archery league for members that runs each Thursday from May through the middle of August.
That event is for members only.
“It's straight target shooting with scores being kept,” Hoehn said. “The 3D shoots are different. Those are for the public to simply come out, walk the grounds and enjoy.”
The Oneida Bowhunters offer senior, junior and family memberships.