Practice archery target.

If you want to learn archery like Katniss did, there are places you can train and learn archery for free. Katniss’ father and the Gamemakers’ training center helped her develop archery skills that were sorely needed for survival in The Hunger Games, even before she became a tribute. District 12 was a primitive-looking setting in that book, complete with forestry along the Seam.

The reality is that many fans of The Hunger Games series, like you, do not live in the woods or near a forest. However, that doesn’t mean your next archery trainer and archery targets aren’t just around the corner. They could be closer than you think.

Boy Scouts. The Boys Scouts of America offers free archery training for their scouts. Some dens offer it on site or near a local school, while others have archery training at Boy Scout jamborees and camping trips. After all, it’s how they can earn the Archery merit badge!

Hunting Supply Stores. Some of the bigger hunting supply stores that sell hunting bows and crossbows will have a mini target range inside them for free archery lessons or free archery training. They usually use standard bull’s eye targets and animal silhouettes. Look for bigger chain stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and see if they have a range or know where the closest archery range is. At best, you’ll be able to talk to archery experts who can set up your bow and help you purchase target equipment.
After School Archery Program. Your local schools may be participants in the After School Archery Program, or ASAP. This program is sponsored by the National Field Archery Association. Adult instructors are trained through certified courses by USA Archery, NFAA, 4-H, or National Archery. Start up programs are funded by the Easton Archery Company. Targets are set up either in the school’s play field or inside the gym.

If you live nearby a hunting community, it’s likely there’s an expert bow hunter amongst them. Granted, they probably use more modern compound bows, but you can still learn the basics of archery for a nominal fee.  Ensure that if you’re going to pay a private instructor, he’s certified by the NFAA, USA Archery or the World Archery Organization. If he isn’t but provides some sort of credentials, don’t be afraid to check them out against one of these organizations. It’s your money, time and safety on the line.

SCA. The Society for Creative Anachronism is made up of members who are enthusiasts of all things renaissance and medieval. SCA members like to re-enact or recreate costumes, traditions and combat from those eras. This includes archery, which you can learn for free or cheap from one of their archery enthusiasts. You’ll likely train with all-wood or composite bows of years’ past, which means you’ll need to brush up on your archery fitness.