For many centuries archery has been practised indoors, in a more or less limited fashion, but recently, for many reasons, there has been increasing interest in inside shooting. For teaching purposes, the indoor group is much simpler to handle, is independent of weather conditions and can learn the fundamentals of good form better than an out-of-door group. Because of the shorter distances much more shooting can be done in the same length of time. The absence of wind and other disturbing factors gives a better chance for self-analysis and improvement of technique. With properly portioned targets, scores inside are representative of those made outdoors.
The first consideration in indoor archery is the range. Twenty yards is ample and fifteen will do almost as well. The room can be a part of the gymnasium, or some wide hall or corridor that can be shut off completely while the shooting is in progress, or even an ordinary classroom. Many schools and colleges have found excellent ranges in store rooms and other little used spaces. The only requirements are a medium high ceiling, seven and a half feet or more, and a room thirty-five feet or more in length. I know of one university that is renting a vacant store for a small sum and has erected a range where shooting is going on several hours daily.
The second consideration is the backstop. Something must be done to prevent damage to the walls behind the targets and to prevent the breakage of too many arrows. There are three kinds of backstops in common use and each kind has certain definite advantages not possessed by the others.
FELT CURTAIN BACKSTOP
The felt curtain is the most convenient backstop where portability or frequent moving is necessary. It is usually hung from walls or ceiling by any convenient method.
The one supplied by the Western Felt Works of Chicago comes with or without a rope edge as shown in the illustration. The style without the rope can be nailed to a pole and rolled up when not in use. Like a theatre curtain, it can be mounted on bearings or it can be stood or laid aside. The rope edge style is slightly more expensive but can be hung almost anywhere in a few minutes. This felt curtain is three-eights of an inch thick, weighs about seventy-five pounds and costs thirty dollars; with the rope, the cost is two dollars and fifty cents extra. It will completely stop any arrow from ladies' bows and will stop most men's arrows, although men's arrows may occasionally penetrate part way through the felt. Ladies' arrows always rebound to the floor without any damage. This and the curtain described in the next paragraph should both be hung at least a foot from the back wall, touching the floor or even partly lying on it. A heavier curtain is made for men's use.