Archery education and bow hunter safety: Their aim is true

North Dakota’s Souris Valley Bowmen add ‘learning center’ to their clubhouse

Hunters are generally a hardy lot.

But even the outdoorsy types enjoy their creature comforts now and then.

“The Souris Valley Bowmen club has been around since the early 1950s, and we’ve had an indoor range since 2009, but the new addition to our clubhouse is definitely a luxury,” says Shylah Leonard, a board member with the Souris Valley Bowmen in Minot, ND.

“We wanted a classroom environment, so we could do some education on archery and hunter safety,” she adds, “but before last fall, we didn’t have indoor plumbing. We didn’t have a functioning kitchen, or a seating area. It’s more of a gathering place for families now.”

For the 130 families in the club, their home away from home in the Trestle Valley, a few miles west of Minot, became a lot more appealing last October with the opening of a 1,600-square-foot “learning center” and living area attached to the Souris Valley Bowmen clubhouse.

Thanks to a diligent, three-year-long fundraising effort by the club, and sponsorship from local businesses including Scheels All Sports and Enbridge, bow hunters and archery enthusiasts can now take a load off and cook a meal in comfort.

And with youth archery lessons already held weekly in the indoor archery range, club executives expect that future youth program meetings and bow hunting safety courses in the new “learning center” will attract new members.

Enbridge believes in fueling quality of life in the towns and cities where we operate. In keeping with that spirit of “community building,” we partner with grassroots organizations that champion safety, environmental and social issues. In Minot, we contributed to the Souris Valley Bowmen’s clubhouse campaign with a $7,000 grant last fall.

“Our members have put in countless hours during our competitive shoots and other fundraisers, and donating their time, equipment and materials to make this happen,” says Leonard. “The community sponsorships helped us tremendously, and Enbridge was a huge sponsor.”

In north-central North Dakota, bow hunters nock their arrows in search of deer, antelope and wild turkey.

“I’ve been a member of our club since I was a child. My dad’s been a member since the early 1980s,” says Leonard. “These were some of the first family functions that I remember, and as I grew up I started to enjoy bow hunting independently.

“It’s a multigenerational passion. We have lots of members who first started coming around when they were young, and now they’re bringing their kids. It’s really cool to see.”