Our mission: Â To foster, perpetuate, and expand Bowhunting and Bowhunting ethics in Arizona.
Recently the board of the ABA was asked: What is it that the ABA actually does?
First and foremost, we work directly with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) in voicing our opinion on issues that relate to bowhunting and bowhunting opportunities. It is our goal to not only fight for the rights and privileges of bowhunters in Arizona, but to represent YOU, the Arizona Bowhunter and your concerns. We continuously have representatives at the commission meetings to go on public record with our concerns or support of AZGFD Commission rulings. We are a proud member organization of the Sportsman for Wildlife organization and have voting rights on issues that affect their organization and their efforts in dealing with legislative changes. The ABA has hosted booths introducing adults and children to archery at several events throughout the year. Some of those events are the Sportsman Expo, the AZGFD Outdoor Expo, Wapiti Weekend put on by the Arizona Elk Society, and the Freeman Farm Fall Festival, just to name a few. We donate funds to help build water catchments and improve wildlife habitat around the state, and annually donate several bows to different groups who also seek to introduce archery to our youth. We support local archery clubs and have donated funds or our time to building or rebuilding archery ranges around Arizona.
The two primary events the ABA hosts each year are the annual Awards Banquet and the yearly Bowhunter Happening. Our Awards Banquet is a family-fun fundraiser where we present awards to successful bowhunters in the state of Arizona and raffle tons of prizes of all variety. The Awards Banquet also has a live auction where we auction hunts, fishing trips, and even AZGFD Commissioners tags. Our annual Bowhunter Happening is one of the largest summer 3D target archery events each year. We host five 15-target courses plus a 15-target extreme course and the famous Paul Line’s Big Bear Kid’s Course all in the beautiful pines of Mormon Lake, Arizona. The extreme course contains an additional challenge as all targets are placed at a longer than typical distance. Paul Line has been hosting his Big Bear Kid’s Course for nearly 40 years and has always had a giant paper-mache bear with a balloon on his chest for kids to shoot. Since the very beginning, Paul has given a handmade Big Bear trophy to every child who has successfully popped the balloon on the bear. Nothing has made Paul happier over the years than to see adults who once shot his Big Bear as a child who now bring their children to shoot the same everlasting target. The Bowhunter Happening also has several novelty events such as the Long Shot where you can compete at a far target to win a raffle prize, Aerial Archery Trap Shoot where contestants compete for a raffle prize by shooting flying discs through the air, and a new Hover ball game where contestants can shoot a floating ball. Our goal each year of the Bowhunter Happening is to prioritize fun for the entire family by continually adding events which for mom, dad, son and daughter to enjoy regardless of archery experience.
In recent years the ABA has begun two additional events in the spring each year. The ABA has partnered with the AZGFD and its Archery Education Director Kelsey Gerchar to host a youth focused Archery Rabbit Hunt. Experienced mentors take youth archers out into the field and teach them skills to stalk and hunt cottontail rabbits. Some youth have experience hunting, while most have only learned archery through the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and wish to bridge the gap between archery and bowhunting. In 2018 we conducted our third annual youth Archery Rabbit Hunt and the second year the ABA has partnered with the AZGFD for this event. The ABA has also begun hosting its Aerial Archery Trap Shoot at the NASP state tournament where youth can take a break from competitive archery to shoot some flying discs and enter a raffle to win a new youth compound bow.
Additionally, in the year 2018, the ABA partnered with the Paseo Vista Archery Club in Chandler, Arizona and built 15 brand new targets for their range. Since then, ABA members have been working hand in hand with the Paseo Vista Archery Club to maintain these targets so that they last for years to come.
As you can see we work on numerous projects during any given year and this is done solely on a volunteer basis. The ABA board members are a dedicated group of individuals which have one common denominator and that is the love of bowhunting. The ABA is continually seeking dedicated volunteers so that we can expand our reach and contribution to our efforts in Arizona. If you are interested in becoming an ABA Committee or Board member please contact the ABA on the contact page, or feel free to contact the ABA via social media (Facebook or Instagram).