Is Archery an Expensive Hobby?

Hobbies are a great way to relieve stress, make connections with others, and hone your skills at a certain activity. But before you decide which hobby to devote yourself to, it’s important to know how much of your hard-earned cash you’re going to have to sink into it.

As with most hobbies, the cost of archery will rise with your interest in it. The simplest archer can enjoy his hobby for as little as $200, while a dedicated archer who takes his hobby very seriously might spend upwards of $2,000.

If you’re considering getting into archery, you should take the time to discern the type and level of archery you’re interested in. This will give you a better idea of how much money you can expect to drop on this activity.

Types of Archery and Their Costs

Target Archery & Field Archery

Target archery and field archery are some of the most popular forms of archery and are therefore pretty accessible.

For this kind of archery, participants can use either a traditional bow like a longbow or recurve bow, or they can go with the more modern compound bow.

This choice will come down to preference, but if price is a factor, you’re likely to save more money if you opt for the traditional models.

The traditional models are vastly simpler than a compound bow, and that contributes greatly to the smaller price tag.

Of course, there are still high-end models made by reputable companies that can take quite a chunk out of your wallet, but their lack of modern accessories will always put them at a lower price point than an equivalent compound bow.

Arrows have a smaller price range, averaging from approximately $75 to $250 for a dozen.

Of course, both quality bows and arrows can be bought secondhand, which might lower these costs considerably.

Now for target and field archery, you’re going to either need to purchase one or more targets, or you could simply go to an archery range where targets are provided.

Note: if you’ve never tried your hand at archery, I would suggest finding a local archery range and testing it out before you buy anything.

Most ranges rent out bows and arrows at a low rate. Once you have your equipment, it won’t cost much to use a lane for a day or even commission an instructor to teach you the basics.

If you find that you enjoy the sport enough to purchase a bow and some arrows, you can expect to pay about $5 to $10 to use the range for a day.

For customers that come in multiple times a week, many ranges offer a membership promotion that will save you more money than if you were to pay the entrance fee every time you came in.

If you don’t want to leave your property to shoot or if you’re practicing field archery, you’ll need to buy a target.

The type of target you should purchase will depend on the speed of your arrow and the distance you’re shooting from.

The cheapest targets, which should generally only be used for children or bows with very low draw weight, will cost you around $20.

Middle-range targets are likely to cost you anywhere from $50-$150, while top-of-the-line targets with special arrow-stopping technology can run up to $900.

Morrell Supreme Range Field Point Bag Archery Target from Amazon is a good example of a typical, middle-of-the-range target.

3D Archery

Much like field archery, 3D archery involves the shooting of targets, often outdoors.

However, the targets in 3D archery are made specially to look like real animals that a bowhunter might be stalking in real life.

These animals most often include bears, deer, hogs, fowl, and smaller game like rabbits and foxes.

Because they go through the extra processes of being shaped and painted, these types of targets can often run more expensive than the orthodox targets used in field archery.

This elk-imitating 3D target made by Field Logic on Amazon, for example, is priced at $194.24 with the option to include a replacement core for $55.64.

Recurve bows or compound bows work well for this faction of archery, though its proximity to bowhunting makes compound bows the more popular selection.

Traditional Archery

This is perhaps the most affordable of the types of archery, as it consists of exclusively traditional bows.

Longbows and recurve bows also require less specialized arrows, and so the projectiles will be on the cheaper end of the spectrum as well as the device that launches them into the air.

Targets can be purchased for this, though the most traditionally-minded forgo the artificial targets and shoot at nature’s targets like trees and mounds of earth.


Bowhunting toes the line between hobby and sport, but regardless, those who spend their time doing it will undoubtedly find themselves spending more money than other archers.

Proponents of this form of archery are likely to splurge on the high-end compound bows to guarantee the killing shot, so the price is already inflated compared to other types of archery.

And if you’re going to spring for the best bow you can find, top-notch arrows are far behind.

On top of the essential equipment, there are a lot of accessories required to fool living animals into believing you’re not a threat.

The first and most obvious of these accessories is camouflage. If you’re looking for a head-to-toe camouflage outfit, you’ll at least be dropping $50 on a no-frills, basic setup like this one from Sportsman’s Guide.

But this won’t be enough to hide you from the senses of animals, who will likely smell you before they see you. To disguise yourself from their sharp noses, you will need some scent camouflage.

Whether you’re trying to hide or lure the game to you, you can expect to spend at least $10 on some kind of spray or roll-on liquid.

This is about the bare minimum of accessories that a bowhunter needs for a successful hunt.

Bow hunting is a difficult activity, and those devoted to it have come up with dozens of other contraptions to help speed the process along or ensure a killing shot.

Some of these accessories include but are not limited to:

  • Decoys
  • Game Calls
  • Treestands
  • Blinds
  • Quivers
  • Releases and Release Aids

If you’ve convinced yourself that you need any of these additional pieces of equipment, you may need to pick up another shift at your job to pay for it, or else have rich relatives.

Other Archery Equipment that can add to Price

Even if you’re just target shooting, there are other accessories that can add to the cost of the hobby.

If you’re traveling with your bow often, you are likely to need a case. These can be relatively inexpensive, but a very nice one can end up costing you a few hundred dollars.

We mentioned releases and release aids, which are devices that essentially provide a “trigger,” allowing your fingers to do less work while holding onto the string and letting it go.

Even these small, relatively simple apparatuses can cost you $100 or more.

Peep sights can be added to your bow’s string to help with the aiming process, but these will generally not add more than $15 or $20 to your budget.

Typically used only for compound bows, stabilizers are long, metal rods that can be added to your bow’s frame to help with balance and weight.

These can cost anywhere from $15 to $250.

The Difference Between “Hobby” and “Sport”

Of course, anyone who wants to test their skills against others will need to add competition entry fees to their list of expenses.

Depending on how often you compete with others and which competitions you enter, you may be adding thousands of dollars a year to the cost of this hobby, at which point it really becomes a sport.

The advantage of upgrading your hobby to a sport is that you have the chance to win back the money that you spent on your equipment and entry fees.

For example, competitors in the Archery World Cup have the opportunity to win up to $20,000.

If the hobby does turn into a sport for you, it’s a relatively affordable sport to get into.

For those interested in comparisons, it’s more expensive than, say, frisbee golf, but less expensive than a sport like motocross.

Essentially, the price tag of this particular hobby depends on you. If you’re not looking to drop an entire paycheck on a bow, eBay and Amazon are your friends.

If you want to end up in the Olympics one day, you can probably say goodbye to a chunk of your retirement fund.

It’s all up to you.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

Recent Posts

outdoortroop-21 outdoortroop-20