by: PHOTO BY: ELLEN SPITALERI - Chuck Pedracini shows David Calhoun the advantages of using a compound bow. “Hunger Games,” released last March, was the ninth highest grossing movie in the world for 2012, so it did not surprise Chuck Pedracini, owner of Broken Arrow Archery in Milwaukie, to see a rise in interest in archery.

His store has a large target-shooting range and a variety of archery and bow-hunting supplies and accessories.

The movie, based on the 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins, focuses on teens fighting for their lives, while hunting each other with bows and arrows, among other weapons. The poster for the movie featured actress Jennifer Lawrence posing with a drawn bow, a quiver of arrows on her back.

The interest appears to be nationwide. A July 24 Washington Post article reported that archery was gaining ground among young women because of the story. “Thanks to Suzanne Collins’ dystopian books and their ongoing movie spinoffs, interest in archery among preteen girls has spiked significantly, as area camps and archery schools are swamped with requests for lessons,” the Post reported.

So when girls 7 to 14 started showing up at Broken Arrow, “wanting bows and wanting to shoot, I thought that had to be because of the movie,” Pedracini said.

His eldest granddaughter was excited about the release of the movie and had read the book, so Pedracini figured “that may translate into a lot more interest in archery in general.”

Then along came the Summer Olympics and the movies “Avengers” and “Brave,” also featuring archery, and all that interest in the sport culminated in December, when his shop had “almost twice as much business as any December we’ve ever seen,” he said.

Older customers, who may not have shot a bow since they were involved in scouting activities, are also expressing interest in archery, he added.

Archery is a fairly inexpensive sport, Pedracini said, noting that customers can come into Broken Arrow and rent a bow for $5 and get a target for $1.25; there is also a $5 range charge.

“We set customers up with the basics and teach them the stance and rules of the range, and then we watch them shoot 10 to 20 shots. We give them a little bit of instruction to get them started,” he said.

When someone buys a bow, Pedracini or one of his employees will come out and teach the techniques and fundamentals.

“We stress those, especially for people who have never shot before. That is why we are so successful; we are going to take care of you and make you feel comfortable,” he said.

Although Broken Arrow does not have adult archery classes, the shop offers lessons to children through North Clackamas Parks and Recreation every Saturday.

“We had to add another term this winter, so we teach from 10 to 11 a.m., and from 11 a.m. to noon,” Pedracini said.

All the interest in archery has led to a shortage of the popular traditional style recurve bow, similar to that used by Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence’s character in the movie.

“I have almost none of those bows and I can’t get them from the manufacturer, because they are backed up from the national interest,” Pedracini said.

Broken Arrow does sell another popular bow, the compound bow, which comes with a sight and other accessories, and shoots faster and straighter, he added.

Archery takes a lot of practice, Pedracini said, and although there are outdoor archery ranges at Portland’s Washington Park and Blue Lake Park in Fairview, he wishes there were more and closer outdoor ranges for families to enjoy the sport.

Hunting season change

Pedracini has owned Broken Arrow Archery since 2004, when its original owner, who started the business in 1994, decided to sell it. It was located at that time near Round Table Pizza on McLoughlin Boulevard.

“I was a customer for three or four years, and when my son heard the owner wanted to sell the business, he said I should buy it,” Pedracini said.

At that time, On Target Archery was next door to the U.S. Post Office in downtown Milwaukie. Pedracini purchased that business and moved into Southeast Adams Street in June 2005, after quite a bit of remodeling.

His interest in archery stems from his switch to bow hunting from rifle hunting.

Because there have been more rifle hunters, seasons have been cut, and hunters have to draw for a permit to hunt in certain locations. Deer season for rifle hunters is only a week long, for example, while for bow hunting it is a month long. There are also fewer regulations for bow hunters and fewer people engaging in the sport, which Pedracini said takes more skill than rifle hunting.

As for the future of Broken Arrow Archery, he wants to keep growing, and noted that 95 percent of his customers already know about the business or have passed along their knowledge to friends and family members.

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