CARROLLTON, Ohio — Turning a hobby into a cash-making venture sounds like everyone’s dream, but a young Carroll County man did it and went to college at the same time.
Clint Casper grew up on his family’s dairy farm, Hycrest Dairy near Carrollton, Ohio. When college started to approach, he started thinking about how he could pay for his expenses.
Casper said he been interested in hunting from the time he was in junior high school. And from the interest in hunting, came a love of bow hunting.
He had visited many 3-D archery ranges and wondered if this could be a way to make some money on the weekends and through the summer while he still worked on the farm.
The problem: Convincing his parents and grandparents it was a great idea.
Casper went to his father and grandfather and explained his idea for Hycrest 3-D Archery. He said at first they didn’t understand, but after his dad traveled to a range with him, the plans were swiftly put into place.
The course allows participants to drive into an open field near the beginning of a trail. The paths were already in existence along the property and needed only to be pruned so that shooters could travel the land on foot without too much aggravation.
Along the path are the 3-D target animals set up in real life poses and hunting scenarios so serious hunters can practice for the hunting season and recreational shooters can travel the trail and enjoy the shots created.
There are pink ribbons tied in trees so that shooters won’t travel off the path, or get lost. The path circles through the property and goes over hills and valleys as well as a farm field.
Each shooter is given a card to keep score, like in golf, and they can move through the path at their leisure; there are no time limits.
If a group is using the course and a single shooter comes along and can go at a quicker pace, the group simply moves over and lets the single shooter “play through.”
Casper said it is a hobby that anyone can participate in, and you can do it by yourself or in groups.
He added some archers get intimidated at first when shooting in front of groups, so he allows single shooters to participate on their own so they can hone their skills and develop confidence.
“It is a lot like golfing on a golf course,” Casper said.
The only time the course closes in the summer is during the first weekend of each month. That gives Casper time to change the course so returning archers find a new challenge.
“I tear the whole thing down and move the targets,” Casper said.
The course offers three different yardage stakes at each shot to accommodate a shooter’s skill level.
• 0-25 yards: Usually youth and traditional bow hunters;
• 0-35 yards: Majority of archers shoot from this point (point at which many try to simulate real hunting conditions in the woods);
• 0-50 yards: Archers looking for a challenge and to concentrate on building their skills.
Casper said the game originated from archers trying to develop the ability to judge how many yards an animal was in the woods during hunting season.
“Now, many archers find it the best way to get good practice in developing their skills,” Casper said.
He added the course includes field shots that vary depending on distance between shooter and target. Shots also vary in the grade of the land and potential obstacles between the shooter and the target.
In addition, the farmland is rolling, which gives shooters downhill and uphill shots through the course. The course also include deer stand shots at the beginning and end.
All weekends offer open shoots and no membership is required. Casper said some tournaments are scheduled at the site.
“This is a place where everyone is just out to have a good time. We try to make it challenging, but yet fun,” Casper said.
Over the course’s 100 acres, archers can expect to see dinosaurs, skunks, a moose, deer and even an alligator on the course.
Casper is set to graduate in 2011 with a criminal justice major, and hopes to enter the field of corrections.