With hunting season in full swing throughout the state of Iowa, a new business in the Tama-Toledo area is looking to make this popular hobby a year-round option.
This fall, Toledo’s Rick Hopper opened Otter Creek Archery, a full-service archery, bow shop, and hunting retail store.
The new business is located in the old Gray’s Auction building on South County Road / Highway 63 in Toledo, just north of Ross Street.
Hopper closed the building in early July and since then has been working on renovating the interior.
Projects included the installation of spray foam insulation, new lighting and electrical system, and updates to the heating and cooling system by Hardon’s Inc. of Tama.
Hopper is originally from Toledo, graduating from South Tama County in 2012 before graduating from Iowa State University in 2017. He currently operates a farm with his family north of Toledo.
Hopper started hunting when he was 16 when a friend invited him over during deer season. He said that once he caught his first deer, he fell in love with the sport and became more interested in it over the years.
The inspiration for a store like Otter Creek Archery struck when Hopper was traveling through Missouri and came across a similar store that combined an archery range and outlet for archery and archery equipment. hunt.
The impetus to pull the trigger for the company in Toledo came when Steve Formanek of Belle Plaine announced he was going to retire from the archery business, leaving a gap to be filled in the local market.
The old auction house building was a good fit, as it is long enough to accommodate shooting lanes and wide enough for additional retail space.
The shooting lanes feature three targets that can be used by up to six people at a time. Hopper predicts Otter Creek archery will be a destination for archery leagues and tournaments over the coming year.
Archers can bring their own equipment to shoot and in the future, Hopper said rental items will be available to expand options for customers.
One of the unique features of the Hopper activity is the addition of the TechnoHunt hunting simulator. The simulator has a dedicated shooting track where archers can use their own bow and arrows to shoot at a large screen that projects video of various animals in the wild.
Shooters have the opportunity to choose from hundreds of scenarios in different environments with animals ranging from turkeys to alligators.
The system uses laser sensors surrounding the screen to detect where on the animal the arrow has landed. Regular arrowheads are exchanged for special blunt tips that allow the arrow to stick to the screen when fired.
The TechnoHunt simulator will cost $ 10 per person for 30-45 minute sessions. The game can accommodate up to four players at a time.
Otter Creek Archery will only be the fourth site in the state of Iowa to offer the TechnoHunt simulator, with the closest site being in Iowa City.
Hopper hopes the shooting ranges will help attract clients from out of the region who may be looking to keep their skills up to date during the off-season months.
Currently Otter Creek Archery is open for business as the final touches are made to the facility. This month, Hopper’s main focus has been on acquiring inventory for its retail space which will offer all types of archery equipment as well as general hunting supplies such as racks, blinds and accessories for deer and turkey hunting.
Behind the counter, the company will also offer repair and maintenance services for local hunters.
Hopper said that since opening the business in the middle of the harvest season, he has even delivered produce to customers in the fields who couldn’t make it to town during office hours.
He hopes to schedule a grand opening in the spring before the farmers return to the field and the business has had time to adjust to the local market.
Otter Creek Archery is located at 205 S. County Rd. In Toledo. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Company information can be found on the company’s Facebook page at Otter Creek Archery or by calling 641-484-4528.