Outdoors photo

A group of archers work on improving their shooting skills during an open-practice session at the 5,000-square-foot Grass Hollow Archery Center in Orwigsburg.

ORWIGSBURG — Dreams can indeed come true, but in order for them to come to fruition usually takes dedication, planning and a lot of hard work.

This spring Frank McDonough began living his dream when he relocated his Grass Hollow Archery Training Center into the former Lynn Ladder Company, 1022 Chestnut Road, Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. This 5,000-square-foot facility replaces his previous facility in Orwigsburg that was located on the fourth floor of a warehouse and has allowed him to expand his business into a multipurpose training, competition, retail and practice facility.

McDonough has been planning such a facility for years, showing the same determination that made him such a competitive athlete when he played basketball for Blue Mountain High School. With the support of his wife and partner Sarah, their hard work has resulted in one of the area’s most unique archery facilities for everyone from hunters to recreational shooters and for those of all skill levels from novice to veteran archers.

As for the dedication part of the business, that has never changed for McDonough since Day 1. There is not a day that passes that he is not reminded of his late father Dick McDonough, who was one of the pioneers of bowhunting in the region, who at one time or another was involved in all facets of archery from retail to teaching certified bowhunting courses.

Later this month or in early November, McDonough is planning a major weekend tournament at GHATC that will be held in his dad’s memory. This non-profit event will benefit those in the Scholastic 3D Archery program who wish to compete on the collegiate level.

S3DA conducts competition-based target and 3D tournaments in conjunction with other major events across the nation. S3DA includes students from elementary school through high school and provides them with opportunities to win college scholarships.

McDonough was exposed to bowhunting as a youngster when he his dad took him into the field in the Grass Hollow area of West Brunswick Township near his childhood home in Deer Lake. By the time he was old enough to get a hunting license he had become proficient with a bow under the tutelage of his father.

“Back then I wasn’t able to actually hunt until I turned 12, and I shot my second deer when I was 13,” McDonough said. “Because of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program my son Evan will be hunting for his third deer this year at age 11.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my dad and all the time he put into my archery lessons and teaching me to be an ethical bowhunter. I can’t even imagine what he would think if he could see how far archery has come and where we are today.

“I’m sure he would be here all the time, even when we aren’t officially open. My fulltime job is being a manager for Barakat Trucking in Frackville, so right now we’re open five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday, and I’d say that 95 percent or our growth has been because of exposure on social media and the other five percent because of promotional events.”

Although GHATC focuses on shooting from group and private instruction, league competition and practice sessions, it features a full-service pro shop. It is the exclusive dealer for Elite Archery and Black Eagle Arrows, is a dealer for Cobra Releases, a brand ambassador for bowhunting.com and appears on the YouTube program Bowhuntordie.

“My goal was not to be just another archery shop, but it was a natural progression to become a full-service pro shop,” McDonough said. “We have memberships for everyone from novices to bowhunters and hold shoots designed for their ability, with bi-weekly shoots and indoor 3D shoots starting in November.

“We also have half-hour and hourly rates for those who just want to tune up and get in some practice time. Youth sports groups can rent space for practice on our off days, and the kids are amazed when they see the full-size elk and deer 3D targets.

“With sports and school activities kids have to find a way to budget their time, so for that reason we hold two practice session per week from Wednesday through Sunday. Most people bring their kids here to learn how to become proficient bowhunters or simply to gain more confidence in shooting a bow properly.”

When McDonough first picked up a bow as a toddler under the watchful eye of his dad he never dreamed that archery and bowhunting would become such an important part of his life. He is now a USA Archery Level 3 Scholastic 3D Archery advanced coach, Scholastic 3D Archery Regional Coordinator Keystone State Games archery director and Penn State Schuylkill University archery instructor.

Archery is truly a family affair for McDonough and his wife, who is a USA Level II archery instructor at Grass Hollow. They are proof that for those willing to make the commitment, dreams do come true.

Information about Grass Hollow Archery Center is available on its website at www.grasshollowarchery.com.

Doyle Dietz is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association)

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