By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – With a 30-yard archery range, a TechnoHunt interactive hunting simulator and other features, Mudcreek Archery is attracting plenty of attention.
“It’s unique in all of Mississippi and probably a half-dozen states around us,” said General Manager Mark Davidson, who’s also helped coach Saltillo High School to consecutive state championships in archery. “There’s the 3-D range, the pro shop, TechnoHunt, all under one roof. Nobody else has all that.”
The 14,000-square-foot facility quietly opened last week and has drawn a steady stream of hunters, archers and the curious.
There are other ranges in the area, but they are outdoors, and there are other bow shops. Mudcreek is the only facility to have everything in one place – and have a climate-controlled archery range.
That means no heat, cold or rain to worry about.
Mudcreek’s owners are Bryan Ellis, Tyler Robison and Casey Thornton, who were inspired by visits to other archery ranges, including one in Tennessee with a similar, but not exact, setup.
“North Mississippi is rich with hunting clubs, shooting clubs, golf courses. … we want this to be the archery club for this part of the state,” Ellis said.
While the pro shop isn’t fully stocked yet, Mudcreek does have some traditional and compound bows for sale. They’ll be getting some other lines in the next few weeks, and acknowledge other archery shops will have brands it won’t carry.
“But we welcome all bows here, whether you bought it somewhere else or you buy it here – it doesn’t matter,” Ellis said.
A snack bar will be added as well, selling chips and drinks. On weekends, it also will serve hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza slices.
A lounge area with a gas stone fireplace is surrounded by leather chairs, and three large hi-definition flat-screen TVs soon will be installed.
Lessons from certified instructors also are offered for the recreational shooter.
The archery range can accommodate 20 to 30 archers at one time, and they can shoot at dozens of targets including deer, bears, raccoons, hogs, hyenas and even an alligator. A five-arrow limit prevents anyone from having, say, 20 arrows.
Once everyone is through shooting, only then are they allowed to retrieve their arrows and begin shooting again.
Mudcreek’s business model relies on memberships. Adult annual memberships top out at $365. That may seen a bit pricey at first glance, but Davidson said it breaks down to a $1 a day.
He said bow hunters and archers typically have one target at home which has to be replaced every year or so. The targets cost about $400.
“For the price of one of those targets, you can get a membership here and shoot as many as you’d like for a whole year, with 24-hour access,” he said.
Single-day passes also are available.
The TechnoHunt is a different experience, with 700 scenes featuring a variety of animals and critters scrolling across a screen.
Users use their bows, but the arrows are fitted with a blunt tip. The simulator scores the “hit” depending on where the target is shot. Three or four people can play a 30-minute session and compare scores later.
“This is the latest version out there, and it can be updated,” Ellis said.
Davidson and Ellis said there’s plenty of room for competition, and Mudcreek wasn’t built to put anyone out of business.
“We feel like there’s enough demand out there for everybody,” he said. “We’ll have the hunters as well as the schools out here using it. Everybody is welcome.”
Said Davidson, “Our primary product is the range.”
LOCATION: 2277 Barnes Crossing Road, Tupelo
PHONE: (662) 350-3587
HOURS: Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
WEBSITE: www.mudcreekarchery.com (under construction)
FACEBOOK: Mudcreek Archery