- Associated Press - Saturday, August 13, 2016

SARTELL, Minn. (AP) - The first archery range in a Stearns County park is opening at Mississippi River County Park north of Sartell thanks to a 15-year-old Boy Scout and bow hunter who developed the plan for his Eagle Scout project.

Brian Amundson, the third of four brothers to pursue the Eagle Scout distinction, will enter ninth grade this fall at Sartell High School with project management experience under his belt.

He put in about 200 hours working on the range with his dad, Ben Amundson, an electrical contractor who’s also the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 211, the St. Cloud Times reported (https://on.sctimes.com/2bjFVTF ). They got help from about 55 others - including fellow Boy Scouts and members of the St. Stephen Sportsmen Club. The project got another boost from St. Cloud area businesses.

Ahead of the range’s official opening, Brian Amundson demonstrated his skills at a 20-yard target using a recurve bow with a 35-pound draw. For hunting, he’ll switch to a longbow. He’s been out to the 11-target outdoor range only a few times since crews finished work late last month. But his years of practice were apparent as arrows rarely landed far from the bullseye.

“My dad kind of got me started when I was a little kid. I always shot traditional bows, recurves and longbows. I just started getting serious about bowhunting three years ago, probably,” Amundson said. “There’s not many places around here to shoot your bow, except for St. Joe, which is kind of a trip out there.”

Behind him, a few other archers practiced on the range that boasts tall, sun-filtering trees as a backdrop. Targets range from 10 yards to 80 yards - that variety is part of the attraction, the elder Amundson said. Donated granite slabs mark the base of each of the 11 shooting stations, where there’s room to hang two bows and to keep arrows in a PVC holder mounted to the post.

When he’s not target shooting, Brian Amundson bow hunts whitetail deer and wild turkeys. “I haven’t gotten a deer with a bow quite yet,” Amundson said. With a gun, he’s had better luck grouse hunting and pheasant hunting.

Visitors to Amundson’s project will find a mowed range, a gravel parking lot, a wooden picnic table and posted rules. Smaller signs around the periphery warn people about the range.

“It just brings another user group to our parks,” said Ben Anderson, Stearns County Parks’ operations coordinator.

Anderson estimated the county spent $2,500 to build the parking lot, put up the signs and do a bit of landscaping - more than its typical contribution toward an Eagle Scout project.

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Information from: St. Cloud Times, https://www.sctimes.com

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