Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
Shopping Cart
cancel
Background Image URL //s3.amazonaws.com/ClubExpressClubFiles/30524/graphics/FFA18E3C-A089-477E-B811-103567834DCA_1174539825.jpeg

About our Club

 

Verdugo Hills Archers Club [VHA] is a Four Star NFAA Archery Range nestled between the hills of Sunland-Tujunga. Members are all toxophilites (lovers of the ancient art of archery). Deers frequently wander our range and no poaching is permitted. Our Club members use both traditional and compound bows. Crossbows are not permitted. Broadheads are forbidden except in one limited area we call the Broadhead Pit.

There are multiple courses, including a large practice target area with 10 targets and a 3D range with 28 Targets (field/hunter/3D animals), picnic and restroom facilities, and ample parking.

The range is open to our membership 7 days a week, but access requires a gate key.

It is also MANDATORY that members display their membership ID at all times!

We do not rent or loan equipment.  We do provide equipment for lessons, but currently instruction is not available.

Verdugo Hills Archers is non-profit Archery Club. No one gets paid for their time. Volunteers agree to help maintain the range and keep it safe in exchange for a future dues reductions.  


LESSONS/ARCHERY INSTRUCTION

At this time we are no longer offering 
beginning Archery classes to Boy/Girl Scouts, school groups, etc.  If you are interested in lessons/classes please visit the Lessons page for updates as to the status of their availability.  If the instruction status changes, typically lessons will occur on Saturday mornings by arrangement only.


LOCATION & DIRECTIONS

When traveling South on the 210 Freeway, exit at Sunland Blvd. and turn left (head towards Pasadena) passing Ralph’s Market on your left. Stay on that street as Sunland Blvd. merges into Foothill Blvd. (this merger occurs at the park on your left which is just past the Ralph’s Market mall.) Stay in the left lane and proceed to Oro Vista where you will see a Jack-in-the-Box and 7-11 both on the left side of Foothill Blvd. When you turn left on on Oro Vista the Jack-in-the-Box will be on your left corner and the 7-11 will be on the right corner.

Follow Oro Vista until it ends at the desert wash at which point you will turn right. When you turn right Oro Vista end and becomes Big Tujunga Canyon Road.

Follow the road up the mountain towards Mount Wilson. On your right you will Pass the Little League baseball fields. Immediately after you pass the entrance to the ballpark, prepare to turn right. Our entrance is marked by a large swinging bar blocking the road and our Club sign (check out the picture of the sign above) a short distance past the baseball fields.

You will need a key to pass thru the gate. We keep the gates locked to discourage people from stumbling onto a site where arrows may whiz by. After you pass thru the locked gate you will turn right and follow the dirt road which turns left just before the baseball fields. Pass thru the second gate (you will need a key) and the range is straight ahead behind a large berm. Follow the dirt road which turns right and then turns left. When you see Sasquatch greeting you, you have arrived and will find plenty of parking. 


We have provided here both an active map and a fixed map with red arrows (see below). Click on this link to access an active Google Map to our location:

 https://goo.gl/maps/LNEyViw2c63PPcnE7


ACCESS REQUIRES KEY


Access to the VHA Range requires a key when there is no scheduled shoot or other club activity. The gates remain shut and locked to dissuade non-members from parking, off-roading, hiking and wandering the range when arrows are whizzing by. When you become a member, you will receive a key that will unlock the two gates and the restrooms. If you’ve made arrangements for Archery Lessons the gate should be unlocked and open for your arrival.


Your entry key is for opening the locks to the range and to the restrooms. You are responsible for locking both gates  behind you when entering and exiting the range. Also, please lock the restrooms after use! Please do not give your key to anyone else or you may forfeit your membership privileges.

To join our Club click on this link whether you are new or have been a member for a long time: New Member Signup



Map to: 11966 Big Tujunga Canyon Road

A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT OUR CLUB

The Verdugo Hills Archers was founded in 1953 by Dick Garver Sr. and Ted Ekin.

In 1952 Ted Ekin saw Howard Hill putting on an exhibition for the Los Angeles Sportsman’s show. At the time, Ted was a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. Ted was so impressed by Howard Hill’s shooting, he immediately went out and bought a bow. According to his son Craig Ekin, Ted loved archery so much he quit the LAPD. He then dedicated himself fully to the archery shop he opened.

Ted and his wife, Betty Ekin, and Dick Garver, Ted’s brother-in-law, were co-owners of Shawnee Sports Center Archery Shop in Sunland, also started in 1953. I’m told it was located where Leon’s Chainsaw and Lawnmower Shop currently is, next to The Burrito Factory, across the street from Sunland Park.

Garver and Ekin discussed it with Hill and decided to go into business with Howard Hill, making Howard’s archery equipment and giving Howard Hill a check for everything they sold with the Howard Hill name on it. Howard Hill Productions was set up and officially began selling Hill’s equipment at Shawnee Archery Shop in Sunland in 1958. Ted made most of Hill’s arrows from 1955 until Hill left the state in 1965. After the passing of Ted in 1979, Craig stepped in to take over the Howard Hill Archery Company which is still in operation in Hamilton, Montana. https://howardhillarchery.com/.

Thirty Three archers attended that first VHA Club meeting, and thereafter held meetings twice a month to establish a Constitution and elect officers. After three months, the members decided on the Verdugo Hills Archers name. 

VHA then located property in the Big Tujunga Canyon for our roving range in the "wildwoods" located in the Angeles National Forrest. After 10 years, the Club was forced to move the range to Roger Jessup Park in San Fernando Valley for a couple years. The VHA relocated to our present range in Big Tujunga Canyon on June 30th, 1963.

The first club shoot was held at the present range on February 27th, 1966.

Every year Howard Hill was invited to be the guest speaker at the annual banquet of the Verdugo Hills Archers Club. Though he never joined the Club as a regular member, he spoke at so many of our banquets that VHA made him a lifetime honorary member.


This photo depicts Howard Hill (center), Ted Ekin (left) and Dick Carver (right)

HOWARD HILL 

One of our Club’s famous and frequent guests was Howard Hill (born 11/13/1899 – died 2/4/1975) considered The World’s Greatest Archer. Howard Hill is known, for example, as the stand-in who split the arrow in Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn.

Hill stood 6’2” and weighed 220. It was said: “Never has one man so completely dominated his sport as Howard Hill.” If you are a VHA member and toxophilite, you might just be inclined to learn about The World’s Greatest Archer who walked our range. 

You can learn more about "THE MAN AND THE LEGEND HOWARD HILL" by reading this book, copyright 1982, written by Craig Ekin, Ted’s son. Craig’s book, covering everything embraced by instinctive straight bow and traditional longbow archery enthusiasts, was dedicated to Craig’s father, Ted Ekin, and his wife. You can find that book here: https://howardhillarchery.com/.

The Ekin’s worked closely with Hill until his death in 1975. Craig was personally instructed by Hill on the Verdugo Hills Archery Range. Above you can find a few photos of Hill with the founders and on the VHA range. The pictures and a few facts shared below come from Ted’s book.

There are lots of Howard Hill stories. He killed more game with the bow and arrow than any other individual in history and was the first person to be named in the Hall of Fame because of his skill as an archer. Ted’s book claims Hill killed more than 4000 animals.

Besides Robin Hood, he did the shooting in Elizabeth of Essex, They Died With Their Boots On, Dodge City, Buffalo Bill, and Bandits of Sherwood Forest. In They Died With Their Boots On Howard Hill was on horse back chasing a man on horseback. They were in a dead run. Hill used an 80-pound bow and shot the man in the back, hitting a one-foot square piece of balsa wood and steel.

Hill built bows for Gary Cooper, Roy Rogers, Iron Eyes Cody, Errol Flynn, and even Shirley Temple, who he took out behind his shop on Chandler Boulevard in North Hollywood, and gave her some tips.

While boating on Errol Flynn’s yacht, Hill took the cork out of a barrel and threw the barrel overboard. He then threw the cork out next to the barrel. While they were bobbing up and down in the waves, Hill shot the cork with an arrow that had a line attached, pulled the arrow back and then shot the arrow again with the cork still attached, perfectly plugging the barrel. It was filmed and you might find it searching the internet.

It’s recorded in Ripley’s Believe It or Not that a man named Howard Hill shot a shark underwater with a bow and arrow.


On 1/26/28 he set a new flight record of 391 yards, 1 foot 11 inches, using a 172-pound bow at 24-inch draw.

He hit a 800-pound elk in the chest cavity at 185 yards.

He could shoot 12 arrows fast, his record being 12 arrows in 24.4 seconds, and all were in the gold or center of the target. He could also loose 8 arrows in the air before the first one hit the ground. “Time and time again I’ve seen him shoot an arrow into the air and as it was coming down, he’d take out another arrow, shoot, and hit that first one.” — Skeet. It was reported he once shot 12 dimes in the air before missing one. A sportswriter reported that Hill shot a dime in the air at 100 yards. This made Hill angry. “Heck, I couldn’t even see a dollar at that distance, much less a dime - and hit it!”

Some believe that Hill, a frequent VHA visitor, successfully, without killing anyone, pulled a William Tell and shot an apple off someone’s head possibly at one of the VHA's earlier Range sites. When Hill next tried to shoot a grape off this person’s head, the person fled the scene. You can find this video and other videos of Howard Hill by searching on the web. Try https://youtu.be/zo8UZneuggE. The guy he shot at was wearing a wig which, it is speculated, probably concealed a helmet that protected the head of the target. 

Howard himself stated: “I shot an apple off the head of Kenneth Wilhelm, a friend of mine, at 60 feet...I’ve never lost a field archery tournament and I’ve been in six national archery-gold tournaments and won all of them.” Hill won a phenomenal 196 consecutive field archery tournaments without losing one. In 1945 Hill would be paid a phenomenal amount, $2000 on up, for a 30-minute exhibition.

Howard Hill once shot an eagle at a distance of 150 yards. He apparently did it on the first shot. An impressive, if not impossible, shot with a traditional bow at a time when killing an eagle wasn’t regulated or considered abhorrent as it is today.

In 1950, long before game hunting was considered controversial, Howard supposedly trained for a year with really heavy longbows in preparation for an elephant hunt (something most bowhunters wouldn’t do today). It is said that his bow was a 115 pound draw. Because the elephant was rogue and had gone on a rampage killing natives, the Tanganyikan government gave Hill, who was there filming the movie Tembo, the rare privilege of hunting the bull. He used a 41-inch aluminum arrow with a broadhead welded onto it for a total weight of 1700 grains. The elephant was 60 yards away and the arrow penetrated the lung one-inch above the heart. The arrow penetrated 31 1/2 inches deep. The bull was 5-tons and his tusks 7 feet long weighing 110 pounds. There is a video of Howard’s elephant hunt on YouTube.

During his life Hill set a world record of pulling a 172 pound bow. That record was later broken by Gary Sentman who pulled a 176 pound bow. In 2018 Mark Stratton topped that by pulling 200 pounds according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Howard, however, was known to have put two 100-pound bows together and draw them a full 28 inches.

Howard once, in front of a large crowd, ricocheted an arrow off a boot jack which then passed through a swinging wedding band before it hit the bullseye.

Hill wrote two books edited by his wife: Hunting the Hard Way (1953) and Wild Adventure (1954). The movie about his hunting adventures in Africa is called Tembo. 

On February 17, 1955, Hill appeared as a contestant on You Bet Your Life, a popular American quiz series hosted on both radio and television by comedian Groucho MarxIn that televised broadcast, Hill describes the most challenging trick shot he ever performed and also briefly discusses his experiences hunting elephants with a bow and arrow. Watch that episode here: https://youtu.be/uNOCQM6wEzU He and his game partner then attempt to win the show's grand-prize of $1,500; but they lose, failing to answer correctly a question relating to the Battle of HastingsIronically, considering Hill's profession, archers played a pivotal role in that battle, which occurred in England in 1066. According to some historical accounts, the Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II, died in fighting after being "struck in the eye" by a Norman arrow.