It began with a passion for archery, the outdoors, and family...

Written by former employee:

Archery Tag® is the result of John Jackson's passion for archery, the outdoors, family, and sharing. In January 2009, John, company Founder/CEO, had an idea for an internet site for people with a love of nature and outdoor sports; and also for those with a commitment to sharing that heritage with children. DeerSpace LLC was formed February 11, 2009 and in August of that year, with the help of his son, the website idea came to fruition. DeerSpace.com was designed as a forum to share stories and swap tips; it was never intended as a money-making venture. With no advertising, it gained nearly 4,000 members worldwide.

The company logo consists of the letter D stylized to resemble the profile of a buck, followed by the remaining letters so that it read DeerSpace. The tagline Share Your Passion™ was added. This embodies DeerSpace.com but also is the perfect description of why John Jackson does what he does; his passion for archery and the outdoors, plus his big heart, are the driving forces of the company.

DeerSpace Logo 

The DeerSpace LLC and website logo. It was registered as the company trademark and later just stylized D represented the company.

Later, traditional archery items were designed and the Instinct Archery® line was created. The Instinct Archery® bow had a destinctive riser with a cutout of the DeerSpace logo. See the image below. This design, sans the cutout, would become the basis of the Archery Tag® and S.A.F.E. Archery®  bows. 

Instinct Archery Riser

In 2011, while visiting a vendor to discuss a bow quiver, he and the company engineer noticed a piece of foam resting on one of the work tables. Their immediate thought was that it would be a lot of fun to insert it on the end of an arrow and shoot each other with it. They went back to the office and had their first prototype. It is pictured below. The blunt looked like a Hershey's Kiss candy.

After some modifications, which included a carbon-fiber shaft, new nock, and blunt with foam that tip that attached, they applied for a "non-lethal arrow" patent. It was finally approved. Never satisified with standing still, John made additional improvements to the arrow and applied for a second patent. It was approved. John made minor changes to the Instinct Archery™ riser and that was used for the Archery Tag® bows.

Not long after DeerSpace.com and the Instinct Archery® line, he began thinking about hunter safety. John noticed that there were classes for adults and teens, but little for those younger. At this point he introduced a coloring and activity book, with the acronym of S.A.F.E. (Simple Appropriate Fun Education) and the characters of friends Hunter Ed and Buddy Buck

Hunter Education Coloring and Activity Book

Inside the book are pages about hunting equipment, shooting safety, animals, treestands, outdoor safety, and hunting ethics. There are pages to color, word searches, mazes, connect the dots, and a lot more.

The book taught valuable hunting lessons, such as asking permission to hunt on someone’s land and safety issues that could one day save a life. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources was on board until budget cuts prevented them from moving forward. Jackson continued with the printing of 5,000 copies of the Hunter Ed coloring books and a majority owere given away to conservation officers and not-for-profit groups.

The Buddy Buck and Hunter Ed's S.A.F.E. Program book lead to the Hunter Ed Adventures website and then the philanthropic effort of a series of brief animated public service announcements (PSAs). The first PSA was about responsibility and that hunters are stewards of the environment. They preserve and conserve so they can hunt again, and so their children can hunt and/or enjoy nature. After all, a good hunter always leaves the environment better than he or she found it.

In 2012, Jackson partnered with Jimmy Sites of Spiritual Outdoor Adventures and created the Kid's Korner animation videos for the Spiritual Outdoor Adventures TV show on the Pursuit channel.

Jimmy Sites animated and in real life posing with Hunter Ed and John Jackson

Jimmy Sites jumps into animation (above left) with the real version pictured (above right) to the right of Hunter Ed and John Jackson at the left.

All of this began with John Jackson's love of the outdoors and archery along with a commitment to future generations. John is all about leaving things better than what he found it and that goes beyond the environment. Through the philanthropic efforts of the company, John hopes to impact people around the world and change the way they view archery and maybe even improve lives, even just for a moment. Seeing the smile of a child with cancer shooting a bow in the hospital; hearing from a young girl who found strength through archery and no longer cuts herself; helping a child with ADHD to focus; and on and on. These are the things that keep John doing what he does.

This has ever been about money for John. It is not as though he is rich; he and his wife of over 20 years have six children, three of them elementary school age (though they have all been home schooled). Plus, he treats employees like family, helping them when they need it (teeth fixed, car repairs, medical expenses, and the list goes on and on). I am proud to have been an employee of John Jackson and now am proud to call him a friend. I am also proud of the company and products that he has created.

Rebecca Fifer, Former Executive Assistant