Sports have colored culture on a global scale for generations. They have taken center stage with the modern Olympic Games since 1896. Archery, unlike football or even figure skating, does not make quite the strenuous physical demands of other sports. So why is it a sport at all?
The Sport of Archery
Although physical contact and defensive and offensive maneuvers are absent, bow hunting requires strength and stamina that may seem subtle to the casual observer. Good use of a bow and arrow is impossible without extensive training that includes weight lifting and cardiovascular workouts. Upper body strength needs to be able to handle 34 to 50 pounds or more resistance from a bow.
The art or skill of archery requires control and accuracy. The focus and determination needed to be a successful archer are reminiscent of top competitive sports. Bow hunting met the qualifications of competitiveness, popularity, and physical exertion, to become an Olympic sport in 1900.
What is Bow Hunting?
Bow hunting is simply the use of bow and arrows either to hunt game or more commonly now to participate in competitive sports. Shooting firearms have largely replaced bow hunting, but the bow's historical significance in hunting and war has allowed it to retain its place in modern civilization. There are several options for archers to perform their sport.
- Target – the competitor shoots at a target which can be recurve or compound. Distances and target diameters are based on the type of target and whether shooting indoors or outdoors. Competitions are between individuals or teams.
- Field – the course is set up for the archer to shoot a set number of arrows at varying targets over cross-country type terrain. Distances and targets vary and are not specified to the competitor.
- Clout – the archer shoots and aims to arrive closest to a clout, which is a flag sticking up from the ground. The distance is up to 542 feet (165 meters) and is a real test of precision.
- Flight – the goal of the competitor is to shoot as far as possible. Archers are separated based on the weight of their equipment.
- 3D – a competitor aims at various 3D animal images scattered throughout the fields as if on a hunt.
Bow Hunting Equipment
Equipment is a vital part of any successful venture into the world of competitive sports. Archers rise to the top of their abilities in training and competition based on a knowledge of the proper tools required.
- Bow – this comprises one of the major components, of course, of the sport of bow hunting. There are a few different types suitable to the various disciplines.
Recurve Bows can be used in the field, on targets, and in 3D events. They are the only types of bows permitted in the Olympics. Recurve bows require less strength to use because of their shape and are excellent for beginners.
Compound Bows are popular in the field and hunting. They also can be used for targets and in 3D specialties. Compound bows feature cables and pulleys that help hold a full draw.
Longbows have widespread use in all bowhunting disciplines. They are similar to recurve bows without the outward sloping tips.
Crossbows are frequently used in target disciplines. The bow is short and horizontally attached to a muzzle. The bow works by being drawn with a crank and the string hooked to a trigger mechanism.
- Arrows – these can be homemade or commercial, constructed from carbon or aluminum.
- Target – they will vary depending on discipline.
- Armguard – this is protective gear to prevent the string from hitting the archer in the supporting arm.
- Other accessories – other supplies that make bow hunting easier and thus help the archer's success are sights, stabilisers to absorb vibrations, leather finger tabs, quivers to hold arrows, and blocks to trap stray arrows.