Archery
Overview

Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrow
Arrow
An arrow is a shafted projectile that is shot with a bow. It predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.An arrow usually consists of a shaft with an arrowhead attached to the front end, with fletchings and a nock at the other.- History:...

s with the use of a bow
Bow (weapon)
The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon system that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.-Description:A bow is a flexible arc that shoots aerodynamic projectiles by means of elastic energy. Essentially, the bow is a form of spring powered by a string or cord...

, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 and combat
Combat
Combat, or fighting, is a purposeful violent conflict meant to establish dominance over the opposition, or to terminate the opposition forever, or drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed....

; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity. One who practices archery is typically known as an "archer" or "bowman", and one who is fond of or an expert at archery can be referred to as a "toxophilite".
The bow seems to have been invented in the late Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 or early Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 periods.
Encyclopedia

Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrow
Arrow
An arrow is a shafted projectile that is shot with a bow. It predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.An arrow usually consists of a shaft with an arrowhead attached to the front end, with fletchings and a nock at the other.- History:...

s with the use of a bow
Bow (weapon)
The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon system that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.-Description:A bow is a flexible arc that shoots aerodynamic projectiles by means of elastic energy. Essentially, the bow is a form of spring powered by a string or cord...

, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 and combat
Combat
Combat, or fighting, is a purposeful violent conflict meant to establish dominance over the opposition, or to terminate the opposition forever, or drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed....

; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity. One who practices archery is typically known as an "archer" or "bowman", and one who is fond of or an expert at archery can be referred to as a "toxophilite".

History

The bow seems to have been invented in the late Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 or early Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 periods. The oldest indication for its use in Europe comes from the Stellmoor in the Ahrensburg valley north of Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, Germany and date from the late Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

, about 10,000–9000 BC. The arrows were made of pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 and consisted of a mainshaft and a 15–20 centimetre (6–8 inches) long fore shaft with a flint
Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

 point. There are no definite earlier bows; previous pointed shafts are known, but may have been launched by atlatl
Atlatl
An atlatl or spear-thrower is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing.It consists of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The atlatl is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup...

s rather than bows. The oldest bows
Holmegaard bow
The Holmegaard bows are a series of self bows found in the bogs of Northern Europe dating from the Mesolithic period. They are named after the Holmegaard area of Denmark in which the first and oldest specimens were found.-Description:...

 known so far come from the Holmegård
Holmegaard
Until January 1, 2007, Holmegaard was a municipality in Storstrøm County in the southern part of the island of Zealand in south Denmark. The municipality covered an area of 66 km², and had a total population of 7,442 . Its last mayor was Søren Dysted, a member of the Social Democrats ...

 swamp in Denmark. Bows eventually replaced the atlatl
Atlatl
An atlatl or spear-thrower is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing.It consists of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The atlatl is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup...

 as the predominant means for launching shafted projectiles, on every continent except Australia (woomera used), though the atlatl persisted alongside the bow in parts of the Americas, notably Mexico (from which its Nahuatl name comes) and amongst the Inuit.

Bows and arrows have been present in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian culture since its predynastic
Predynastic Egypt
The Prehistory of Egypt spans the period of earliest human settlement to the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt in ca. 3100 BC, starting with King Menes/Narmer....

 origins. In the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, artifacts which may be arrow-shaft straighteners are known from the Natufian culture
Natufian culture
The Natufian culture was a Mesolithic culture that existed from 12,500 to 9,500 BC in the Levant, a region in the Eastern Mediterranean. It was unusual in that it was sedentary, or semi-sedentary, before the introduction of agriculture...

, (c. 12,800–10,300 BP
Before Present
Before Present years is a time scale used in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use AD 1950 as the origin of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon...

 (before present)) onwards. The Khiamian
Khiamian
The Khiamian is a period of the Near-Eastern Neolithic, marking the transition between the Natufian and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A...

 and PPN A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A denotes the first stage in early Levantine Neolithic culture, dating around 9500 to 8500 BC. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent...

 shouldered Khiam-points may well be arrowheads.

Classical
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 civilizations, notably the Assyrians, Persians, Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

ns, Indians
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

, Koreans
History of Korea
The Korean Peninsula was inhabited from the Lower Paleolithic about 400,000-500,000 years ago. Archeological evidence indicates that the presence of modern humans in northeast Asia dates to 39,000 years ago. The earliest known Korean pottery dates to around 8000 BC, and the Neolithic period began...

, Chinese
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

, and Japanese
History of Japan
The history of Japan encompasses the history of the islands of Japan and the Japanese people, spanning the ancient history of the region to the modern history of Japan as a nation state. Following the last ice age, around 12,000 BC, the rich ecosystem of the Japanese Archipelago fostered human...

 and Turks
Turkish archery
- Origins :Traditional Turkish archery’s origins go back to the first millennium B.C. to Scythian, Hun and other early Asian archery tradition. The horseback archers of Central Asian steppes have used very similar archery tackle and fighting strategies throughout entire history and the nomadic life...

 fielded large numbers of archers in their armies. The Sanskrit term for archery, dhanurveda, came to refer to martial arts in general.

Archery was highly developed in Asia and in the Islamic world. In East Asia, ancient Korean civilizations, such as the Silla
Silla
Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the longest sustained dynasties in...

, Baekje
Baekje
Baekje or Paekche was a kingdom located in southwest Korea. It was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo and Silla....

, and Goguryeo
Goguryeo
Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

 were well known for their regiments of exceptionally skilled archers. Central Asian tribesmen (after the domestication of the horse
Domestication of the horse
There are a number of hypotheses on many of the key issues regarding the domestication of the horse. Although horses appeared in Paleolithic cave art as early as 30,000 BCE, these were truly wild horses and were probably hunted for meat. How and when horses became domesticated is disputed...

) and American Plains Indians
Plains Indians
The Plains Indians are the Indigenous peoples who live on the plains and rolling hills of the Great Plains of North America. Their colorful equestrian culture and resistance to White domination have made the Plains Indians an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.Plains...

 (after gaining access to horses) were extremely adept at archery on horseback, with especially Mongol
Mongol military tactics and organization
The Mongol military tactics and organization helped the Mongol Empire to conquer nearly all of continental Asia, the Middle East and parts of eastern Europe. In many ways, it can be regarded as the first "modern" military system....

 horsemen being renowned for fielding mounted archers in their armies. The lightly armoured, but highly mobile Mongol archers proved to be excellently suited to warfare in the Central Asian steppes, helping to conquer a large part of the known world at that time. In Europe, the English longbow
English longbow
The English longbow, also called the Welsh longbow, is a powerful type of medieval longbow about 6 ft long used by the English and Welsh for hunting and as a weapon in medieval warfare...

 proved its worth for the first time in Continental warfare at Crecy, France, in the year 1346.

Decline and survival of archery

The development of firearms
Gunpowder warfare
Early modern warfare is associated with the start of the widespread use of gunpowder and the development of suitable weapons to use the explosive, including artillery and handguns such as the arquebus and later the musket, and for this reason the era is also summarized as the age of gunpowder...

 rendered bows obsolete in warfare. Despite the high social status, ongoing utility, and widespread pleasure of archery in Korea, England, China, Japan, Turkey, Armenia, America
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, Egypt, India and elsewhere, almost every culture that gained access to even early firearms used them widely, to the relative neglect of archery. Early firearms were vastly inferior in rate-of-fire, and were very susceptible to wet weather. However, they had longer effective range and were tactically superior in the common situation of soldiers shooting at each other from behind obstructions. They also required significantly less training to use properly, in particular penetrating steel armour without any need to develop special musculature. Armies equipped with guns could thus provide superior firepower by sheer weight of numbers, and highly-trained archers became almost obsolete on the battlefield. However, archers are still effective and have seen action even in the 21st century
2007–2008 Kenyan crisis
The 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis refers to a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that erupted in Kenya after incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election held on December 27, 2007. Supporters of Kibaki's opponent, Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic...

. Traditional archery remains in use for sport, and for hunting in many areas.

Modern primitive archery

In the United States, competition archery and bowhunting for many years used English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

-style longbow
Longbow
A longbow is a type of bow that is tall ; this will allow its user a fairly long draw, at least to the jaw....

s. The revival of modern primitive archery may be traced to Ishi
Ishi
Ishi was the last member of the Yahi, the last surviving group of the Yana people of the U.S. state of California. Ishi is believed to have been the last Native American in Northern California to have lived most of his life completely outside the European American culture...

, who came out of hiding in California in 1911. Ishi was the last of the Yahi Indian tribe. His doctor, Saxton Pope, learned many of Ishi's archery skills, and passed them on. The Pope and Young Club, founded in 1961 and named in honor of Pope and his friend, Arthur Young, is one of North America's leading bowhunting and conservation organizations. Founded as a nonprofit scientific organization, the Club is patterned after the prestigious Boone and Crockett Club. The Club advocates and encourages responsible bowhunting by promoting quality, fair chase hunting, and sound conservation practices.

From the 1920s, professional engineers took an interest in archery, previously the exclusive field of traditional craft experts. They led the commercial development of new forms of bow including the modern recurve
Recurve bow
In archery, the shape of the bow is usually taken to be the view from the side. It is the product of the complex relationship of material stresses, designed by a bowyer...

 and compound bow
Compound bow
A compound bow is a modern bow that uses a levering system, usually of cables and pulleys, to bend the limbs.The limbs of a compound bow are much stiffer than those of a recurve bow or longbow. This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy-efficient than other bows, in conjunction with the...

. These modern forms are now dominant in modern Western archery; traditional bows are in a minority. In the 1980s, the skills of traditional archery were revived by American enthusiasts, and combined with the new scientific understanding. Much of this expertise is available in the Traditional Bowyer's Bibles (see Additional reading). Modern game archery owes much of its success to Fred Bear
Fred Bear
Fred Bear was an American bow hunter, bow manufacturer, author, and television host.He was born in the town of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Although he did not start bow hunting until he was 29 and did not master the skill for many years, he is widely regarded as a pioneer in the bow-hunting community...

, an American bow hunter and bow manufacturer.

Eighteenth century revival

At the end of the eighteenth century archery became popular amongst the English gentry thanks to a fashion for the gothic, curious and medieval. Encouraged by Royal patronage and, later, the popularity of the work of Sir Walter Scott, archery societies were set up across the country, each with its own strict entry criteria, outlandish costumes and extravagant balls. The clubs were "the drawing rooms of the great country houses placed outside" and thus came to play an important role in the social networks of local elites. As well as its emphasis on display and status, the sport was notable for its popularity with females. Young women could not only compete in the contests but retain and show off their "feminine forms" whilst doing so. Thus archery came to act as a forum for introductions, flirtation and romance.

Mythology

Deities and heroes in several mythologies are described as archers, including the Greek Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

 and Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, the Roman Diana
Diana (mythology)
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt and moon and birthing, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy...

 and Cupid
Cupid
In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is the son of the goddess Venus and the god Mars. His Greek counterpart is Eros...

, the Germanic Agilaz
Agilaz
Egil is a legendary hero of the Völundarkviða and the Thidreks saga. The name is from Proto-Germanic *Agilaz, and the same legend is reflected in Old English Ægil of the Franks Casket and Alamannic Aigil of the Pforzen buckle....

, continuing in legends like those of William Tell
William Tell
William Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland. His legend is recorded in a late 15th century Swiss chronicle....

, Palnetoke
Palnetoke
Palnatoke or Palnatoki, sometimes written Palna-Toki or Palna Toki , was a legendary Danish hero and chieftain of the island of Fyn. He raised Harald Bluetooth's son Sweyn Forkbeard and was a staunch supporter of the old pagan faith...

, or Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

. Armenian Hayk and Babylonian Marduk
Marduk
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi , started to...

, Indian Karna
Karna
Karna or Radheya is one of the central characters in the epic Mahābhārata, from ancient India. He was the King of Anga...

, Arjuna
Arjuna
Arjuna in Indian mythology is the greatest warrior on earth and is one of the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. Arjuna, whose name means 'bright', 'shining', 'white' or 'silver' Arjuna (Devanagari: अर्जुन, Thai: อรชุน, Orachun, Tamil: Arjunan, Indonesian and Javanese: Harjuna,...

, Rama
Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

, Abhimanyu
Abhimanyu
Abhimanyu is a tragic hero in the Hindu epic, the Mahābhārata. He is the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, who is the half-sister of Lord Krishna...

, and Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

, and Persian Arash
Arash (mythology)
Arash the Archer is a heroic archer-figure of Iranian oral tradition and folklore.The basic story of the bowman runs as follows: In a war between the Iranians and the non-Iranians over the "royal glory" , the General Afrasiab has surrounded the forces of the righteous Manuchehr, and the two sides...

 were all archers. Earlier Greek representations of Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 normally depict him as an archer. The Nymphai Hyperboreioi (Νύμφαι Ὑπερβόρειοι) were worshipped on the Greek island of Delos as attendants of Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

, presiding over aspects of archery; Hekaerge (Ἑκαέργη), represented distancing, Loxo (Λοξώ), trajectory, and Oupis (Οὖπις), aim. In East Asia, Yi the archer
Houyi
Houyi , also called Yiyi or simply Yi, was a mythological Chinese archer and the leader of Dongyi. He is sometimes portrayed as a god of archery descended from heaven to aid mankind, and sometimes as the chief of the Youqiong Tribe during the reign of King Tai Kang of Xia Dynasty...

 features in several early Chinese myths, and the historical character of Zhou Tong features in many fictional forms. Jumong, the first Taewang
Taewang
Taewang, meaning "The Greatest of all Kings", was the title used by the rulers of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, since the reign of Gwanggaeto the Great....

 of the Goguryeo
Goguryeo
Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

 kingdom of the Three Kingdoms of Korea
Three Kingdoms of Korea
The Three Kingdoms of Korea refer to the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium...

, is claimed by legend to have been a near-godlike archer. Archery features in the story of Oguz Khagan.
In West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

n Yoruba belief, Osoosi is one of several deities of the hunt who are identified with bow and arrow iconography and other insignia associated with archery.

Types of bows

While there is great variety in the construction details of bows (both historic and modern) all bows consist of a string attached to elastic limbs that store mechanical energy imparted by the user drawing the string. Bows may be broadly split into two categories: those drawn by pulling the string directly and those that use a mechanism to pull the string.

Directly drawn bows may be further divided based upon differences in the method of limb construction, notable examples being self bow
Self bow
A self bow is a bow made from a single piece of wood. Extra material such as horn nocks on the ends, or built-up handles, would normally be accepted as part of a self bow...

s, laminated bow
Laminated bow
A laminated bow is an archery bow in which different materials are laminated together to form the bow stave itself. Traditional composite bows are normally not included, although their construction with horn, wood, and sinew might bring them within the above definition. This term usually refers to...

s and composite bow
Composite bow
A composite bow is a bow made from horn, wood, and sinew laminated together. The horn is on the belly, facing the archer, and sinew on the back of a wooden core. Sinew and horn will store more energy than wood for the same length of bow...

s. Bows can also be classified by the bow shape
Shape
The shape of an object located in some space is a geometrical description of the part of that space occupied by the object, as determined by its external boundary – abstracting from location and orientation in space, size, and other properties such as colour, content, and material...

 of the limbs when unstrung; in contrast to simple straight bows, a recurve bow has tips that curve away from the archer when the bow is unstrung. The cross-section of the limb also varies; the classic longbow
Longbow
A longbow is a type of bow that is tall ; this will allow its user a fairly long draw, at least to the jaw....

 is a tall bow with narrow limbs that are D-shaped in cross section, and the flatbow
Flatbow
A flatbow is a bow with non-recurved, flat, relatively wide limbs that are approximately rectangular in cross-section. Because the limbs are relatively wide, flatbows will usually narrow and become deeper at the handle, with a rounded, non-bending, handle for easier grip...

 has flat wide limbs that are approximately rectangular in cross-section. The classic D-shape comes from the use of the wood of the yew tree. The sap-wood is best suited to the tension on the back of the bow, and the heart-wood to the compression on the belly. Hence, a limb sector of yew wood shows the narrow, light-coloured sap-wood on the 'straight' part of the D, and the red/orange heartwood forms the curved part of the D, to balance the mechanical tension/compression stress. Cable-backed bow
Cable-backed bow
A cable-backed bow is a bow reinforced with a cable on the back. The cable is made from either animal, vegetable or synthetic fibers and is tightened to increase the strength of the bow. A cable will relieve tension stress from the back of the bow by raising its neutral plane: the border between...

s use cords as the back of the bow; the draw weight of the bow can be adjusted by changing the tension of the cable. They were widespread among Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 who lacked easy access to good bow wood. One variety of cable-backed bow is the Penobscot bow or Wabenaki bow, invented by Frank Loring (Chief Big Thunder) about 1900. It consists of a small bow attached by cables on the back of a larger main bow.
A compound bow
Compound bow
A compound bow is a modern bow that uses a levering system, usually of cables and pulleys, to bend the limbs.The limbs of a compound bow are much stiffer than those of a recurve bow or longbow. This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy-efficient than other bows, in conjunction with the...

 is a bow designed to reduce the force required to hold the string at full draw, hence allowing the archer more time to aim with less muscular stress. Most compound designs use cams or elliptical wheels on the ends of the limbs to achieve this. A typical let-off is anywhere from 65%–80%. For example, a 60-pound bow with 80% let-off will only require 12 pounds of force to hold at full draw. Up to 99% let-off is possible. The compound bow has become the most widely used type of bow for all forms of hunting in North America. The compound bow has become a highly popular form of archery, so much so that it is the most commonly used bow form in the USA. The compound bow was invented by Holless Wilbur Allen
Holless Wilbur Allen
Holless Wilbur Allen, Jr. was the inventor of the compound bow.Inventor. H. W. Allen, Jr. revolutionized the archery industry worldwide with the invention and patent of the compound bow in the 1960's....

 in Missouri, and a US patent was filed in 1966 and granted in 1969.

Mechanically drawn bows typically have a stock or other mounting, such as the crossbow
Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

. They are not limited by the strength of a single archer and larger varieties have been used as siege engine
Siege engine
A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

s.

Types of arrows and fletchings

The most common form of arrow consists of a shaft with an arrowhead
Arrowhead
An arrowhead is a tip, usually sharpened, added to an arrow to make it more deadly or to fulfill some special purpose. Historically arrowheads were made of stone and of organic materials; as human civilization progressed other materials were used...

 attached to the front end and with fletching
Fletching
Fletching is the aerodynamic stabilization of arrows or darts with materials such as feathers, each piece of which is referred to as a fletch. The word is related to the French word flèche, meaning "arrow," via Old French; the ultimate root is Frankish fliukka...

s and a nock attached to the other end. Arrows across time and history are normally carried in a container known as a quiver
Quiver
A quiver is a container for arrows. Quivers have been traditionally made of leather, bark, wood, furs and other natural materials; modern quivers are often made of metal and plastic....

. Shafts of arrows are typically composed of solid wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, fiberglass
Glass-reinforced plastic
Fiberglass , is a fiber reinforced polymer made of a plastic matrix reinforced by fine fibers of glass. It is also known as GFK ....

, aluminium alloy
Aluminium alloy
Aluminium alloys are alloys in which aluminium is the predominant metal. The typical alloying elements are copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon and zinc. There are two principal classifications, namely casting alloys and wrought alloys, both of which are further subdivided into the categories...

, carbon fiber
Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber...

, or composite material
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

s. Wooden arrows are prone to warping. Fiberglass arrows are brittle, but can be produced to uniform specifications easily. Aluminium shafts were a very popular high-performance choice in the latter half of the 20th century due to their straightness, lighter weight, and subsequently higher speed and flatter trajectories. Carbon fiber arrows became popular in the 1990s and are very light, flying even faster and flatter than aluminium arrows. Today, arrows made up of composite materials are the most popular tournament arrows at Olympic Events, especially the Easton
Easton (company)
Easton-Bell Sports makes sports equipment and clothing under the brands Bell Sports, Blackburn, Easton, Giro, and Riddell. Its parent company is Fenway Partners.-Easton:...

 X10 and A/C/E.

The arrowhead is the primary functional component of the arrow. Some arrows may simply use a sharpened tip of the solid shaft, but it is far more common for separate arrowheads to be made, usually from metal, stone, or other hard materials. The most commonly used forms are target points, field points, and broadheads, although there are also other types, such as bodkin, judo, and blunt heads.

Fletching
Fletching
Fletching is the aerodynamic stabilization of arrows or darts with materials such as feathers, each piece of which is referred to as a fletch. The word is related to the French word flèche, meaning "arrow," via Old French; the ultimate root is Frankish fliukka...

 is traditionally made from bird feather
Feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

s. Also solid plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 vanes and thin sheetlike spin vanes are used. They are attached near the nock (rear) end of the arrow with thin double sided tape, glue, or, traditionally, sinew. Three fletches is the most common configuration in all cultures, though as many as six have been used. Two will result in unstable arrow flight. When three-fletched the fletches are equally spaced around the shaft with one placed such that it is perpendicular to the bow when nocked on the string (though with modern equipment, variations are seen especially when using the modern spin vanes). This fletch is called the "index fletch" or "cock feather" (also known as "the odd vane out" or "the nocking vane") and the others are sometimes called the "hen feathers". Commonly, the cock feather is of a different color. Traditionally, the hens are solid and the cock is barred. However, if archers are using fletching made of feather or similar material, they may use same color vanes, as different dyes can give varying stiffness to vanes, resulting in less precision. When four-fletched, often two opposing fletches are cock feathers and occasionally the fletches are not evenly spaced.

The fletching may be either parabolic (short feathers in a smooth parabolic curve) or shield (generally shaped like half of a narrow shield) cut and is often attached at an angle, known as helical fletching, to introduce a stabilizing spin to the arrow while in flight. Whether helicial or straight fletched, when natural fletching (bird feathers) are used it is critical that all feathers come from the same side of the bird. Oversized fletchings can be used to accentuate drag and thus limit the range of the arrow significantly; these arrows are called flu-flus
Flu-Flu Arrow
A flu-flu arrow is a type of arrow specifically designed to travel a short distance. Such arrows are particularly useful when shooting at aerial targets or for certain types of recreational archery where the arrow must not travel too far...

. Misplacement of fletchings can often change the arrow's flight path dramatically.

Bow string

Dacron and other modern materials offer high strength for their weight and are used on most modern bows. Linen
Linen
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather....

 and other traditional materials are still used on traditional bows. Almost any fiber can be made into a bow string. The author of "Arab Archery" suggests the hide of a young, emaciated camel. Njál's saga
Njál's saga
Njáls saga is one of the sagas of Icelanders. The most prominent characters are the friends Njáll Þorgeirsson, a lawyer and a sage, and Gunnarr Hámundarson, a formidable warrior...

 describes the refusal of a wife, Hallgerður, to cut her hair in order to make an emergency bowstring for her husband, Gunnar Hámundarson
Gunnar Hámundarson
Gunnar Hámundarson was a 10th century Icelandic chieftain. He lived in Hlíðarendi in Fljótshlíð and is probably better known as Gunnar of Hlíðarendi...

, who is then killed.

Protective equipment

Most archers wear a bracer (also known as an arm-guard) to protect the inside of the bow arm from being hit by the string and prevent clothing from catching the bow string. The bracer does not brace the arm; the word comes from the armoury term "brassard", meaning an armoured sleeve or badge. The Navajo people
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

 have developed highly-ornamented bracers as non-functional items of adornment. Some archers (mostly women) also wear protection on their chests, called chestguards or plastrons. The Amazon myth is that they had one breast removed to solve this problem. Roger Ascham
Roger Ascham
Roger Ascham was an English scholar and didactic writer, famous for his prose style, his promotion of the vernacular, and his theories of education...

 mentions one archer, presumably with an unusual shooting style, who wore a leather guard for his face.

The drawing digits are normally protected by a leather tab
Finger tab
A finger tab or Archer Tab used in archery is a small leather or synthetic patch that protects an archer's fingers from the bowstring. It is strapped or otherwise attached to an archer's hand. In summertime, tabs are far more comfortable than gloves and can more conveniently use thicker material...

, glove, or thumb ring
Thumb ring
A thumb ring is a piece of equipment designed to protect the thumb during archery. This is a ring of leather, stone, horn, wood, ivory, metal, ceramics, plastic, or glass or which fits over the end of the thumb, coming to rest at the outer edge of the outer joint...

. A simple tab of leather is commonly used, as is a skeleton glove. Medieval Europeans probably used a complete leather glove.

Eurasiatic archers who used the thumb or Mongolian draw protected their thumbs, usually with leather according to the author of Arab Archery, but also with special rings
Thumb ring
A thumb ring is a piece of equipment designed to protect the thumb during archery. This is a ring of leather, stone, horn, wood, ivory, metal, ceramics, plastic, or glass or which fits over the end of the thumb, coming to rest at the outer edge of the outer joint...

 of various hard materials. Many surviving Turkish and Chinese examples are works of considerable art. Some are so highly ornamented that the users could not have used them to loose an arrow. Possibly these were items of personal adornment, and hence value, remaining extant whilst leather had virtually no intrinsic value and would also deteriorate with time. In traditional Japanese archery
Kyudo
, literally meaning "way of the bow", is the Japanese art of archery. It is a modern Japanese martial art and practitioners are known as .It is estimated that there are approximately half a million practitioners of kyudo today....

 a special glove is used, provided with a ridge which is used to draw the string.

Release aids

Archers using compound bows most commonly use a release aid to hold the string and release it precisely, although finger tabs are also popular with compound bows, especially among older archers who have used finger tabs when shooting recurve bows. The release aid attaches to the bowstring just below the nocking point or at the D loop and permits the archer to release the string by the use of some form of trigger. When such a device was first invented (patent filed in USA, 1879) it was known as a "clutch". The trigger may be an actual trigger lever which is depressed by a finger or thumb (positive), or held then released (negative) but there are numerous types. Hydraulic and mechanical time delay triggers have been used, as have "back tension" triggers which are operated by either a change in the position of the release or "true back tension"; that is to say the release triggers when a pre-determined draw weight is reached.

A mechanical release (the use of the word "aid" can be omitted when context is appropriate) permits a single point of contact on the string instead of three fingers as most commonly used with finger tabs. This allows less deformity in the string at full draw, as well as providing a more consistent release. This is primarily because the most successful types operate with positive pressure, whereas the conventional 'fingers' release is negative pressure. (Some archers prefer three fingers under the arrow with a finger tab, whereas the split-finger approach, having one finger above the arrow and two fingers below the arrow is the most commonly-used finger shooting method amongst English and modern North American archers who do not use mechanical release aids.)

The mechanical release holds the string by retaining it by some form of gate or loop of cord. The gate or cord is released by operation of the trigger, allowing the string to push open the gate or cord. Consequently, any sideways movement of the string, and hence arrow nock, is likely to be less than if fingers were used, although, if a consistent finger tab release is performed, the differences are often negligible in terms of practical hunting accuracy at ranges up to 30 yards.

In Central Asia and the Middle East, thumbrings were also used for string retention and release. The arrow must be positioned on the other side of the bow, (on the right hand side of the bow for a right-handed shooter) to properly use a thumbring, to allow the "archers's paradox" to work, since the thumb opens in the opposite direction to the fingers.

The choice of a mechanical release aid vs. a finger tab must be accounted for in a compound bow's tuning and sighting, as well as choice of arrow rest, as finger-released arrows will group in a different spot when using a mechanical release aid versus a finger tab. Likewise, the choice of arrow rest for a compound bow depends on whether a finger release archery tab or mechanical release aid is used; for a finger-released arrow, a plunger pin is most commonly used as the arrow rest, to impart a tuned impulse laterally to the arrow at the moment of release to improve point-of-impact groupings. In contrast, for a release aid configuration, a Whisker-biscuit arrow rest is very commonly used with a compound bow.

Stabilisers

This is a general term for various types of weights, usually on rods, mounted on the bow to increase stability i.e. lessen movement on release, thereby increasing accuracy. A typical assortment may be seen in the picture of a tournament in West Germany, at the head of this article. Note that if the shooting technique of the archer were perfect, then, with everything else remaining constant, no stabilisers would be required. It is the inconsistences of the archer that stabilisers can help to reduce. All bodies have inertia, and it is static inertia that bow-weights "use", which means that they resist movement. Consequently, on the application of any force on the bow, e.g. 1) muscular force, whether voluntary or involuntary: 2) the reaction of the bow to the acceleration of the bow limbs, string and arrow: 3) the further reaction of the bow as the string becomes taut and the arrow flies free: the actual physical movement of the bow centre section will be less with the addition of weights than it would have been without. Clearly, the forces acting on the centre section are potentially the same on any shot, and by increasing the static inertia, movement will be reduced. Accuracy comes from repeatability. The reduction of inadvertent movements enhances repeatability. The various types of stabilisers are each designed to minimise a particular direction of movement. It should be noted that these "movements" are those that may occur between the instant of true aim/string release, and the arrow flying free: not "follow-through" and similar activities, these merely indicate what went before. All weight added to the centre section will reduce trembling or shake during the aim, but energy to hold the bow against gravity will obviously increase. Also, the addition of weight will change the shooting characteristics and matching of the arrows to the bow. The successful addition of stabilisers can only be achieved by actual testing and accuracy grouping.

Long-Rod or Poker Stabiliser

Usually fitted into the centre section in-line with the bow arm, or just below the hand position. The addition of this weight projects the centre of gravity (C of G) of the bow forwards, with the result that, firstly, "torque" effect (sideways twisting of the bow-hand) movement is reduced. Since, at full draw, the bow cannot twist, as the string is (in theory) preventing such action, the effect is only apparent on string release. Hence, the bow centre section turns to some degree on release, the arrow being directed to either the left or right. But, with the forward C of G, the effect is reduced. Similarly, "topping" (upwards) or "heeling" (downwards) inconsistences of the bow-hand are reduced. Secondly, with actual movement of the bow-hand sideways, up, down, or any combination, because the C of G is in front of the hand, the bow will turn in the opposite direction, to correct, to some degree, the archer's error. Further, an effect that does not actually give enhanced accuracy, except in the mind of the archer, is the pleasing "forward roll" of the bow, as part of the follow-through, with a relaxed bow-hand and forward C of G.

Twin or Limb Stabilisers

Fitted above and below the bow-hand, normally close to where the limbs meet the centre section, these have similar effects to the single long-rod, but also have a third effect. Because of their positioning, the twin weights also resist rotation instigated by a bow-hand error. If this error were not reduced, left or right shots would occur, because the aiming of the arrow takes gravity into account to gauge the trajectory. Consequently, with perfect aim, if the bow rotates on release, the effect will be the same as not holding the bow vertically, i.e.left or right. Similarly to the long-rod, a "forward roll" will be induced on release and, in addition, because the twin stabilisers are positioned at the base of the limbs, depending on the rigidity of the mounts, some vibration may be damped, giving a smoother feel to the shot.

Reverse or Counterbalance Stabilisers

Fitted usually below the bow-hand on the centre section, because they point back towards the archer, they bring the C of G backwards. Consequently, they are typically used in conjunction with a long-rod stabiliser, the long-rod having sufficient turning moment to exceed the negative effect of the reverse weights, and so keep the forward roll of the bow on release, this being generally accepted as a desirable feature. Hence, the forward C of G effect will not be as great, but, because the reverse weight or weights are extended horizontally from the vertical centre section, their effect is to reduce vertical turning caused by bow-hand torque. This is, of course, in addition to any long-rod stabiliser anti-torque effect.

Use and Summary

Consider the bow as being potentially on a pivot at the pressure point of the bow-hand. If the archer applies inadvertent pressure off centre of the pressure point, then inadvertent movement of the bow will result, with loss of accuracy. By careful study of the bow's movement, the appropriate positioning and addition of weight(s) may be tried, to reduce errors, although prevention is better than cure.

Further, various types of mount have been used, to allow some degree of flexure between the bow and the stabiliser weight. Similarly, the weight may be on an extension rod that may flex in itself. The object of the exercise should be kept in mind, and that object is to reduce bow inadvertent movement. Any flexure will allow some movement of the bow, without similar movement of the weight, hence lessening the weight inertia. However, many archers have found an apparent improvement in their accuracy with the use of flex / mounts. The weight in hand remains unchanged, and so may contribute to steadyness of aim. Also, the flexing gives a "rubbery" feeling, as though the bow wants to remain steady on aim. Consequently, it may be that such effect helps the archer's feeling of confidence on the shot, thereby contributing to accuracy.

Shooting technique and form

The bow is held in the hand opposite to the archer's dominant eye, though holding the bow in the dominant hand side is advocated by some. This hand is referred to as the bow hand and its arm the bow arm. The opposite hand is called the drawing hand or string hand. Terms such as bow shoulder or string elbow follow the same convention. Right-eye-dominant archers hold the bow with their left hand, have their left side facing the target, sight towards the target with their right eye and handle the arrow and string with their right hand.

Modern form

To shoot an arrow, an archer first assumes the correct stance. The body should be at or nearly perpendicular to the target and the shooting line, with the feet placed shoulder-width apart. As an archer progresses from beginner to a more advanced level an "open stance" is often developed. Each archer will have a particular preference but mostly this term indicates that the leg furthest from the shooting line will be a half to a whole foot-length from the other foot, on the ground.

To load, the bow is pointed toward the ground, tipped slightly clockwise of vertical (for a right handed shooter) and the shaft of the arrow is placed on the arrow rest or shelf. The back of the arrow is attached to the bowstring with the nock (a small locking groove located at the proximal end of the arrow). This step is called "nocking the arrow". Typical arrows with three vanes should be oriented such that a single vane, the "cock feather", is pointing away from the bow, or, on a compound bow, that this feather is pointed upwards so as for the arrow to clear the arrow rest without any fletchings touching the arrow rest or pin at the moment of release of the arrow.

The bowstring and arrow are held with three fingers, or with a mechanical arrow release. Most commonly, for finger shooters, the index finger is placed above the arrow and the next two fingers below, although several other techniques have their adherents around the world, involving three fingers below the arrow, or an arrow pinching technique. Instinctive shooting is a technique eschewing sights and is often preferred by traditional archers (shooters of longbows and recurves). In either the split finger or three finger under case, the string is usually placed in either the first or second joint of the fingers.

The bow is then raised and drawn, with varying alignments used for vertical versus slightly canted bow positions. This is often one fluid motion for shooters of recurves and longbows which tends to vary from archer to archer, although for a compound shooter, there is often a slightly-jerky movement occurring during the drawback of the arrow at around midpoint where the draw weight is at its maximum, before relaxing into a comfortable stable full draw position. The string hand is drawn towards the face, where it should rest lightly at the chosen fixed anchor point. This point is consistent from shot to shot and is usually at the corner of the mouth, on the chin, to the cheek, or to the ear, depending upon one's preferred shooting style. The bow arm is held outwards toward the target. The elbow of this arm should be rotated so that the inner elbow is perpendicular to the ground, though archers with hyper extendable elbows tend to angle the inner elbow toward the ground as exemplified by the Korean archer Jang Yong-Ho
Jang Yong-Ho
Jang Yong-Ho is an archer from South Korea.Jang competed for Korea at the 2004 Summer Olympics in men's individual archery. He won his first match, advancing to the round of 32. In the second round of elimination, he was again victorious and advanced to the round of 16...

.

In modern form, the archer stands erect, forming a "T". The archer's lower trapezius muscle
Trapezius muscle
In human anatomy, the trapezius is a large superficial muscle that extends longitudinally from the occipital bone to the lower thoracic vertebrae and laterally to the spine of the scapula...

s are used to pull the arrow to the anchor point. Some modern bows will be equipped with a mechanical device, called a clicker, which produces a clicking sound when the archer reaches the correct draw length. In contrast, traditional English Longbow shooters step "into the bow", exerting force with both the bow arm and the string hand arm simultaneously, especially when using bows having draw weights from 100 lbs to over 175 lbs. Heavily-stacked traditional bows (recurves, long bows, and the like) are released immediately upon reaching full draw at maximum weight, whereas compound bows reach their maximum weight in or around mid-draw, dropping holding weight significantly at full draw. Compound bows are often held at full draw for a short time to achieve maximum accuracy.

The arrow is typically released by relaxing the fingers of the drawing hand (see Bow draw
Bow draw
A bow draw is the method used to draw a bow. Currently, the most common method is the Mediterranean draw, long the usual method in European archery. Other methods include the pinch draw and the Mongolian draw.- Pinch draw or "primary release":...

), or triggering the mechanical release aid. Usually the release aims to keep the drawing arm rigid, the bow hand relaxed, and the arrow is moved back using the back muscles, as opposed to using just arm motions. An archer should also pay attention to the recoil or follow through of his or her body, as it may indicate problems with form (technique) that affect accuracy.

Aiming methods

There are two main forms of aiming in archery: using a mechanical or fixed sight or barebow. Barebow aiming methods include Gap, Split Vision, Point of Aim, String Walking, Face Walking and Instinctive Aiming.

Mechanical sights can be affixed to the bow to aid in aiming. They can be as simple as a pin or optical with magnification. They usually also have a peep sight (rear sight) built into the string which aids in a consistent anchor point. Modern compound bows automatically limit the draw length which gives a consistent arrow velocity while traditional bows allow great variation in draw length. Mechanical methods to make a traditional bow's draw length consistent are sometimes used. Instinctive archers use a sight picture which includes the target, the bow, the hand, the arrow shaft and the arrow tip, as seen at the same time by the archer. With a fixed "anchor point" (where the string is brought to, or close to, the face), and a fully extended bow arm, successive shots taken with the sight picture in the same position will fall on the same point
Predicted impact point
The predicted impact point is the location that a ballistic projectile is expected to strike if fired. The PIP is almost always actively determined by a targeting computer, which then projects a PIP marker onto a Head-Up Display...

. This allows the archer to adjust aim with successive shots in order to achieve accuracy. Modern archery equipment usually includes sights
Sight (device)
A sight is a device used to assist aligning or aim weapons, surveying instruments, or other items by eye. Sights can be a simple set or system of markers that have to be aligned together as well as aligned with the target...

. Instinctive aiming is used by many archers who use traditional bows. The two most common forms of a non-mechanical release are split-finger and three-under. Split-finger aiming requires the archer to place the index finger above the nocked arrow, while the middle and ring fingers are both placed below. Three-under aiming places the index, middle, and ring fingers under the nocked arrow. This technique allows the archer to better look down the arrow since the back of the arrow is closer to the dominant eye, and is commonly called "gun barreling" (referring to common aiming techniques used with firearms).

When using shortbows, or shooting from horseback, it is difficult to use the sight picture. The archer may look at the target but without including the weapon in the field of accurate view. Aiming involves a similar sort of hand/eye coordination which includes proprioception and motor/muscle memory between the mind/body connection that is used when throwing a baseball or shooting a basketball. With sufficient practice, such archers can normally achieve good practical accuracy for hunting or for war. Aiming without a sight picture may allow more rapid shooting.

Currently Instinctive shooting is a term used to describe a style of shooting that includes the barebow aiming method that relies heavily upon the subconscious mind, proprioception and motor/muscle memory to make aiming adjustments while years ago the term was used to generalize and/or categorize those archers who did not use a mechanical or fixed sight.

Physics

When a projectile is thrown by hand, the speed of the projectile is determined by the kinetic energy
Kinetic energy
The kinetic energy of an object is the energy which it possesses due to its motion.It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes...

 imparted by the thrower's muscle
Muscle
Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

s performing work. However, the energy must be imparted over a limited distance (determined by arm length) and therefore (because the projectile is accelerating) over a limited time, so the limiting factor is not work but rather power
Power (physics)
In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. For example, the rate at which a light bulb transforms electrical energy into heat and light is measured in watts—the more wattage, the more power, or equivalently the more electrical energy is used per unit...

, which determined how much energy can be added in the limited time available. Power generated by muscles, however, is limited by Force-velocity relationship, and even at the optimal contraction speed for power production, total work done by the muscle will be less than half of what could be done if the muscle were contracting over the same distance at very slow speeds, resulting in less than 1/4 the projectile launch velocity possible without the limitations of the Force-velocity relationship.

When a bow is used, the muscles are able to perform work much more slowly, resulting in greater force and greater work done. This work is stored in the bow as elastic potential energy, and when the bowstring is released, this stored energy is imparted to the arrow much more quickly than can be delivered by the muscles, resulting in much higher velocity and, hence, greater distance. This same process is employed by frog
Frog
Frogs are amphibians in the order Anura , formerly referred to as Salientia . Most frogs are characterized by a short body, webbed digits , protruding eyes and the absence of a tail...

s which use elastic tendons to increase jumping distance. In archery, some energy is dissipated through elastic hysteresis, reducing the overall amount released when the bow is shot. Of the energy remaining, some is dampened both by the limbs of the bow and the bowstring. Depending on the elasticity of the arrow, some of the energy is also absorbed by compressing the arrow, primarily because the release of the bowstring is rarely in line with the arrow shaft, causing it to flex out to one side.

This is because the bowstring accelerates faster than the archer's fingers can open, and consequently some sideways motion is imparted to the string, and hence arrow nock, as the power and speed of the bow pulls the string off the opening fingers. Even with a release aid mechanism some of this effect will usually be experienced, since the string always accelerates faster than the retaining part of the mechanism. This results in an in-flight oscillation of the arrow in which its center flexes out to one side and then the other repeatedly, gradually reducing as the arrow's flight proceeds; this can be clearly seen in high-speed photography of an arrow at discharge.

Modern arrows are made to a specified 'spine', or stiffness rating, to maintain matched flexing and hence accuracy of aim. This flexing can be a desirable feature, since, when the spine of the shaft is matched to the acceleration of the bow(string), the arrow bends or flexes around the bow and any arrow-rest, and consequently the arrow, and fletchings, have an un-impeded flight. This feature is known as the archer's paradox
Archer's paradox
The term archer's paradox was coined by Robert P. Elmer in the 1930s. The paradox refers to the phenomenon that in order to strike the center of the target, the arrow must be pointed slightly to the side of the target...

. It maintains accuracy, for if part of the arrow struck a glancing blow on discharge, some inconsistency would be present, and the excellent accuracy of modern equipment would not be achieved.

The accurate flight of an arrow is dependent on its fletching. The arrow's manufacturer (a "fletcher") can arrange fletching to cause the arrow to rotate along its axis. This improves accuracy by evening pressure buildups that would otherwise cause the arrow to "plane" on the air in a random direction after shooting. Even though the arrow be made with extreme care, the slightest imperfection, or air movement, will cause some unbalanced turbulence in air flow. Consequently, rotation creates an equalling of such turbulence, which, overall, maintains the intended direction of flight i.e. accuracy. This rotation is not to be confused with the rapid gyroscopic rotation of a rifle bullet. If the fletching is not arranged to induce rotation, it will still improve accuracy by causing a restoring drag any time the arrow tilts away from its intended direction of travel.

The innovative aspect of the invention of the bow and arrow was the amount of power delivered to an extremely small area by the arrow. The huge ratio of length vs cross sectional area coupled with velocity made the arrow orders of magnitude more powerful than any other hand held weapon until firearms were invented. Arrows may be designed to spread or concentrate force, depending on their applications. Practice arrows, for instance, can use a blunt tip that spreads the force over a wider area to reduce the risk of injury or limit penetration. Arrows designed to pierce armor in the Middle Ages would use a very narrow and sharp tip ("bodkinhead") to concentrate the force. Arrows used for hunting would use a narrow tip ("broadhead") that widens further, to facilitate both penetration and a large wound.

Hunting

Using archery to take game animals is known as bowhunting. Bowhunting differs markedly from hunting with firearms as the distances between the hunter and the game are much shorter in order to ensure a humane kill. The skills and practices of bowhunting therefore emphasize very close approach to the prey, whether by still hunting, stalking, or waiting in a blind or treestand. In many countries, including much of the United States, bowhunting for large and small game is legal. Bowhunters generally enjoy longer seasons than are allowed with other forms of hunting such as black powder, shotgun, or rifle. Usually, compound bows are used for large game hunting and may feature fiber optic sights and other enhancements. Using a bow and arrow to take fish is known as bowfishing
Bowfishing
Bowfishing is a method of fishing that uses specialized archery equipment to shoot and retrieve fish. Fish are shot with a barbed arrow that is attached with special line to a reel mounted on the bow. Some freshwater species commonly hunted include common carp, grass carp, bighead carp, alligator...

.

Modern competitive archery

Competitive archery involves shooting arrows at a target for accuracy from a set distance or distances. This is the most popular form of competitive archery worldwide and is called target archery
Target archery
Modern competitive archery is governed by the World Archery Federation, abbreviated WA . Olympic rules are derived from WA rules. WA is the International Olympic Committee's recognized governing body for all of archery.Currently 142 nations are represented by WA archery governing bodies...

. A form particularly popular in Europe and America
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 is field archery
Field archery
Field archery involves shooting at targets of varying distance, often in woodland and rough terrain.One goal of field archery is to improve the techniques and abilities required for bowhunting in a more realistic outdoor setting...

, shot at targets generally set at various distances in a wooded setting. Para-Archery is an adaptation of archery for athletes with a disability. It is governed by the International Archery Federation
International Archery Federation
The International Archery Federation is the governing body of the sport of archery. It is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is composed of 140 national archery associations, and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee.-History:FITA was founded on 4 September 1931 in Poland...

 (FITA), and is one of the sports in the Summer Paralympic Games
Paralympic Games
The Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event where athletes with a physical disability compete; this includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and Cerebral Palsy. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which are held immediately following their...

. There are also several other lesser-known and historical forms of archery, as well as archery novelty games.

See also

  • Bowhunting
    Bowhunting
    Bowhunting is the practice of killing game animals by archery. It has been a normal use of archery in every culture that had bows.- Technique :...

  • Gungdo
    Gungdo
    The Korean Bow is a water buffalo horn-based composite reflex bow, standardized about 1900 AD from the variety of such weapons in earlier use...

     practicing Kuk Gung, or ancient Korean Archery
  • Horse archer
  • List of archery terms
  • List of notable archers
  • Sagittarii
    Sagittarii
    Sagittarii Sagitarii is the latin term for archers. The term sagittariorum in the title of an infantry or cavalry unit indicated a specialized archer regiment. Regular auxiliary units of foot and horse archers appeared in the Roman army during the early empire...


Additional reading


  • The Traditional Bowyer's Bible. [Azle, TX]: Bois d'Arc Press; New York, N.Y.: Distributed by Lyons & Burford
    • The Traditional Bowyer's Bible; Volume 1. 1992. ISBN 1-58574-085-3
    • The Traditional Bowyer's Bible; Volume 2. 1992. ISBN 1-58574-086-1
    • The Traditional Bowyer's Bible; Volume 3. 1994. ISBN 1-58574-087-X; ISBN 1558213112
    • The Traditional Bowyer's Bible; Volume 4. The Lyons Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9645741-6-8

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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