Article written by W. Ramsey Frederick of the Seattle Archers, first appeared in Archery Magazine July 1944.
‘Archery Is Worth Talking About’
Many hundred years ago the bow and arrow undoubtedly was considered the “year’s” most glamorous invention- a veritable, ingenious, mechanical contrivance- which received a “nod” from the “Nobel” of that age. The safety of kingdoms and tribes as well as meat supply depended upon the prowess of their respective archers. All through the Medieval days and up until the advent of firearms the mighty bow and arrow played the leading role in fashioning world history.
The invention of gunpowder and guns retired the bow and arrow as a major weapon in the defense of a nation. However, its use by individuals as a means of settling tribal feuds and to kill wild game for food continued for many years. In fact, in this modern age of long range rifles and high powered ammunition, there are still many that are depending upon the bow and arrow exclusively as a protection against marauding animals or attack from an unfriendly tribe.
Even though the bow and arrow is of primeval origin today, it is the central figure of the grandest, most exhilarating and wholesome sport handed down to us by our forbearers. Fortunate indeed is the person who has been introduced to archery. There is not a greater thrill nor deeper feeling of satisfaction than to release a fully drawn arrow from the string of a spirited bow and watch it singing through space to penetrate the object of aim. In those fleeting seconds all the elements of the drama are experienced; anticipation, suspense and realization. Every loosed arrow is a one act drama in itself. Come on you modern Robin hoods don’t hide the light of archery under a “bushel” any longer.
How many of your family are archers? How many of your friends are archers? How many of your neighbors are archers? Archery as a sport is worth talking about! Worth shouting about! It is an all year sport and can be played indoors as well as out and by all ages, size and description. Tournament archery is the one major sport where papa, mama, and little junior can all enter into official competition. There is an established class competition for official tournaments ranging from Junior Novice, Bowman and Expert Bowman for boys and girls as well as for men and women.
Come one, come all- anyone physically adaptable can soon develop into an archer. Like any other sport, to become proficient requires lots of patient, sedulous practice. Any archer will truthfully state, with a gleam of enthusiasm in his eye with the exception of hunting with bow and arrow there is no more enjoyable way of spending idle time than practicing shooting on a well laid out roving course or target range. Systematic practice develops the archer’s faculties into a coordinated, rhythmic mechanism. The physical body will soon become strong, graceful and symmetrical.
With bow clasped in extended hand and arrow pulled to full draw the erect, stalwart figure of an archer is an impressive sight. Ostensibly the poised, self-confident bearing of the figure is assurance that when the arrow is released it will, with incredible speed and accuracy, pierce the object of dispatch. Practice develops artistry of form and achieves infallible accuracy with the arrow. The only requisites to become a champion archer is interest, willingness and unremitting practice. Oh yes, as an afterthought, it is also customary to have a bow and at least six arrows. These items are not incidental either! Bows of every size and weight are available with a matched set of arrows of proper weight, spine and length. Inferior tackle should be avoided at all costs.
Now, let’s get ready to do some practicing. Many communities have a field archery range and roving course already laid out and set up with targets. In the event your city or suburb has not provided a suitable place to shoot don’t become disheartened. Look around, put your resourcefulness to work; undoubtedly right within the neighborhood is a vacant lot, field or yard of just the ideal dimensions to be converted into a field range or roving course.
Now that you have found an acceptable place put a straw target on an easel at one end- a northern position is desirable. Measure off and mark with stakes or some other suitable method the following distances from the target: 15 yards, 20 yards, 25 yards, 30 yards. If space permits 40, 50 and 60 yard markers can also be added. Select the measured distance from which you will start practicing. Now take a position standing sideways (vertical) to the horizontal target. With stringed bow in hand, nock an arrow and pull back to full draw; with the aid of a point-of-aim or bow-sight take steady aim and release the arrow. If the first arrow misses the “gold” merely compensate for the miss by readjusting the position of the sight employed and shoot again. It is important to use the same full draw of the arrow each time you shoot. There are many excellent books on “How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow.” In the event you cannot receive authoritative instructions from an experienced archer as to how to begin to shoot, buy or rent one of the available books, you will find it very helpful.
Almost any type of vacant property can be converted into a roving course or field target range. Where the available land is wooded or undeveloped targets ranging in size from six to twenty-four inches can be placed in positions to represent wild game in the woods and then definite distances should be measured off so that the pseudo-hunter will shoot from the same distances each end.
This type of shooting is called roving. Next to actual hunting with bow and arrow roving is the sportiest and most interesting form of stationary target archery yet devised. In laying out a roving course the imagination can be unleashed and allowed to conjure up various target locations in niches and recesses that will tax the technique and greatly improve archers’ shooting skill. To prevent injury to the arrows remove all stones and other solid objects from in back of or in proximity to the targets.
Archery is a neighborly sport. Encourage your neighbors as well as your family to taste of the nectar that flows from the “cup of archery.” In your immediate vicinity there are many grand folks eagerly awaiting an introduction into an invigorating, wholesome sport with a thousand and one benefits like archery.
You, Mr. and Mrs. Archer, are you doing your bit to expand archery as a sport? With the longer hours of daylight and the great outdoors in its brand new summer dress it is possible to get a few practice ends in every evening after work. This additional shooting will greatly improve your official scores. This is the time of the year everyone wants to participate in some outdoor activity. Now is the time to submit the names of your candidates to the Membership Committee of your club.
Archery is still on the “gold” standard! Good shootin’ to all youse followers of zing ‘n’ swish!