Part 5 of 9
Once provided with a satisfactory outfit, and having learned how to hold the bow, how to "loose," and other details, the question of advancement is simply one of practice. Systematic, persistent work in time accomplishes the desired result in the way of skill, and in a few months the novice becomes an expert at the shorter ranges. Many, in beginning, start at ten or twenty feet distance from the target, and practice until they become proficient enough to hit the gold (the bull's-eye) a majority of shots. As skill is acquired, the distance is gradually increased, until the archer is almost sure of "a hit" every time up to sixty yards distance, the limit for what is known as short-range shooting. Target shooting is practiced in "rounds," the usual shooting in this vicinity being at the "American round"—thirty arrows each distance, at forty, fifty, and sixty yards. With growing skill and experience, the archer, if ambitious, as is usually the case, seeks new laurels in attempting the "York round," the present national round of Great Britain and of this country in public competitions. To get any satisfastory scores at this round is a work of much time and practice, not to mention pe-destrianism, as it requires two dozen arrows at sixty yards, four dozen at eighty yards, and six dozen at one hundred yards; and those who flatter themselves into the belief that they are experts at the American round shooting, are usually surprised to see how often they do not hit the target at the longer ranges. The walking required to retrieve the arrows shot at the York round is rather more than could be anticipated without reckoning. An archer shooting alone, and three arrows at an "end" (each time the bow is used), will have walked nearly three miles at the hundred-yard range alone. To attain a respectable degree of proficiency at the York round is a work of years, and requires ambition and persistency on the part of the archer, as progress seems provokingly slow. Of course there are those who develop unusual aptitude, as in all sports, and acquire a condition of effectiveness so much sooner than many others who shoot in company with them that the effect is rather depressing on the slower ones; yet the peculiar attractions of archery are likely to stir up the rear ranks to greater effort in such cases. Time will tell, and it is generally a matter of time, after all.