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The Point of Aim and Other Mechanical Expedients
Part 4 of 6

First—We know how absolutely necessary it is to repeated success to always have the same length of pull at the exact moment the arrow is loosened—whether individualized by a snappy pull or not. This fixes the length of the base of our hypothetical triangle. Second—We know how necessary to repeated success it is to always bring the knock hand to exactly the same position in relation to the eye and line of aim, thus fixing the length of our perpendicular. (The methods for accomplishing this I will refer to later). Third—We know how necessary it is to repeated high scores, to always have the point of the arrow for each frame of every round, at the same perpendicular distance from the line from the eye to the gold at the exact fraction of the second of loosening.

The latter position is acquired by a variety of individual conscious or unconscious expedients. With some it may be the sensitive instinctive irresistible impulse to loosen the arrow at the supreme moment, when the arrow reaches the right poise. With others who are not confined to a definite point of aim. it is the ability to gauge with repeated exactness the desired length of the perpendicular from the point of the arrow to the center of the gold.

I know a skillful archer who holds his thumb in an upright position against his bow for a sighting point to the gold; others, for the same purpose, mark the how with windings, etc. The large majority of archers, however, are dependent upon a definite point of aim. which they strive to obtain in some naturally located object, and which modern archery has openly accepted as one of the legitimate factors to the great art and science of shooting the long bow, but which, in a hyperesthetic sense, has no more right to be there, according to every rule of sport, than other mechanical expedients which detract from those highest conceptions of true archery that have been guarded with such sacredness. What would be thought of it in those legendary days of unknown distances to the object; or in these days of hunting with the bow which many love to follow, and which doubtless comes nearest to the highest type of true archery. In this limiting archery, the eyes of the hunter must be steadily concentrated upon the game at all kinds of distances, and with every factor of their quick movements guided mainly by subconscious instinctiveness, before which all our lauded art and science of range shooting dwindles into almost pure mechanics.

Moreover, in our range archery, the accepted right to localize a natural point of aim is fraught with difficulties and uncertainties which depend largely upon luck, whose benefits are so unevenly and unfairly distributed at times that frequently the otherwise successful archer is placed at a decided disadvantage. Even when one's eyes enables him in the shorter rounds to pick out a tiny blade of grass, or clover-top, it is rarely in exactly the proper position, and even then is subject to obliteration in tramping back and forth for the arrows; and if destroyed, the casting about for another natural point of aim may lead to enough trial errors to ruin his score. The irritating part of it, too, and one which tends most to detract from his natural skill, is the knowledge that his companion archers, who would be no mure successful that himself under conditions, are making larger scores, simply because they are not subjected to the same beastly luck, in securing their points.