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The Art of Archery
by W. H. Wills
From: Outing, Vol. LXI Issue 2, pp. 232-237.
November 1912.
Illustrated with photographs

The Elementary Technique of Bow Handling From Stringing to
Landing the Arrow on the Target

Part 1 of 5

ARCHERY, the historic pastime of kings, the oldest sport in the world, and the only one indigenous to all peoples, has made such rapid growth in America the past few years that its devotees expect it to regain the important place it occupied in this country up to thirty years ago, and that it now occupies in England—a place it never lost over there. The tournament held by the National Archery Association of the United States in Boston, August 13-16, was the first held east of Chicago, in many respects the center of archery interest in this country, since 1906. It was a large and successful event and has given the sport a big boom. The tournament of 1913, also to be in Boston, now promises to be the largest in this country since the great meet in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, in 1881.

Many persons of country bringing up, who have a sentiment for the crude essays of their youth with bow and arrow, have a hankering for the pastime which they are unable to satisfy because they haven't the information necessary to go about it. One of the principal reasons why the sport is not practiced more generally is the difficulty of taking it on. "Home-made" tackle is well enough for boys and girls, but it won't do for serious archery. Then, to learn to shoot is no child's play; and to advance beyond mediocrity, even for those enjoying every advantage of instruction, requires assiduous work and careful attention to method. But if personal instruction cannot be had by the beginner, carefully following the rules will enable him or her to get much pleasure from the sport.

To begin, then, get an outfit adapted to your needs. If a man of moderate muscular development, a bow pulling 43 pounds is about right. If fairly strong, a 45-pound bow should be used. A woman needs a 22- to 28-pound bow. This will suffice for the first season. After becoming hardened, one can pull a heavier bow, and experience will determine the matter for each individual. A dozen good arrows, a target, fingertips or gloves, and art arm guard, are essential, and these make a complete equipment, except for a woman, who needs a quiver, in the absence of a hip pocket, which serves as a man's "quiver." This entire outfit will cost about $20, unless several are to shoot together; then the cost of the target, $7 to $10, can be divided up. Three, or even four, persons may shoot on a target, even at unequal distances. The rule is for each in turn to shoot three arrows, then another three. These six constitute an "end," at the finish of which all go to the target and mark the scores.