The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > Additional Notes on Arrow Release > Part 2
Additional Notes on Arrow Release
Part 2 of 21

A third form of release I determined through the courtesy of Mr. Le Flesche, an educated Omaha Indian. This release consisted in holding the forefinger nearly straight and not bent as in the primary and secondary releases and with the tips of this finger and the tips of the second and third fingers pulling the string, the arrow being held between the tips of the thumb and forefinger. This form I termed the tertiary release and found it wide spread. From the testimony of LIEUT. VOGDES, U. S. A. and COL. JAMES STEPHENSON, this was the form of release used by the Sioux, Arapahoes,. Cheyennes, Assiniboins, Comanches, Blackfeet and Navahoes and doubtless other North American tribes.

C. J. LONGMAN, Esq., in his interesting and valuable contributions to the Archery volume of the Badminton Library Series, does not recognize this release and classifies it with the secondary form and says, "It seems doubtful, however whether there is sufficient distinction between the secondary and tertiary looses to justify their separation, and all finger and thumb looses, when the tips of the fingers assist in drawing the string will be classed here as secondary." I cannot agree with my distinguished friend, for further study shows that it is a marked North American method. A study of West Coast Indians, Mexican tribes, Surinam Indians, and even the figures in ancient Mexican codices, tracings of which I have received from that eminent scholar Mrs. ZELIA NUTTALL, convinces me that the tertiary release was employed by these ancient people. It is found sporadically in other parts of the world.

The archers of Europe shooting only for sport use a release that I have named the Mediterranean release because I discovered that the Mediterranean nations - the Caucasians of Blumenbach - for nearly 2000 years have used this release.[3] Even the ancient relatives of this race, the Hill tribes of India, practice it. It consists in drawing the string with the tips of the first, second and third fingers; the thumb is inert and the little finger is rarely used. Pictures and engravings of the 17th century and before depict the archer as using the first and second finger only. This indicates either greater strength or a lighter bow. This release, as practiced today requires either a glove or finger tips of leather to protect the ends of the fingers.