You, as well as a lot of individuals, want to get into archery, and why not? It is really a great sport with lots of fun, and sometimes it can become addictive as well.
For centuries archery is used as a sport and for hunting, yet it remains widespread and for good reasons.
The first time you’ll shoot an arrow and watch it soaring through the air will be a captivating experience, even if you completely miss the target.
So if you’ve been thinking about getting into archery as a hobby or want to go pro, but you don’t have the slightest idea where to start, we know how you feel.
Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work and put all the little details you’ll need to know so that your immersion to archery can be as smooth as possible.
If you are an experienced archer, feel free to browse through topics that strike your fancy.
So if you’re ready, good, let’s get going.
- Before We Plunge Deep, A Little History
- Types of Archery
- Beginners Must-Have Gear for Archery
- Here are some parts that a Bow consists of
- How to Select the Right Bow for Yourself
- Archery Basics that You Should Know
Before We Plunge Deep, A Little History
Okay, this might seem redundant, but you’ll be surprised to know how archery dates way back.
Archery has been around the world since the stone age — about 20,000 BC.
The earliest people know to be using bows and arrows were Egyptians dating back to 3,000 BC.
So archery was initially used for hunting for food and survival of the tribe. It dates back to the paleolithic era.
Therefore, the idea was to kill something either before it can run away or get spooked like a deer or worse, kill you like a tiger or lion.
Archery was the amazing concept that allowed you to kill a thing from a certain distance.
However, unfortunately, as archery evolved, it was being used to kill people for some reasons, as in most commonly wars.
Excellent archers were high in demand at that time as they could hit their target from a distance.
Good archers were used as both soldiers to improve their winning chances in whatever war they were fighting and gather food for their families.
Therefore, striving to become a better marksman rose in popularity, which gave birth to competitions and tournaments where different archers could compete and see who could hit their target from farthest.
Since 1972 Archery has been a part of the Olympic games.
Archery is an ancient and noble sport that requires determination, strength, focus, discipline and a whole lot of practice.
We reckoned, beginners will find this information interesting. So now that you are acquainted with a good history let’s get started.
Types of Archery
There are many types of archery, and the first thing you’ll need to figure out is which one you’re interested in.
You can start by answering the basic question, for what reason would you like to get into archery?
Do you want to get to the competitive side as in go PRO? Or you want it just as your hobby. Or you want it for practical hunting.
Either way, target-based practice will be best for you, considering that you are a fledgling.
Targets will help you practice your movement, angles, marksmanship, and accuracy so that you have all the necessary skills before you try them out in the real world, like competitions or hunting.
So here are some types of archery.
One of the most recognized types of archery is target archery. This type of archery is taught in many schools and clubs.
The type uses the traditional ten-ringed circular targets that you might have seen most of the time.
The targets can be used to practice the sports both indoors and outdoors, making them more flexible for neophytes.
In case you’re going for this archery, you’d want to pick either a Compound Bow or Recurve Bow (more on this in a bit).
FYI:- Target archery uses both bows, but only Recurve bows are used if you are looking to enter the Olympic Games.
Field archer is kind of similar to target archery, but it has its own set of rules.
The rules are different for target archery and field archery and are scored differently.
Generally, field archery is done outside, i.e., outdoors. It’s an outdoor course, where you practice along with some small groups.
The targets are kept at a distance of around 10 to 80 yards.
Primarily, field archery uses three different targets to practice with, and they are referred to as courses. The courses are animal, hunter, and field. Plus, most of the bows are used for training, so you don’t have to worry about which one to get.
Just like field archery, where you walk around the outdoor archery course, 3D archery is almost identical.
In this case, you’ll be shooting different 3D targets placed at different distances.
So the primary difference between field archery and 3D archery is that you’ll be shooting real-life 3D targets, meaning they can be uphill or downhill or obscured by trees.
Moreover, you will be required to aim at particular areas of the targets that might score you differently.
Traditional archery is where you’ll shoot with historical bows and tools that were before modern age gears. Thus the name — traditional archery makes sense.
There are no set of rules in traditional archery, and you can use conventional bows in most archery types.
Since traditional archery is all about going back to the old times without any modern gear, it is different from target archery, where you have to shoot at the target and current archery gear.
Therefore, most of the traditional bows used are from Mediterranean countries and medieval Europe.
You’ll see longbows, recurve bows, and horseback bows for most of the time in traditional archery.
Lastly, the typical bowhunting can be done with any bow and sometimes with some bows more ideally than others.
Speaking of bows, compound and recurve bows are the best types of bows to look for bowhunting.
Longbows and traditional bows can also work wonders, but ensure that their draw weight is 40 pounds or more.
Beginners Must-Have Gear for Archery
If you are all pumped up to get into archery, you will need some gear to help you get started.
And without your equipment, you will not be off to a good start. So here are some gears that we think are necessary for tyros.
Okay, this may seem obvious, but it is also imperative and sometimes not a decision you can make easily.
There are a ton of different bows out there in the market, and you might be knowing it already. So selecting the right one can literally seem to be a daunting task.
The best archers understand that a quality bow can significantly improve shooting.
Therefore, you’d want to make sure the one you are opting for suits your needs. That said, the most common types of bows recommended for beginners are Recurve and Compound.
However, you can still use any type of bow according to your wish, given you are comfortable with it.
With that in mind, if you’ve never used a bow before, we would recommend jaunting down the aisle at your local archery shop and practice with different bows before purchasing.
Since the common types of bow are Compound and Recurve, let’s understand them.
Consider recurve bows are a simple version of bows. They don’t have any complex mechanism and design and thus are an excellent option for beginners.
Recurve bows are mostly used in Olympics by professional archers. They are used for target shooting yet can be easily used by an experienced hunter for hunting.
As for the shape, the limbs are curved away on the bow from the archer. This way, the bow stores more energy and allows the arrow to propel farther.
Just like the name, compound bows are complicated to use compared to a recurve bow. The bows work on a levering system that bends the limbs.
This complex lever system increases the force that moves the arrow, and thus the arrow flies faster and further, plus hits the target harder.
However, these bows are on the expensive side since they are powerful and offer more accurate shots, and thus they are excellent for bowhunting.
Here are some parts that a Bow consists of
Now that you are intimate with the bows let’s understand the terminology used in them that you’ll encounter most of the time.
- Riser:- Riser is just the bow’s handle that attaches the bow’s lower and upper limbs. A riser is a part where your arrow rests and the part you hold while shooting.
- Limbs:- As you might be knowing, the limbs are the upper and lower part of the riser.
- Nock:- A metal ring on the bowstring is what a nock or nocking point is. This point facilitates the arrow to rest on the string.
- Bowstring:- It is the string that is connected from the top to the bottom of the bow. Generally, the limbs are carved with grooves so they can hold the string in the place. This is common for recurve bow. As for the compound bow, the strings are longer and wound with some pulleys and cams.
- Bow Sight:- Consider bow sight as a scope of a weapon; it improves the accuracy of your bow. Typically, most types of bows come with a scope, but you can even attach a tactical scope to the riser if you wish. However, you’ll have to purchase it externally.
Demystifying a Fallacy
Before continuing further, we wanted to clear a misconception that many people have.
Some people opine that since the compound bow is so complex and modern, it should only be used by advanced shooters and is only made for them.
Whereas the recurve bow is just for beginners, and every novice should use it.
We are here to tell you — It’s Totally Wrong.
Beginners and experts can use both compound and recurve bows.
Some professional archers only shoot with recurve bows. On the flip side, you will find many individuals who’ve entered archery with the compound bow.
Such confusion can arise because most of the instructors prefer to allot a recurve bow to rookies. The reason is that, unlike recurve bows, compound bows have a ton of accessories and are needed to use with the bow every time.
Thus the student has to learn everything from the use of the accessories to safety code, let alone archery basics. Therefore getting distracted becomes common, and the individual cannot focus on aiming.
So learning with a recurve bow becomes more feasible.
We would recommend learning the form recurve bow and master your basics, becoming a better archer, and then moving onto a compound bow.
Our Bow Suggestions for Beginners
To be honest, there is not a perfect bow for a beginner; it just depends on which one suits your style and type.
A recurve bow can prove to be a good option if you are looking to practice target archery. On the other hand, if you are looking for bowhunting, a compound bow might work wonders for you.
According to us, you should go for a compound bow if you have the financial support, or else a recurve bow is also excellent.
How to Select the Right Bow for Yourself
There would be a lot of options while you are looking for bows; it is crucial that you test the equipment before you purchase.
You will have the option to purchase the archery equipment online, but we would recommend purchasing the bow only if you’ve tested it.
When you test it, you will get a personal feel of the bow, making it easier for you to select the right one.
In addition, you’ll want to get the right side of the bow, and you can check the size by following the steps mentioned below.
To spare the gritty details, the draw length is the way far you can pull your string when you are full drawing.
The number you will get will help you find the poundage of your bow’s limbs.
You can easily find the draw length, but you’ll need someone’s help to do so.
First, stand against a wall and spread your arms wide, forming a T.
Now, ask someone to mark both hands’ fingertip and measure the distance from fingertip to fingertip.
Once you get the number, divide it by 2.5, the number you’ll get will be an approximate number for draw length.
However, make sure that you measure it 2 to 3 times to avoid the possibility of any errors.
Draw weight is more challenging to measure than draw weight.
Draw weight is the force that you can pull from a bow yet be comfortable.
It is not easy to measure because you’ll have to try out different bows of different sizes and hold for 30 seconds to figure out.
After 30 seconds, if you are not trembling and can still hold the bow, move onto the following size and keep repeating till you reach your peak.
Therefore, to try this, you’ll have to visit your local archery shop and try out different bows. Don’t worry; they’ll have various bows that’ll guide you.
However, in the worst case, if you don’t have an archery shop around and still need to figure out the number, here is a general table that’ll give an approximate value.
|Age||Weight (lbs)||Avg. Draw Weight (lbs)|
|7 to 12 years (Children)||60 to 100||10 to 12|
|13 to 19 years||75 to 130||12 to 25|
|Small to Medium Females||90 to 120||20 to 35|
|Medium to Large Females||120 to 160 or above||35 to 45|
|Small to Medium Males||110 to 160||25 to 45|
|Medium to Large Males||160 to 190 or above||30 to 60|
Another no-brainer. Bows are nothing without arrows, but they are different, and you’ll need to figure out the correct arrow for your bow.
And picking the right arrow can be as complex as getting the right bow. Plus, with different types of arrows out there in the market, you are prone to be confused and sit in vexation.
Generally, there are three arrows: Wood, Aluminum, and Carbon arrows. Each one has its specific qualities and use.
Also known as the original arrow, if you want to go for traditional archery, this type of arrow is a must for you. You will start to love them and eventually end up making one yourself.
Since the wood arrow is more delicate than other types, you shouldn’t use it with a compound bow. You should consistently utilize it with a recurve bow.
They cannot be used with a compound bow because compound bows use a lever system and push the arrows with incredible force, a force that wood arrows cannot withstand.
Aluminum arrows are excellent for amateurs and can be used by individuals who utilize a recurve bow, just as a compound bow.
If you’ve visited a range or club, you’ll mostly find aluminum arrows. The best part about these arrows is that they don’t break easily.
Although you can use a carbon arrow with a recurve bow, this type of arrow is primarily used by compound bow users.
Carbon arrows are popular with hunters and are very lightweight. However, these arrows are the most expensive type amongst the others.
Some Basic Parts of Arrows
Since you are a novice, it is better that you get closely acquainted with all the terminologies in the archery realm.
Therefore, knowing the parts of an arrow will surely come in handy.
The arrowhead is the part that penetrates the target. Yes, the pointy head or part that can be weighted.
Generally, a weighted arrowhead is used for hunting and piercing the target with force.
You will find arrows with a blunt head or tip that is lightweight and primarily used by beginners or light training.
A shaft, or otherwise known as the spine of an arrow, is the length of the arrow — the part all the way from arrowhead to the fletching.
Traditionally, the shaft of your arrow should match your bow’s draw length, as the short arrow can result in injury.
Heavier the arrow, the heavier the spine. Typically, the spine alludes to the firmness of the arrow.
The vanes of your arrows are called fletching, and sometimes they are made from feathers or plastic. The feather ones are better for target practising, and the plastic ones are excellent for hunting.
You’ll also find one vane that has a different colour than the other two; it is mainly called index vane.
The bifurcated back of your arrow is called the nock. It generally fits in the bowstring.
The release is like an aide for consistency, and it can significantly help you with accuracy.
Since there are a bunch of types of releases, make sure that you are doing your due diligence research.
Once you have a better idea of what you are looking for, go and grab it from the shop.
Don’t forget Safety Gear
If you are getting a starter kit, you will have everything you need as a beginner. You can assemble all the things and get started with shooting.
However, if you are one of those individuals that love to purchase things separately, you might have to consider the safety gear.
Safety accessories like finger tab and arm protector will protect your fingers while pulling the string and protect you from slapping by the string when you release.
If you do get hit by the string, nothing to worry about other than some pain.
Whether you know it yet or not, archery equipment comes at a price, and you don’t want to splurge money till you’re sure that you’d like to stick with that equipment.
Therefore, you can purchase used or second-hand equipment to cut the cost. That said, you would want to make sure that they are at least in good shape and of better quality.
Alternatively, you can also look for archery clubs that can loan or rent you the equipment. You can also contact your friend who can lend you their equipment, given that they are benevolent enough.
Since archery is a very personal sport, there is some data that you should be aware of.
You already know two out of three things: Draw weight and Draw length.
The last thing is knowing your dominant eye. This is something new for you — especially if you are a beginner.
Figure Out Your Dominant Eye
When you are purchasing your bow, you should be aware of your dominant eye. Though dominant hand matters, the same goes for eyes as well.
A common misconception people have is that they think the dominant eye is the same as their dominant hand. This can be true, but not in all cases.
The dominant eye will make it easy to see the shot and thus will improve your aim.
Once you figure out your dominant eye, you can decide which side of your body you should hold your bow.
Here’s how you can test your dominant eye.
- Form a triangle by keeping your fingers and thumbs together.
- Choose an object that is around 10 to 15 feet away.
- Close your one eye and see the object from the triangle that you’ve formed with your hand.
- Do the same with your other eye as well.
- You will find your dominant eye that keeps the object-centred rather than shifted.
Archery Basics that You Should Know
Just like any other thing in life, safety is the number one priority in archery.
First and Thumb Rule of archery — Never – Never aim your bow at another person, period.
Always make sure that you are holding the bow correctly as guided, and your arrow is nocked adequately before you shoot.
Ensure that you are opting for arrows and bows that are of the correct size.
As a general rule of thumb, your arrow should be a little longer than the edge of your bow.
Make sure that you are not shooting an arrow that is short for your bow; you could do some severe injury.
When you are shooting, don’t hold the arrow itself. The nock should be hooked on the bowstring so that it can hold itself.
The arrow rest should hold the other end of the arrow — you should never touch the arrow.
Furthermore, ensure that you are never dry firing a bow.
If you don’t know what dry firing is, it basically means to pull the strings of the bow and shoot it without an arrow.
Not only can this be harmful to the archer, but also it can weaken your bow, and in some cases, even break it.
Where can You Practice?
Okay, so far, you’ve decided the type of bow, arrow, and archery you are interested in. You are ready with all the measurements and know your dominant eye.
And you have already gotten yourself all the fancy accessories and are ready to shoot, but then the question occurs…
Where the hell can you shoot an arrow? That too safely?
The answer is simple; you have to visit archery clubs.
Seriously, all you have to do is a simple google search “Archery clubs near me,” and voila!
Archery clubs have outdoor and indoor ranges with many targets and courses for most of the archery types.
Alternatively, you can also check in with colleges and schools to see if they offer any archery clubs or not.
In case you are practicing on your private property, ensure that you have all the safety gear ready and are not aiming at a person.
No matter how naturally you are talented, it’s best to take lessons from an experienced archer if you are beginning.
This takes us to the next point…
How to Practice Effectively?
Nothing can beat the experience you get from a professional archer. They can really help you understand your stance, posture, and body position while also improving your basics.
Like any other sports, mastering the basics is imperative in archery.
If you are struggling to find a good or experienced archer, you can also watch videos; they are a great way to learn and master basics. However, they are just a temporary replacement for basic instructions, so do keep that in mind.
Archery requires a lot of commitment and discipline to learn and a whole lot of practice to get at the professional level.
The more you practice, the better you get at it, just like any other sport. There are no shortcuts; you’ll have to put in gazillions of hours to reach the excellence level.
But What if I don’t have enough time?
Well, even though you have many obligations vying for your time, you can manage your time.
Whether it be 30 minutes or 1 hour, just try to practice daily and consistently.
Remember, consistency is the key.
If you don’t, you’ll also receive many health benefits like improved focus, reduced stress, and increased energy.
As long as you have the proclivity to improve and practice, you’ll be a better archer each passing day.
Now You’re Off a Better Start!
Now that you are familiar with the bows, arrows, accessories, measurements, and some basics, we think you are at a good start to get into archery.
So get excited; the experience you’re going to get is going to be exhilarating.
Archery is a fun, ancient, diverse, and exciting sport.
So whether you wanna go pro or just want to purely for fun, either way, you’re going to love the sport absolutely.
If you have enrolled in archery, no matter where you go with your practice, just remember that you are now a part of an activity that humans used to practice for more than a thousand years.
And that, my friend, is the best way to reminisce about the paleolithic era and our ancestors.
That’s it, folks. We hope that you found something useful or at the very least interesting from our guide, and if you did, make sure to share it with all your future archers.
Should you have any qualms? Just comment them down. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
My name is Walter Williams, and I’m a bowhunting addict. That’s right, I said addict. After my father gave me my first Samick Sage bow at age 17 my love for this hunting discipline has continued to grow.