About Archery

Archery Safety

Handling your bow

Never draw your bow and point it at someone else, even if it does not have an arrow nocked.

Do not nock an arrow and draw your bow until you are standing on the shooting line and the signal to begin shooting is given.

Do not ‘dry fire’ your bow without an arrow. This can cause shock which can damage your bow.

If you misfire or drop an arrow forward of the shooting line, do not step forward to pick it up until the signal to stop shooting has been given. Seek permission from the range official to fire the arrow. Always aim directly at the target. Never fire an arrow up into the air.

Always check that your line of sight to the target, and the area to either side and behind the target is clear before you shoot.

When you have finished shooting an end, step back from the shooting line until the other archers have finished and the signal to stop shooting is given.

When stringing your bow, make sure the string is properly fitted in the notches at the tips of the bow.

Wear an armguard to protect your forearm from the string on release.

Before and during shooting check that your bow and string is in good condition, is properly set up and your arrows are not damaged.

When moving about the range, do not pass in front of archers who are shooting.

When walking to the target to retrieve arrows, and when searching for grounded arrows around the target, be careful you do not stray into the line of fire from archers shooting at the next target.

Do not shoot if you are affected by alcohol or drugs. Taking alcohol or drugs during shooting is strictly forbidden.

Handling arrows

Carry your arrows with the points towards the ground.

Do not run while carrying arrows.

When approaching the target look out for arrows that may have fallen short in front of the target.

Stand to one side of the target while pulling out arrows.

Do not hand an arrow point first to another archer.

Check your arrows after each end.

Do not shoot an arrow that has a damaged nock or shaft or shows signs of fracture or splitti

Key Bow Parts

Riser – the stiff central part of the bow, also known as the handle.

Limbs – the curved, springy arms that power the bow.

Back of the bow – the face of the bow closest to the target.

Front of the bow – face of the bow pointing towards the archer.

Bowstring – usually made of synthetic fibres, looped at each end to fit over the limb tips and wrapped with thread (serving) at the loops and the centre of the string where the arrow is fitted.

Nocking point – a marker (brass ring, tape or dental floss) on the string to mark the point where the arrow is nocked – usually located at a point ¼” to 3/8″ above square in relation to the arrow rest.

Draw length – distance between the back of the bow and the string at full draw. Brace height – the distance in inches between the front of the bow (inside edge of the handle and the string). Brace heights vary with the length of the bow and range.

Bow weight – this figure will usually be marked by the manufacturer on the bottom limb and is the pull needed to draw the bow to a draw length of 28 inches. Bow weights for recurves typically range from 28 lbs to 45 lbs. Bow weights for compounds are generally heavier, typically up to 65 lbs, although the maximum weight allowed for target competition is 60lbs.

Arrow rest – small supporting arm made of plastic or stiff wire (spring or magnetic operated) on the side of the riser on which the arrow rests.

Pressure Button – a spring loaded button mounted in the riser which dampens arrow flex on release.

Sight – an adjustable arm with an aperture containing a sight pin.

Stabilizers – usually a combination of a long rod extending in front of the bow and two shorter rods extending backwards which balance the bow, absorb shock on release and stops the bow from torquing. Stabilizers may be fitted with additional shock absorbers known as doinkers. Small stabilizers can also be fitted to the riser.

V-bar – a V-shaped fitting screwed to the back of the bow to which stabilizers are attached.


General Archery Information

Recurve Bows:

Recurve bows come in either one-piece or take-down (can be dismantled) versions. Take-down bows consist of the central riser (or handle) and the limbs which power the bow. Recurves can be made of wood or consist of a metal riser with limbs of wood, fiberglass or carbon fiber. The tips of the limbs point away from the archer when the bow is drawn. The recurve bow is used in Olympic competition.

Compound Bows:

Compound bows are shorter in length than recurves and have cams (pulleys) at the end of the limbs. These cams provide ‘let-off’ in the draw – the bow string is harder to draw at first, then becomes easier. This makes it easier to hold the bow at full draw. Compound bows can also be fitted with accessories not legal on recurve bows – magnified sights and peep sights on the bowstring – and are usually used with a release aid (a rope attached to a trigger mechanism). Compounds are not used in the Olympics but are allowed in other competitions.

Traditional Bows:

Longbows are similar to the bows used by medieval English archers and the North American Indians. The arrow is shot off the bow hand. The bow is generally D-shaped in section and can be made from one piece of wood or a series of laminations. Flat bows are similar to long bows but are generally flat in section. Many have a shelf on which the arrow rests. Mongolian bows are shorter and more curved in appearance and are derived from the bows widely used across Asia, Eastern Europe (Hungary) and the Middle East (Turkey). Mongolian bows were composite bows made from wood, bone, horn and leather glued together and modern reproductions follow a similar construction.

About Arrows

Shaft – made of aluminum, carbon fiber or wood for traditional shooting.

Point – a metal tip either screwed or glued into the shaft.

Nock – a plastic notch that fits onto the bow string.

Vanes (also known as fletchings)– three (usually) plastic ‘wings’ that keep the arrow true in flight (turkey feathers are used for traditional shooting). The vanes may be curved so the arrow spins.

Cock Vane – the vane that sits at right angles to the arrow when nocked.

Hen Vanes – the other two vanes.

Arrow Length – measured in inches from the back of then point to the bottom of the nock notch.

Wooden arrows are usually used by those shooting traditional bows such as English longbows.

Aluminum arrows are good, all purpose arrows for beginners. They can be straightened if bent.

Carbon fibre arrows are more expensive, lighter, thinner and fly faster and straighter.


Basic Archery Accessories

Finger tab – a leather and metal aid to drawing the string without hurting your fingers.

Arm guard – a leather or plastic guard for the forearm to protect it from being hit by the bow string.

Chest guard – a mesh semi-vest to prevent the string catching on clothing.

Finger sling – a loop around the bow-hand to prevent the bow falling on release. These come in a variety of styles and can be either purchased from an archery retailer or home-made.

Quiver – arrow container

How the Target Scores

An ‘end’ comprises 6 arrows. Points are scored as follows:

Gold Rings – 10/9

Red Rings – 8/7

Blue Rings – 6/5

Black Rings – 4/3

White Rings – 2/1

Arrows which land in the inner circle of the 10 are marked X – they carry 10 points but will decide the outcome if there is a dead-heat – where the archers finish with the same score, the archer with the most X’s wins. It is also worth pointing out that when an arrow cuts the line between two rings the higher score is recorded.