What Is Archery?

It would be hard today to find a person that didn't know what archery was. It has been around for most of human existence. It is estimated that it is as old as 15,000 years old. Archery is known as the practicing of firing an arrow from a bow. It was originally devised for hunting in ancient times and became essential for hunters in tracking down and killing food.

It was likely much later that it started to become used for warfare. We know that it began to become highly used in the middle ages. ​Soon enough it became one of the driving forces in wars because of the ability to attack enemies without much loss on your end. This continued up until the invention of the gun. Once guns came around archery for warfare took a backseat to a much more suitable tool.

Today you mostly see archery in recreation. There are several sports now where you can find it. Here are the most popular forms that you will find today.

Target Archery​

If you have played darts you are probably going to fairly familiar with how this works. When competing in target archery you line up with a target that has several rings around in. Each ring is worth a certain amount of points. The smallest circle in the middle gives you the most points, while each larger circle around it becomes worth less as you begin moving from the center. The archer stands at a set distance away from the target and fires a number of arrows at the target. You can usually deterime he point value by the color of the ring.​ You can usually find target archery at indoor arenas and will typically take place in winters.

Field Archery

The next type of archery we will talk about is field archery.​ It is different in target archery in that you don't typically shoot at regular targets. You can often find targets that look like birds, animals, and other assorted wildlife. It usually takes place outdoors, often times being in wooded areas to mimic a hunting environment. Each target will have it's own scoring zone, and doesn't have a set direction to shoot from. You will be able to score differently by firing from different angles.

You will also find targets at varying distances. In one round you may not be set to a certain distance and be required to be able to shoot at different ranges. This is enjoyable for several more people as it adds more variety to a competition. A round consists of an archer taking several shots at the different targets through the course. Once done, the points are tallied up and compared to the other shooters.

Archery Tag

Archery tag is fairly new in the world of archery. If you are familiar with dodge ball then you won't have too hard of a time picking up on the rules. You split up into two teams and take different sides of the field. The field has several different areas for cover and several targets setup throughout. ​When the game starts you begin by firing at the opposing team. You get somebody out by hitting them with an arrow.

Like dodgeball though people can come back in. If you catch an opposing player's arrow, they get someone back in while you get put out. Likewise - if you knock off one of the opposing player's targets then you can bring a player back in. ​

To determine the winner you will be adding up points. You will get one point by getting an player out. You will get two for knocking out an opposing player's target. Matches typically last 5-10 minutes so that is plenty of time to rack up some score. If you are looking to play you will need to find an archery tag field near you. There are special bows created for the game to make it safe, so getting at a verified arena is necessary if you want to play it safe.​

Types of Bows​

​Throughout the years there have been a few different types of bows created. They range from traditional, like you would see in ancient times, to more advanced designed for competition and incorporating new technology to get the most out of them. Here is a brief run down of the main four types.


A longbow is the more traditional type of bow. It is what you would typically see in the middle ages during warfare. While they are old, they are some of the best out there. On top of that you can find craftsmen that really design and create some of the most beautiful custom bows that you can find. One of the defining characteristics of a longbow is the bow string. You will find that it won't touch any other part of the bow except for the string nooks used to attach it. You will also usually find a half-moon shape. It is usually thin in width and has a lot of depth to it. 

If you are starting out then you have a slight advantage here. Because of the width, the torque applied to the bow when pulling the string doesn't cause the limbs to bend as much. This causes the arrow to fly much straighter. This can be an advantage when you are newer while you are still developing proper form. It is always good to get some wins early to keep you motivated. 

Of course a typical longbow doesn't have an arrow rest. Other bow types usually have these to make things easier for the shooter, but true to form you won't find it here. Besides this though, there isn't too much more to say. A longbow is a pretty simple bow that doesn't have much complexity to it. We recommend one for any level of archer to try. They are a lot of fun to shoot.

Recurve Bow

A recurve bow is very similar to a traditional longbow, but there are a few key differences. The biggest one that you will see is the way the limbs are made. It shares the basic shape of the longbow as a half-moon, but as the limbs start to approach the top and bottom, they curve. This difference in shape gives a recurve bow more power than a longbow. With these changes, it makes the recurve bow less forgiving than a longbow. The difference in width makes the arrow harder to keep straight because you can now torque the limbs, so you really have to be spot on with your aim.

This can make a recurve bow more difficult for a beginner to approach, but if you really focus on nailing your form from the very beginning it is probably worth it for the increase in power. Another noticeable difference here is the string. Unlike the longbow it will actually touch a section of the limb and not just the nooks for it.​ You will also find that it is shorter. A longbow is typically as long as you are, but since a recurve stores more energy, it requires much less height. It makes it more effective to maneuver width if you happen to be on a hunting trip. If you are looking for more of a challenge to learn, try one of these out.

Compound Bow​

The compound bow is a more recent development in the archery world, and it is quite a bit different than a recurve and longbow. Instead of relying only on the bow for energy, it uses a system with something called cams to help store energy for the bow to give it power. These cams are very useful as once the shooter takes aim and reaches a let-off point, the draw weight of the bow becomes much less so you can take longer to aim and not use as much energy.

​If you are used to a recurve or longbow then you are probably used to unstringing it whenever it isn't in use. With a compound bow, this isn't necessary at all. You will keep it stringed all of the time. You will also find an arrow rest with these bows. This takes some of the pressure off of the archer as you don't have to be worried about making sure the arrow is straight when you are sighting. This isn't all there is too it though. There are a ton of other options you can begin adding to these to make them even better. These seem to be the most popular type of bows out there now, so they are definitely worth looking into.


​The crossbow is a more modern version of the bow. It is considered more useful depending on your situation as once it is loaded, it stays loaded without any extra effort from the shooter. This is good if you want to line up a really good shot. The drawback to this is that it will take more effort and time to load the bolt up. This is situational for most people, so take this into consideration when deciding to buy a crossbow. 

These days, crossbows are especially useful for hunting. It makes it much easier for hunting, being able to set up a shot before hand and not have to worry about holding it as you aim to fire your bolt. If you are hunting big game that is easily spooked this can be very useful as it is easier to remain silent as you move around. It is also common to see hunting accessories on them. There are a number of crossbow scopes you can attach to yours to make your hunting easier.

There are actually two types of crossbows. They are recurve and compound. A recurve will have it's tips curve away from the shooter. With the ways the limbs are connected to the main body, it stores more energy than a compound crossbow, so it is ideal for someone looking for more FPS. With a compound, you will find shorter limbs that don't curve away. It usually has a more simple cocking mechanism to make the archer's life easier. This is great if you tend to stay in cramped areas.

There are a lot of things to look for when picking out a crossbow. Make sure to look into all of the facts before making your choice.