Everyone is more or less familiar with archery. This sport is based on trying to hit a target using arrows propelled by a bow.
For centuries the bow was a weapon of hunting and war that evolved and developed in different ways depending on the area of the world. Finally, with the arrival of firearms, they became obsolete and relegated to the sports practice.
What is Needed and What Does It Consist Of
Permits and Obligations to Practice Archery or to Transport a Bow
What Do you Need to Have to Practice Archery?
There are two types of permits and obligations to practice archery or to transport a bow. On the one hand, there is the federative card that every archer must have and on the other hand, there is the bow transport card.
This is necessary because the bow is considered a weapon and therefore certain permits and accreditations are required, although less restrictive than in the case of firearms.
To transport a bow, you must own a bow transport card, usually issued by stores or establishments that sell archery equipment.
How to Obtain a License or Sports Card for Archery?
To obtain the sports card we must take a course of approximately 15 to 30 hours (depending on each club) in which we will learn the basic techniques of archery as well as safety measures that we must use when practicing this sport. And request it through the corresponding form with the support of the instructor who has given us the archery course and always through a club.
You will have to get information from the club in which you register since the price changes every year as well as the price of the initiation course of each club which will depend on the number of hours of the course.
What Type of Bow Should I Use as a Beginner?
This depends on each person and the bow that feels more comfortable or that you like the most. It is best to try both or alternate to see which one you like best. Although you can always use both and many people combine them.
People more focused on competition or target shooting, usually use recurve bows, as they are designed to be more accurate than the others. On the other hand, for those interested in hunting, it is more common to see the compound bow.
But these are very general aspects, as you can imagine, there are competitions also for compound bows for target shooting, so it is up to you to decide since with both you are going to be able to compete and do the same aspects.
Bows Tips for Beginners
Let’s take a look at the bows that are most recommended and best for people starting. Since the bow can make your experience very good or very bad in this sport.
For recurve bows, we generally suggest the Samick Sage recurve bow. It’s easy to use, easy to set up, and easy to customize: you can add an arrow rest and bow sight without too much effort. Plus, it’s a “detachable” bow, which means that if you want to increase or decrease the strength of the bow, you can remove the limbs and install new ones.
When it comes to compound bows, we like the original Genesis kit. It’s a great option for people of all ages, and it has a fairly variable adjustable draw weight, making it easy to use. That’s good because compound bows can be tricky at first. It also comes with some equipment: a quiver, an armed guard, five aluminum arrows, and a hex key that you can use to adjust the bow’s weight.
You have to take into consideration Genesis Original is not strong enough for hunting, you usually need a bow with a draw weight of 18 kg or more when you are hunting, and the maximum draw weight of Genesis Original is 9 kg, so if you are a new archer looking for a hunting bow, we generally recommend the RAPTOR compound hunting bow kit. It lasts a long time and has a draw weight of 18 kg, which is what you need for hunting, and it comes very well equipped.
Sizing: How to Buy the Right Size Bow
There are two main measurements you’re going to have to keep in mind: draw length and draw weight. Let’s see what each one is.
Drawing length. The first measurement, draw length, is how far you can comfortably pull the bowstring. Draw length is important because to make accurate shots, you must pull the bowstring the same distance for every shot, every time you shoot. Taller people usually have a long draw length, and shorter people usually have a shorter draw length.
Here are Two Ways to Determine your Draw Length:
1) Go to an archery specialty store and have an archery technician measure you with a tool called a “draw length indicator shaft.” The tool looks like a very long arrow, but it has measurements, and the bow tech will be able to determine your draw length by using it.
2) Just take your height, in inches, and divide by 2.5. If you are six feet tall, for example, that means you are 72 inches tall (6 feet x 12 inches = 72 inches), and 72 divided by 2.5 = 28.8. So, if he is six feet tall, he would select a bow with a draw length of 29 inches (draw length is measured in full inches, so he would round up from 28.8 to 29). Take your height in inches and divide by 2.5 is remarkably accurate, and it seems to work for most people.
Draw weight. This is the second measurement you’re going to have to consider when buying a bow. Draw weight is a measure, in kg or pounds you can find it, of how hard the drawstring is to pull. A bow with a draw weight of 4 kg will be very easy to pull and shoot, and a bow with a draw weight of 22 kg or more will be more difficult to pull and shoot.
As a general rule, children close to 18 years old are good with a weight close to 2 to 9 kg. People between 18 to 21 years old will usually move a draw weight of 6 to 13 kg. If we go to people older than 22 years, the pulling weight goes from 11 kg forward. These are general numbers and depend on the strength and practice that each person has. But with these parameters, you can get an idea of your draw weight.
Recurve bows usually have a “fixed” draw weight, while many compound bows have an adjustable draw weight, and you can adjust the draw weight to make them heavier or lighter, so you may want to keep that in mind if you are buying your first bow.
Before we finish, there’s another important factor to consider before buying a bow, and that’s the hand you’re going to use it with. Generally, you will most likely be right-handed and use a right-handed bow, but in case you are left-handed, you should use a left-handed bow. Basically, with a left-handed bow, you use your left hand to draw the bowstring, and your right hand to hold the bow.
Additional Equipment for Bows
Archery is a sport that requires equipment other than the bow, so you’re going to need extra tools and items to enjoy the sport before you start. So let’s take a look at things you’re going to need.
We’ll start with the most important piece of equipment first: arm guards. This is a piece of protective gear you use for whatever bow you’re using, and it protects your inner arm from getting caught in the bowstring after releasing an arrow. Believe it or not, it can be very painful to have the string hit your arm, even causing bruising. There are many good protectors to buy that will do a great job of protecting your arm.
Bow throws for recurves are fairly simple, but most people use a glove. Bow releases for compounds get more complex, but the option we generally recommend for beginners is the TruFire Edge Foldback release. It has a trigger release that feels fairly natural, has a double gripper designed to improve accuracy, and attaches to your wrist, making it easier for beginners.
As we’ve said before, these types of tools are for better aiming. Recurve bows usually don’t come with this sight, and we prefer the Recurve Bow Sight, as it’s simple to set up, easy to use, and you can adjust it after every shot. Compound bows often come with a bow sight, but if your bow of choice does not, we like the Archery Essentials Bow Sight. Bow sights for compound bows can be super fancy, but this is an easy-to-use and easy model to adjust.
There are many different types of quivers available: hip quivers, back quivers, and quivers that you can attach directly to your riser, but the most common for target shooting are wooden quivers, and we like the Easton Flipside hip quiver. It clips easily to your belt or pants, has compartments for tools or whatever, and comfortably holds a dozen arrows.
You couldn’t miss what you shoot, and since it’s the most important thing after the bow, let’s look at it in a little more depth.
There are three main types of arrows: wood, carbon, and aluminum. Each has specific qualities and specific uses:
These are great for beginners and can be used by people shooting from a recurve bow, as well as people shooting from a compound bow. If you go to the range, aluminum arrows will probably be available.
If you go to the range, aluminum arrows will probably be prevalent.
These are popular with hunters and are very popular with people using compound bows (although you can also use them with a recurve).
The classic arrow. If you decide to get into traditional archery, you’ll love wooden arrows, and eventually, get around to making your own. That’s very nice. You can use wooden arrows with a recurve bow, but since they are more delicate than aluminum and carbon, you should not use them with a compound bow, since, as mentioned above, compound bows push arrows with incredible force and wooden arrows cannot always withstand the pressure of a compound bow.
These are some words that are often used when talking about arrows and that are interesting to know:
This is the pointed part at the front of an arrow. Arrowheads come in different weights and different shapes.
This is the length of the arrow, the part between the arrowhead and the bend.
These are the vanes on an arrow; sometimes they are made of feathers (this is good for target practice) and sometimes they are made of plastic (and this is good for hunting). There is usually one vane on the arrow that is a different color than the other two vanes, and it is called the index vane.
Make notches in. This is the forked back end of the arrow, which fits into the bowstring.
Believe it or not, arrows are one of the most complex aspects of the sport of archery, because every bow company that makes arrows has different weighting systems, measuring systems, etc. So it is complicated to compare them sometimes.
Parts of a Bow: The Basics
Before we get off the subject of bows, here are some terms you’re going to hear when I talk about bows. The following parts refer to both recurve and compound bows:
This is the handle of the bow; it’s what you have when you shoot.
These are attached to the riser; they form the actual bow, with the upper limb attached by the bowstring to the lower limb. You will often hear the term “takedown bow” when talking about recurve bows; this is a bow where you can detach the old limbs and replace them with newer, heavier limbs. Knockdown bows are great for beginners because you can put new limbs on the bow as you develop strength and accuracy.
This is the string that connects the upper limb to the lower limb.
A point on the string. This is the point on the bowstring where you place the end of the arrow. The string point must remain in the same place, so you can aim and shoot consistently.
The Bow Sight
The bow’s sight is sort of like the scope on a rifle: after adjusting it properly, the sight allows you to aim at your target. Most bows come with sights, but some archers opt for an upgrade.
How to do Archery: Some Introductory Rules
Archery is practiced by adults and children all over the world, and when everyone follows proper safety precautions, it can be a very entertaining hobby.
There are a few rules to keep in mind to avoid problems or incidences.
Always follow the rules of your range. Your range has rules, and you need to learn and follow them.
Always shoot with proper form. Archery is a sport based on repetition: if you shoot incorrectly, you can get hurt.
Wear proper clothing. Put another way, DO NOT wear clothing that could interfere with your shooting and injure you or others. Loose clothing and loose jewelry are unnoticeable, as are open-toed shoes, and you should keep long hair tied back.
Damaged equipment is dangerous equipment. Do not shoot arrows that are broken or damaged, and always check your bow to make sure it is in top shape;
Wear proper protective gear. That will usually mean arm guards and bow releases, but if you’re playing Archery Tag, it means helmet (and whatever else you require for your range).
Never dry fire your bow. “Dry firing” is pulling the bowstring and releasing it without an arrow and is something you should not do. Doing so can damage the bow and send parts (sometimes sharp parts) flying everywhere, and that also makes it dangerous for you, and just aim at the target. Always operate with the idea that you will hit what you aim at, so only aim at the target and never aim the bow, drawn or not, at anything you don’t want to hit.