Some people might picture medieval times or fantasy films when they think of archery, but it is a common pastime that just about anyone can enjoy. Whether for sport, hunting or recreation, modern archery is a versatile activity enjoyed by more than 20 million Americans, according to recent estimates. If you are considering trying archery, here is some general information about the sport to help get you started.
What are the Different Types of Archery?
Like many other hobbies, there are different types of archery. The kind you choose dictates which bow and other equipment you may need.
Target archery is a relatively self-explanatory activity. Archers shoot at stationary targets from specific distances at a shooting range or another wide-open, flat area. It is popular among beginners because the stationary targets can be set up just about anywhere, indoors or outdoors.
Target archery’s popularity is not limited to first-timers — it is also an internationally recognized competitive sport. Not only is it an event at the summer Olympics, but groups like USA Archery and the National Field Archery Association host tournaments year-round.
Target archers use many kinds of bows, including:
- Traditional longbows
- Recurve bows
- Compound bows
Field archery is like target archery, only the targets are strategically placed throughout a roving course in a wooded area. Archers navigate the course – often in groups – shooting targets on steep slopes, at varying unmarked distances and in challenging terrain.
This type of archery is popular for those looking to challenge their abilities and improve their 3D or target proficiency. Field archers most commonly use compound bows, though recurves and traditional longbows are also good options. All field archers use arrows with field tips.
An archer who eventually wants to bag game might want to try 3D archery. It is similar to field archery, but the targets are foam replicas of bucks and other game. Targets are marked with rings – areas closer to vital organs are worth more points.
Like field archery, targets are placed throughout a wooded course to better replicate the authentic hunting experience. While 3D archery was originally intended to allow hunters to keep skills sharp, it has since become more popular in the competitive archery scene.
If ancient bows and arrows pique your interest, consider traditional archery. This refers to the bow style rather than the targets. These bows are stripped of modern advancements like sights, stabilizers and other equipment. Instead, archers rely almost entirely on their skills to hit the bullseye.
Some people prefer crafting their own from wood, sometimes known as a “self bow.” More complex traditional bows are available, such as composite recurves. It is rare for traditional bows to be used in competition – they are mostly used for target practice and sometimes bowhunting.
Bowhunting is the oldest form of archery. It refers to game hunting with any kind of bow. Some consider bow hunting to be more challenging and enjoyable than hunting with a rifle for reasons such as:
- Bow season is longer than rifle season
- Bows require different skills
- Bows are quieter
- Bows level the playing field
Keep in mind that bowhunting requires a state-issued license and is only permitted certain times of the year, typically from late September through early November.
Which Type of Bow is Right for You?
- Recurve – These bows are used by Olympic athletes. They closely resemble ancient bows but are made from composite materials and include additional equipment, such as sights and risers. Recurves may also be known as “takedown” bows because they can be broken down into three pieces for easier transportation.
- Crossbow – Crossbows are essentially horizontal bows on a frame. The frame is like a rifle with a stock, trigger and handle, and is held against the shoulder. They have a longer firing distance and are more accurate than recurve and compound bows.
- Compound – Compound bows use multiple strings and one or two pulley systems on the ends to create a lighter “let-off” point. This refers to the weight created while the string is drawn. Compound let-off points can be as little as 65 percent of the full draw weight, making them easier to aim for long periods of time.
- Traditional – Traditional bows are the classic variety you may have seen in movies, though they are far from Hollywood fiction. They are rarely equipped with accessories and usually consist of just the string and bow itself. They can be a longbow or recurve – a longbow will have straight tips and a recurve will have curved ones.
3D Archery at JL Bar Ranch & Resort
If you want the most authentic archery experience possible, consider visiting JL Bar Ranch & Resort. Our 3D archery course is set on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country, making for a secluded and scenic environment. We have all the equipment and expertise you need to have a great time. You can schedule time at the archery range or make a weekend out of it and take advantage of all our other amenities and activities.
For more information, call (855) 414-3337 today or contact us online.