Thousands of years ago the ability to shoot a bow and arrow was necessary for survival. The use of the bow was widespread. Its main use was for hunting and warfare. The Asiatics, Europeans and American Indians used the bow and arrow in warfare for centuries. The bow remained significant until the gun displaced it. Only with the development of gun powder and the use of iron (later forms of steel were to replace iron) did the bow and arrow disappear as a weapon of protection and warfare.
Drawings and sketches made on rocks in caves indicate the extent to which the bow and arrow were used. Animals of various descriptions were drawn on the walls of caves and cliffs in the Mediterranean lands, the Near East and in North Africa. The Hebrews used the bow and added strings to it and made a crude harp. When it comes to Greeks, they used the bow and arrow as a symbol of love –associated then with Diana and Cupid. William Tell’s use of the cross bow and Robin Hood’s use of the English Longbow have become legendary in our time. They have been the basis for opera and motion picture films.
The older bows of our ancestors were not very accurate weapons. The user’s inaccuracy was compensated for by having the archers shoot volleys of arrows at what appeared to be the best time to do the most damage to the enemy. The American Indian was not a very accurate shot with a bow. His success with the weapon was possible because he could stalk the game and the enemy exceptionally well. Close shots taken at a few feet were the rule with the American Indian.
Today, the more primitive peoples of Africa, South America and the East Indies Islands are the remaining peoples using the bow and arrow as a means of getting food and for self-defense. The European and American sports enthusiast may hunt exclusively with a bow, but he does so because of a specialized interest.
Archery was first fostered as a post by King Charles II of England in 1671 and for years afterward it flourished among the European countries. Its popularity took hold in America early in the nineteenth century and led to the organization in Philadelphia in 1828 of the first archery club. Equipment originally was imported from England. But after the Civil War, with increased interest in the skill of the sport, Americans constructed their own equipment.
In 1879, the National Archery Association was founded in Crawfordsville, Indiana and held its pioneer national tournament in Chicago. This Association has established the rules for target archery and annually fosters a national championship tournament.
Today, the NAA has a membership of over two hundred clubs with thousands of archer-members. Colleges and universities sponsor intercollegiate and interschool indoor and outdoor target meets as well as mail tournaments. The Camp Archery Association sponsors an all year round program indoor and outdoor, in which schools, Y’s, recreation clubs and camps participate. Tournaments are not only conducted on regional and national levels but also on international levels. The Olympic Bowman League conducts indoor winter mail match competition on an international basis to determine world champions. Archery ranges have been made available to thousands of enthusiastic bowmen, positive proof of the fascinating challenge of the bow and arrow.
What’s Waiting For You In Part 2:
Archery equipment has kept pace with the number of arches. Tackle nowadays is of the highest caliber ever. Any bow or arrow is not only the result of centuries of experience but also the product of high-level engineering.