Archery became very popular in the last few years, all over the world. As it turns out, a huge number of people would like to master the skill of operating bow and arrows. It’s an attractive thought knowing how to hunt with weaponry our ancestors relied on. But the thing is, there’s a lot you need to know first regarding archery basics. So we decided to present you with a thorough guide to archery that should be very helpful if you are into this subject. We are going to start with how to get into archery, after which we will analyze all crucial aspects of bows and arrows, and in the end, you will be able to find some practical archery tips for beginners.
How to Get into Archery?
So, you would like to become a fierce bow shooter, but there’s just one problem, you have zero experience. That’s okay, there’s still hope for you. The first thing you should do, and that’s what all the archery experts suggest, is to go to a local archery shop and gather some information from their personnel. These people are the treasury of knowledge when it comes to this topic, and they will be glad to introduce you with the elemental things about this warrior discipline.
Since you will most definitely need some lessons, find out what’s a good archery program and who is the best instructor in your town. It is very important to have an experienced and well-educated person on your side when you start learning archery because basics are everything in this world, and if you master them properly, you will be able, with time, to conquer this category.
The second crucial thing – don’t rush to buy your equipment, rent it at first. High-quality bow, arrows, and all other necessary stuff you may need will cost a certain amount of money, so you don’t want to make a mistake there. Your equipment needs to fit you perfectly. That way, you should take your time, try the rental, learn on it, and afterward, you can start thinking about investing in your own archery gear.
Be patient. Things don’t happen overnight. It will take time for you to learn how to have a proper posture, how to calm your hands, to focus on the target, and aim with great precision. The whole process will depend on your head-eye-hand coordination, and your physical strength needs to be on an adequate level. And remember that safety is the number one priority, so make sure to master that area first.
Bows and Arrows for Beginners
Nobody can tell you what the best bow for you as a beginner is. The truth is, you will have to try several different types so you can decide and determine which one suits you ideally. It is the matter of shooting style and the intention that stands behind it. If you would like to simply practice target shooting and nothing else, a recurve bow might be a great solution. But if you are interested in archery because you want to go hunting one day, then the compound bow is probably the one you should be looking for. Bear in mind that draw length and draw weight are the things you need to consider as well. In the matter of arrows, aluminum ones are perfect for beginners because you need to practice, and they are pretty durable, they won’t break easily.
The Two Main Types of Bows
The very first thing you need to purchase when the time comes, besides archery targets, is the bow. The quality of the bow is super important since it can improve your performance in shooting significantly, and it can provide you with much-wanted consistency. Here are two types of bows that are most popular and most commonly used by both beginners and experienced shooters.
1. Recurve Bows
Recurve bows are very practical to use because they don’t need much tuning, but it is important to get your measurements right. They are usually being used for target shooting by beginners, and also by professional Olympic competitors, but it’s not rare that experienced hunters decide to make a recurve bow their weapon of choice. Their simplicity is their biggest advantage, and they have an elegant, graceful design. Thanks to the way the recurve bow is constructed, with a curve that exists even when the bow is unstrung, the great amount of energy can be stored there and transferred to the arrow.
2. Compound Bows
Compound bows have a more complicated structure than recurve bows. They are a bit more difficult to tune, and you probably won’t be able to do it yourself, without the help of an expert. But if they are set perfectly, they can provide you with great accuracy, and they will be very easy to use. The compound bow is the favorite among hunters because of its speed and great force it can offer. If you take a look at a bow of this type, you will see there are rounded wheels on both ends that hold the drawstring. Those are the cams, and they are one of the main reasons the force of the bow can multiply and provide you with a strong and powerful output.
Parts of a Bow: The Basics
Archery for beginners can be tricky, so we decided that it’s necessary to include an explanation of parts of your weapon. We are talking about archery basics, so prepare yourself for the first lesson – parts of a bow.
- Riser – The first thing we need to comment on is the riser of the bow that you will hold with your hand when you become ready to shoot. It connects two limbs, the upper and lower part, and it houses the arrow rest. It also features the grip and sight window. The arrow rest is the spot where you will place the back of your arrow when you draw the string. It will provide a good balance to your arrow, and it will help you with aiming part. The sight window is a spot through which you will be looking in order to fixate the aim on your target, and a grip is a place where your hand goes.
- Nock – The nock or nocking point is the small metal part that is located in the middle of the bowstring, and it’s the place where you need to attach the back of your arrow because it will hold the arrow level properly. It will allow the arrow to rest on its place, on a string, when you start drawing it and aiming at the target.
- Limbs – Limbs are two bent sides of a bow that are connected with a riser. They need to be set up and attached correctly in order for the bow to perform well. Limbs can be made from different materials, metal, and wood mostly, and they are often laminated with fiberglass or some other similar substance.
- Bowstring – Bowstring is a thread that holds both sides of the limbs connected. It’s the movable part of the bow, and it can be made from various materials. It will provide force for the arrow when being shot, and it’s the part you need to draw. The bowstring is a part where the nocking point is placed.
How to Choose Arrows?
When it comes to choosing bows and arrows for beginners, it is essential to get to know all their main characteristics and to pick those that are most reliable, durable, and easy to use. After we finished with bows, it is time to explain to you what are the main parts of arrows, and what are the terms we use to describe their performance. If you wonder how to learn archery, it’s by knowing all about your tools and gear.
Fletchings are the part of an arrow that has its place on the backside, and that’s the part that stabilizes arrows during the flight. They can be made from vanes and feathers. Vanes are actually created from plastic, and they are suitable for compound bows. They are very popular and often used because they are super durable and waterproof. Those made of feathers are more delicate, but they will offer you a significant amount of stability and accuracy. Traditional archers prefer using them, as well as competitive indoor shooters. They are not waterproof, but if you use specially designed sprays and powders, they can be water-resistant.
Arrow Shaft Materials
Arrows can be made of wood, aluminum, and carbon. Those designed from wood are the most traditional ones, but since they can easily break, they are not suitable for beginners and shooters that prefer using a compound bow that will push them with a great amount of force. The aluminum arrows are the most common ones. They are super durable and have a long lifespan, so both beginners and experienced archers tend to use them. They are suitable for compound and recurve bows, and if you are into target practicing, you should definitely choose them. The last ones made of carbon are the best hunting arrows, and only people with a considerable amount of knowledge in this field should make them their choice.
The spine is a measurement that shows the arrow’s ability to flex. The manufacturer will always mention the spine number, so you can know what to expect from an arrow. The rule is – the higher the number is, the more flexible arrow will be. It is important to be consistent with your arrows, which means using only the ones with the same spin so you can improve your performance over time. It is not recommended to mix them up. If you own a bow with heavy draw weight, you will need stiffer arrows, and in case of a bow with lower draw weight, more flexible arrows should be your choice.
If you are thinking about doing this professionally, you need to pay attention to this detail. Your bowstring and arrow nock need to perfectly fit. When you place your arrow on the nocking point, it has to easily click onto the bowstring, so it can be released with a light tap only. But make sure the nock is not too tight, because in that case, the release of an arrow will have a certain amount of hold-up, which will affect its accuracy. On the other hand, if the nock is too loose, the arrow will fall off the string when you start drawing it.
The length of an arrow is also something that will affect your shooting performance. The length is measured from the throat of the nock to the back of the point. It is important to know what is your draw length in order to know how long the arrow you will need. Ideally, the arrow length should be one inch less than your draw weight, if you want your arrow to end at the front of the riser. But it can also be longer if you would like to soften its spine.
Essentials for Beginner Archers
Well written archery guide need to include all other pieces of equipment, besides bows and arrows, you may need when hunting or target practicing. That’s why this next chapter will be dedicated to the importance of having an armguard, a bow case, quiver, gloves, etc.
It’s not that rare for the bowstring to strike your firearm when you release an arrow, and that can burn quite bad. So in order to avoid that we suggest you get yourself an armguard. It’s quite an affordable piece of gear that can protect you from bowstring’s bite. It will also keep your sleeves intact and undamaged.
Having a quiver will make your job much easier since your arrows will be in one place, just at the reach of your hand. It’s a bag designed to welcome your arrows, and it can be designed to go on your back around your shoulder, on your waist attached to your belt, or there is a modern solution where a quiver can be connected to your bow.
The sight for the bow is exactly the same as what the scope for the rifle is. It is a piece of gear that doesn’t come with a bow always, so quite often you will need to purchase it separately, and then attach it to the weapon properly. It will help you aim better, and therefore have much better performance when shooting.
Releases, Tabs or Gloves
All three of these things will protect your fingers when firing an arrow. Releases or release-aids have to be attached to the bowstring, and they are triggered by the thumb and index finger. You will need to aim and squeeze them in order to launch arrows. Besides protecting you, they can improve your shooting accuracy. Tabs and gloves are being used by shooters who prefer finger releasing, and they are usually made of leather, in many sizes.
Given that bows are pretty sensitive and can be damaged easily, you should probably get a bow case, especially if you travel from your home to the shooting range quite often. There are soft and hard cases, so you can choose them according to your needs. Hard cases will offer you more protection, and they are suitable for airline traveling, but most archers prefer soft cases because they are lighter and allow you to organize additional gear better.
Tools and Other Accessories
Besides these previously mentioned items, you will probably need a few more things in order to complete your target practicing or hunting gear. There is a bow stringer that can help you stringing your longbow or recurve bow, a bow stand that can be quite useful when you are not using your weapon, a string wax that needs to be applied on a bowstring in order to protect it, and arrow lube that will increase its performance regarding releasement.
How to Practice Archery?
The easiest way to get started with archery is at archery ranges. Those are the places where you can get your first lessons and basic knowledge. The great thing is, range employees will probably make you take an introductory safety class where you will learn how to always make sure you and everybody around are safe while you are shooting. Also, shooting ranges have experts that will evaluate what the proper bow for you is, and what are the arrows that are suitable for it. They will let you rent the equipment until you are sure you are ready to invest in your own archery essentials. Another benefit of going to the local range is the fact you are going to meet some like-minded people who will probably be ready to share their experience with you and give you some advice.
Another option is to stay home and learn what you can from the Internet. There are some seriously good sites that can provide you with the perfect amount of information that will help you stop being such ignorant. Certainly, it won’t be enough, they can offer you only theoretical knowledge, so at some point, you will have to get up, go out, and search for the place where you can get a real experience.
The third solution is to get private or group lessons from an experienced instructor. That thing will cost a bit more than going to the range because you will get undivided attention from your teacher, but most people who went through it claim that it was worth it. It’s not rare that many archery shops offer group classes for both grown-ups and kids, so you should definitely consider applying to one of those.
Now that we came to the subject of kids who would like to get into the world of archery, it’s time to mention a huge number of programs that are at their disposal. We are talking about events organized through schools, camps, youth clubs, community centers, and bow hunting clubs. There’s a JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program for kids and young adults who are between 8 and 20 years old, OAS (Olympic Archer In the Schools) that will provide them with great challenges, NASP (National Archery In the Schools Program) that can offer them some basic archery knowledge, etc.
Archery Hunting Tips
In the end, it is time for some archery tips, especially if we are talking about archery hunting for beginners. Let’s see what you need to know and implement if you want to be a successful bowhunter.
First and foremost, you always need to have the right posture, otherwise, you risk injuring yourself or damaging the equipment. Second, always wear appropriate clothes. Stay away from the clothing that can interfere and affect your shooting. Third – use protective gear. It is important to have an armguard, and gloves or bow releases in order to make sure you will not be harmed by your own weaponry. Fourth – aim only on the target. It can be quite dangerous to aim at people, for the sake of fun, because accidents can happen. And the fifth rule is – don’t dry fire your bow! That means don’t pull back the bowstring and release it without an arrow. There’s little chance you won’t damage your bow by doing so.
Patience is the key
Many experienced bow hunters will tell you that this is the most valuable advice they have ever gotten. You need to know that hunting is a game only patient ones among you will win. You need to prepare for the scenario of you staying calm and still for hours, with the possibility of going home at the end of the day without prey. And you have to forbid yourself from feeling discouraged if something like that happens.
Practice, practice, practice
There will probably be only a few seconds for you to launch your arrow towards your target in order not to miss the opportunity, so it is crucial to be sure you won’t fail. That means that you have to practice all the time, in a shooting range, or your backyard, for hours if necessary. And it would be good to do all that with the entire equipment you are going to use and wear during hunting, just as you can get the appropriate feeling on what’s going to be like, and get used to it all.
Forget about deodorant
Animals have a refined sense of smell, so they can smell you from miles away and decide not to approach. So our suggestion is – forget about deodorant and all other chemicals that will change your natural odor. Now, the way our body smells can also be a problem, so it would be ideal to wash yourself with odor-free soap that will neutralize it all, every time for a couple of days before hunting.
Now that you have all this knowledge, you can start your own archery journey. We hope the lines above were helpful, and that we provided you with all the basic information you were hoping for in order to feel free to step into the archery range and take a bow into your hands. Please be responsible, get to know all the parts bows and arrows are made of, take a safety class first, and then start practicing. You will see the progress every day, it’s just important to stay focused and encouraged. Good luck!