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The discovery of the first stone arrowheads in Africa tends to indicate that the bow and arrow were invented there, maybe as early as 50,000 BC. It was probably developed in conjunction with the invention of the spear thrower.A short bow would be a better hunting weapon when used to stalk animals in wooded areas, rather than carry around long spears. The shape of the earliest bows can only be guessed at, as broken or worn out bows would probably end up on the cooking fire, reshaped into different tools or just thrown away.
2,800 BC - The 'Composite Bow' first appears. The Egyptians further developed this type of bow. Made from wood, tipped with animal horn and held together with animal sinew and glue. The unstrung bow resembled a 'C' shape and required two people to string it. The bowstrings were made from 'catgut' obtained and made from sheep's intestines.The arrows were extremely light and when used with the composite bow, could be shot 366 meters ( 400 yards ) and the armor of the day was no protection against such weapons. The Egyptians used archers on the back of light chariots. These were organized into highly trained units able to quickly out-flank an enemy army with devastating effect.
1900 AD - Archery in Olympic Games - also in 1904, 1908 and 1920.Women were allowed to compete in the Archery event in 1904 and 1908.
1996 AD - Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. The mens gold medal is won by Justin Huish. In the teams event, the USA Mens Team won the Gold Medal, South Korea won Silver and Italy won Bronze. (Australia won fourth place.
2008 AD - Developments in materials technology will see the production of lighter and stronger bows as well as lighter and stronger arrows. Arrow speed will increase giving better accuracy over the longer distances.
Don't draw the string back except with an arrow on it and, especially, don't release the bowstring with no arrow on it. Doing so is called dry firing and can damage the bow. At practice ranges, the only safe place is behind the shooting line.Never shoot an arrow until you are positive that no one is in front of you or behind the targets.Conversely, don't stand in front of a bow while it is being shot, even if you are to one side of the shooter. Wait for a verbal approval from the Range Captain or his designee before starting to shoot. Arrows should only be nocked on the shooting line and pointed in the direction of the targets.
NEVER point a bow and arrow at another person.NEVER shoot an arrow straight up into the air. You can end up hitting another person or yourself.
NEVER shoot an arrow off into the distance where you cannot see where it will land.Again, you could end up hitting another person.
Only use archery equipment in places that are especially set up for target practice - such as indoor and outdoor target ranges. Targets should be set up to insure that no one can be accidentally hit by a stray arrow. Allow at least 20 yards behind the targets and a 30 degree 'cone of safety' on each side of the shooting lane. Try to place targets against a hill or rising terrain as a safety measure.
If you are looking for a lost arrow behind a target, always leave your bow leaning against the target face so that it will be seen by other archers coming up. If possible, have one archer from your group stand in front of the target to prevent anyone from shooting.
WALK, don't run toward the targets. Remember that the arrows are sticking out and can injure you. When pulling arrows out of a target, stand to one side and insure that no one is directly behind you.
Visualize a line from you to the target. This is your shooting line. Take an arrow and lay it on the ground along your shooting line.
Stand with your toes to the arrow shaft, shoulder width apart. Now step your front foot back about 5 to 10 inches. This is your shooting stance. You may adjust it to what feels comfortable to you.
Nock an arrow in the center of your bowstring and let the shaft of the arrow rest on the bow, just above your hand grip. Make sure the odd fletching (feather) points at a right angle to the string, and the other two angle toward it. (There are only two ways to nock the arrow, so if the single fletching points in toward the bow, reverse it.)
Hold the bowstring with your first three fingers. The string should settle in the crease of your last joint, with the nock of the arrow between your middle and index fingers. Use your thumb to help stabilize the arrow.
Hold the bow in the "V" formed by your index finger and thumb. Keep your arm locked straight, with your elbow rolled slightly out.
Lift your head and face the target.
Raise your bow arm, keeping it locked, and draw the string back until your thumb is against your jawbone and your index finger is almost touching the corner of your mouth. Use your shoulder and back muscles to pull the string.
Take a breath and hold it until you release your arrow.
Relax your string fingers from the wrist forward, letting the string slide from your fingers (this works a lot better if you're wearing a glove or finger tab).
Hold your shooting position until you hear the arrow hit the target.