Archery Basics You Need to Know

Archery basics you’re better off knowing include the devastation that can result from dry firing a bow, tracking down the best accessories, how not to damage your shooting fingers, reviewing suitable targets and archery safety.

Safe Archery ShooterDO-NOT-EVER point a bow at anyone… period.

Before you shoot always make sure your arrow is correctly ‘nocked’, that is, hooked over the bowstring so the arrow is held securely by the string.

Make sure you’re using the correct arrows for your bow, by ‘correct arrows’ I mean the right size.

When your bow is pulled back to full draw the head (point) of your arrow needs to extend past the bow.

This extended portion does not need to be excessive, one to two inches will be more than enough.

If you shoot arrows that are shorter than they should be you risk accidentally shooting the arrow through your bow hand… ouch!!

And… never actually touch the arrow itself when you’re shooting your bow, you wouldn’t want it to fall out. The head of the arrow should be held in place by the arrow rest of your bow .

Learning about archery in depth is a worthwhile goal and thoroughly recommended by seasoned archers worldwide.

Never, Ever Dry Fire Your Bow

Dry Fire BowPulling the the bowstring back until it’s at full draw length and letting it go without an arrow is referred to as ‘dry firing’ and plain stupid.

This activity generally results in the bow suffering and it may also place the archer in danger.

Some bows have been known to actually snap and break in two as a result of dry firing.

Choosing the Right Size Bow

More than any other sport, in archery you need to be in sync with your gear. Your bow should almost feel like an extension of your arm. Choosing the right size bow for you is so very important particularly when you’re starting out. 

choosing a bowPoints to consider when choosing a bow include –

  • Your bow needs to be the correct size for your height.
  • The draw weight of the bow must be right for you. 

Draw weight is how ‘strong’ the bow is or how many pounds of force the bow generates when fully drawn.

Using a bow that’s too ‘powerful’ for you will more than likely result in you developing bad habits. Good habits are all important in any kind of archery. 

Beginners really should commence archery on the lower end of the draw weight scale then, over time, slowly build up to a heavier weight.

Tracking Down the Right Archery Accessories

There are other things beside your bow that you will need to get yourself up and running in archery.

The first step you’ll need to consider is what type of archery you’re going for, once you’ve done that you’ll need to review different types of bows to figure out which one best suits your requirements. 

Next you should review archery accessories that are available and decide which ones you’ll require.

These will vary between archers and will largely depend on the style of bow that you’re thinking of buying. 

However, not all accessories are dependant on your bow style, for example arm guards are to protect your bow arm from getting skinned by the bowstring, a smart choice indeed for a new archer.

Planning to Release the String With Your Fingers Unprotected?

My suggestion is… Don’t!

It’s a good idea to check out some finger tabs and shooting gloves. Either of these accessories will stop the fingers on your bow hand from being damaged whilst shooting.

Following a lengthy period of shooting your fingers will become more irritated and painful. Protecting your fingers with a finger tab or shooting glove will stop this problem from occurring and allow you to keep on shooting for a longer time.

You’ve got to ask yourself… Do I really want to touch the strings at all??

If you answered no then you may wish to use what’s referred to as a ‘release aid’ for the job. These devices hold the bowstring and when you’re ready to shoot, you simply press the release button on the aid.

Review Only the Targets That Suit Your Bow

row of targets

Purchase your bow before you start shopping for a target.

If you’re considering target archery this is important. There are many different types of targets to choose from and it’s important that you review as many as you can so you’re able to make an educated decision when it comes to purchasing the best one for your particular bow.

BEWARE: Some targets are suitable for both recurve and compound bows however, these same targets would possibly NOT stand up to a crossbow.

Most of the bag and box type targets are suitable for recurve bows, compound bows and traditional longbows. That’s a good thing because these types of targets are generally very cost effective.

If you’re considering giving 3D archery a shot, check out some of the 3D targets that are are available. A good proportion of them are a fairly expensive however if you look hard enough you will find some that are more affordable.

If field and target archery float your boat you can basically use anything for a target. A good option for field and target archery are paper targets which can be purchased at a fraction of the price of 3D targets.

Using Hay Bales for Archery Targets

hay bale archery targetsA good quality, tightly bound bale of hay will have the density to stand up to an arrow. Straw will do the same thing at longer distances however at shorter distances you’ll find yourself digging for arrows.

You absolutely need backstops to stop your arrow sailing off into the sunset when you have a miss and the most cost-effective option for doing this is to use hay bale.

Although extremely merciful, hay will be battered into submission in a relatively short time and it most certainly will not last as long as other materials, such as those made from foam for example.

If you plan to shoot hay bales up close and personal, and your bow has a high draw weight, your arrows are going to end up much deeper in the hay bale, possibly go right through.

And think about this, what little (and not so little) creepy crawlers are going to make their home in your backstop?

Think mice, spiders, snakes and who knows what else!

Find a Very Safe Place to Practice

Obviously you’ll be needing a suitable place to practice your archery. If you happen to be one of the fortunate archers who have a sizeable backyard that’s large enough for safe shooting, fantastic!

safe place for archeryIf you aren’t one of the lucky ones  you’ll need to hunt around for a safe place where you can practice without breaking any local regulations.

In this situation Google is your friend so have a search online for indoor or outdoor archery ranges reasonably close to you.

You may be lucky enough to discover a local range that you didn’t even know existed. While you’re online keep a lookout for any archery clubs close by. 

Quite a few states have 3D archery clubs that are situated on large plots of land and have all the targets you would ever need to kick off your archery career.

If you have no luck in your searches for local archery clubs or ranges, try giving some local colleges and universities a call. Many of them have their own archery teams as well as indoor and outdoor archery ranges. 

If there’s any near you, find out who you need to talk to request permission to use their facilities.

Another idea is to check in to any local high schools as many of them now include archery in their sports programs.

If you ask them nicely they may allow you to use their playing fields during non-school hours, of course your practice hours will need to match the non-school hours.