Ultimate Guide To Archery

Ultimate Guide To Archery

Archery can be defined as the sport and skill of learning how to shoot bows.

Whether you’re interested in it as a recreational activity or want to compete in the sport, there are many good reasons why it’s worth trying out.

What are the benefits of archery?

You get exercise, learn valuable skills that include patience and control, and can boost your self-confidence. The feeling of shooting an arrow that hits your target can make you feel good about yourself.

There are many good reasons why archery is worth doing.

Let’s take a look at its benefits, the essential archery gear you should purchase, how to choose the right bow, and everything else you need to get started.

Archery Benefits For The Body

Man Archer

Your body really benefits from taking up archery.

Not only will you get more exercise by participating in this sport, but it will help you tone up various muscles.

These include the muscles in the shoulders and arms, which you’ll obviously use when you draw your bow.

However, even holding your arrow once you’re ready to shoot will require strength in your muscles, such as in your arms and back.

Archery can also burn quite a few calories. According to Harvard University, you can burn between 100 and 155 calories in just half an hour!

That’s quite impressive.

Now, imagine if you do a few hours a day. That will easily add up and help you shed the pounds while giving your body exercise it needs to stay healthy.

Other Benefits Of Doing Archery

It’s not just your body that benefits from archery. Your mind also does!

Archery Teaches You To Be Calm

When you shoot your arrow, your body has to be relaxed. Holding the bow with stiff fingers can result in you missing your shot.

Your mind has to learn to remain calm in order for your body to follow suit, and archery, therefore, helps to keep you cool and collected under pressure.

Archery Teaches You Patience

Man Holding Bow

Archery is not like an activity that you can quickly learn and be great at doing. It requires lots of time to hone your skills.

You have to be accurate in how you shoot, and that precision takes a long time to master. So, there’s no room for impatience!

This sport teaches you to be more patient and stay motivated to achieving your goals.

Archery Can Help You Meditate

While you might not think of meditation when you think of archery, the two can definitely be linked.

The reason for this is because when you’re holding your bow and getting ready to shoot your arrow, you shut out the world. It’s just you and the goal in front of you.

You can zone out of your distracting thoughts and focus solely on hitting your target. If you do archery outdoors in beautiful nature, this will further have meditative benefits for you.

The Different Types Of Archery

Archery isn’t just one type of sport or activity. There are actually three different types of archery. These are:

Target Archery

Arrows In Target

This is when you shoot at big, colorful targets, either indoors or outdoors. How it works is that you’ll have a set number of arrows to shoot at targets that are placed at different distances.

Although target archery is usually the first type that beginners try, this activity also makes its way to the Olympic Games.

In this sport, you’ll commonly shoot at targets that are of different sizes, such as 40cm all the way up to 122cm.

If you manage to get a bullseye, this is worth 10 points. You’ll get fewer points the further away from the bullseye that you shoot.

Field Archery

This type of archery involves shooting at targets along a trail in the woods, but it also includes shooting from different distances (so it’s great for perfecting your aim) and even shooting both uphill and downhill.

So, it’s like target archery but with a few extra twists to it, and the extra benefit of getting more exercise.

3D Archery

If you’re interested in hunting but don’t feel ready to go out there and hunt game, then 3D archery can be a fun activity for you to try.

It makes use of 3D animal targets – basically, targets that look like animals you’d find in the wild – and gives you the chance to shoot them with your arrows.

You’ll move through different types of terrain and wind conditions along a 3D archery trail, which can also be a hike.

Clout Archery

Clout Archery

This is an interesting type of sport. In clout archery, you have to shoot from longer distances and your target will be on the ground in the form of a flag that’s stuck into the ground.

So, you have to try to shoot as close to the target as you can, but the idea is to shoot your arrow up into the air so that it forms an arc and then reaches the target.

Flight Archery

In this type of archery, you have to try to shoot the arrow from the furthest distance you can.

When partaking in flight archery, you’ll probably be on a large, flat area so that there’s enough space.

Interestingly, the bows that are used in flight archery are specially designed for the sport.

Ski Archery

This type of archery sounds like a lot of fun. In it, people need to ski around a course while carrying a bow on their backs.

A course is usually 12km long. The skiers have to shoot at various targets and if they miss, they have to ski a penalty circuit, which is 350m!

Run Archery

This is pretty much the same thing as ski archery, only it happens on the ground instead of on the ice.

People have to run a long-distance track that’s approximately 12km and shoot at various stops along the way.

Traditional Archery

Group Of Archers

Otherwise known as “trad archery,” this type is really basic. You don’t use any accessories such as sights to participate in traditional archery as it’s focused on simplicity.

Usually, bows such as the longbow and flatbow are common, but modern bows can also be used in this sport.

Bowhunting or Bowfishing

Hunting game or fish with a bow is a type of archery, and for these activities usually, a compound bow is used. However, recurve bows are a good alternative for hunters.

Archery Tag

This is a fun archery activity that you’ll love doing with your friends.

How archery tag works are that you use special arrows that are fitted with large foam heads and you shoot these at other people.

It’s similar to something like paintball, but you’ll have to wear protective clothing.


Last but certainly not least on our list of archery types is Kyodo. This is a type of Japanese martial arts that are focused on the bow.

In fact, Kyodo means “The way of the bow.” In this activity, people use a yumi, which is a two-meter tall bow constructed out of leather, bamboo, and wood.

Different Types Of Archery Bows

We’ve mentioned a few types of bows, such as compound and recurve bows, but what are they really about?

Which bow is best to use, such as if you’re a beginner?

What bow should you choose for hunting, and which one is more suitable for target practice?

Let’s take a look at the various types of bows and their uses.

Recurve Bow

Takedown Recurve Bow

This type of bow is designed in such a way that it’s got curves, hence its name, and its curve away from you.

This bow is great for beginners and skilled archers because of limbs of the curves of the bow give it extra power.

The recurve bow has a strong grip that’s good for adding accessories to it, so once you’ve become used to it and skilled with using it you can upgrade your bow.


Wooden Longbow

This bow is designed to look different from a recurve bow. Instead of curves, the longbow will have straight, yet still graceful, limbs.

It’s a more classic bow, with a strong nod to history. Longbows are usually tall bows – they can be as tall as the archer – and this makes them more comfortable for people who are taller.

In addition, the longbow will shoot arrows so that they fly straighter.

However, the longbow might not be suitable for beginners due to the fact that this bow tends to have a high draw weight.

If you’re starting out in archery, you should try to choose a bow that has a lower draw weight.

Compound Bow

Black Compound Bow

This bow is a bit more complicated than the longbow and recurves bow. It’s got wheels and strings that can make it seem quite intimidating.

A compound bow uses cables and pulleys to bend its limbs. It’s used a lot by hunters and even in target practice, so it’s quite versatile.

It can be said that the compound bow is the most powerful one to choose, and this is due to how a draw weight of 70 pounds on this bow will give you enough power for whatever activity you’re eager to do with it.


Vader Crossbow

These are easier to learn than other bows so they’re great if you want to try hunting without spending a lot of time trying to perfect your shot.

Crossbows have a horizontal design and they shoot bolts, which are shorter than regular arrows but look pretty much the same.

You can find crossbow designs that are recurved or compound, and the compound ones tend to be more popular.

You can use a crossbow for hunting – in fact, it’s a great choice because it offers accurate shots and a longer range.

On the other hand, you can choose a crossbow for target practice.

For this activity, the crossbow you’ll choose will be smaller in size, making it much more portable and easy to shoot.

Do You Need To Get A License For Archery?

If you’re interested in pursuing archery, you might wonder if you need to get a license in order to partake in this sport.

While you most certainly need a license to hunt with a bow, what are the rules when it comes to archery?

You don’t need a license in order to own a bow.

However, the Crimes Act does list bows and arrows as offensive weapons, so you should always carry them lawfully and have a purpose for why you have them, such as if you hunt with them or you go to target practice.

In addition, it’s not always acceptable for you to do target practice in your own backyard.

Different counties have different rules, so it’s important to understand what the rules are where you live.

Now that we’ve looked at the fact that you don’t need a license in order to take up archery, let’s look at how you can get started with the sport.

First things first, you need to purchase a bow and arrows!

How To Purchase The Right Bow

Woman Holding Bow

We’ve already featured the different types of bows that you should know about, but let’s now look at things you should consider before purchasing your bow.

The most important things include:

The Bow’s Draw Length

This is basically the distance you can pull back the bow’s string in a comfortable way.

To be precise when shooting your arrows, you want to be able to pull back your string in the same way and at the same distance.

It’s about being consistent! Generally, taller people will have a long draw length and shorter people will have a shorter one.

Head to your local archery store and ask to be measured so that you can find out your correct draw length.

Or, you can figure out your draw length yourself. Take your height in inches and divide that number by 2.5. That will give you the draw length in inches.

So, if you’re 68 inches tall, you’ll divide 68 by 2.5 and get 27.2 inches.

That means you should opt for a draw length that’s 27 inches, bearing in mind that you should always round up the number to full inches.

The Bow’s Draw Weight

You should also consider this when purchasing your first bow.

The draw weight basically tells you how difficult it will be to pull the bow’s string back when you prepare to shoot an arrow.

It’s measured in pounds. The lower the draw weight of the bow, the easier it will be to use, and that’s something to consider as a beginner.

This factor also influences the type of bow you’ll purchase when it comes to recurve and compound bows.

Recurve bows will have a draw weight that’s set while compound bows tend to have one that’s adjustable, and that’s something to bear in mind when buying a bow so that you find the one that’s right for you.

How To Buy The Right Arrows

Different Arrow Broadheads

There are many options when it comes to arrows, but which type should you purchase for the bow you’ve got?

Before we get to that, it’s a good idea to look at the different parts of an arrow so that we know what we’re dealing with.

Arrow shaft

This is the arrow’s length and it can be made from materials such as wood, carbon, or aluminum.


This is also called the arrow point because it’s the sharp bit at the end of the arrow. There are five types of arrowheads to choose from:

  • Bullet points – These are sharp and can be used to hunt small game or for target practice.
  • Field points – These are sharper than bullets and can also be used for both activities.
  • Blunt points – As their name suggests, these tips are flat and are used to kill small animals with blunt force instead of penetrating their hide.
  • Judo points – These are flat and blunt, but they have small clips or legs on them that snap onto the animal that’s being hunted, which is a smart way to prevent them from getting lost.
  • Broadheads – These are extremely sharp and are especially good for hunting.

Arrow fletching

The fletching is made up of the three vanes on the arrow’s back. These can be made out of plastic or feathers, and it’s typical for two of the vanes to be one color and then the third a different one.

Arrow nock

This is the tip found at the back end, which is slotted. It’s plastic and will be attached to the bowstring.

How To Choose The Right Arrow

Different Arrows

Now that you know more about arrows and their important parts, you’ll need to consider some important factors for choosing the right arrows.

Your bow length

This is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing arrows.

Your arrow should be longer than the bow’s draw length. If they’re too short, they’ll fall off the arrow shelf and prove dangerous when using them.

The arrow diameter

Arrows come in different thicknesses, and you should choose the right thickness for the activity you’re doing.

So, if you’re doing target practice, you should choose arrows with a thicker diameter. This makes it easier to strike the lines of the target.

However, if you’re entering competitive target archery, check what arrow diameter is allowed so you don’t break the rules.

If you’re doing outdoor archery, such as hunting, you’ll want a thinner arrow.

You might’ve assumed a thicker arrow will be better when hunting game, but you want a sleeker arrow that will penetrate the animal’s hide much better and with more precision.

The material of your arrows

Different Arrows

As mentioned earlier, arrows can be made out of aluminum, carbon, or wood.

Which one is better?

Let’s take a look at the different types and which material you should choose for your arrows.

Wood arrows

These don’t cost a lot of money, but they get damaged really easily.

People who take part in traditional archery sometimes make use of wood arrows, but their fragile nature makes them unsuitable for competitions.

Aluminum arrows

These are stronger than wood arrows. They’re sturdy and come in various sizes.

They also give you the chance to use screw-in tips, such as bullet points and broadheads, making them really easy to use, whether you’re a beginner or skilled archer.

They’re also good for hunting.

Carbon arrows

These are more rigid, which makes them valuable when using a heavier bow, such as a compound bow. They’re also built to be thin, which is another reason why hunters will choose them.

Aluminum-carbon blend arrows

These are arrows that have the best of aluminum and carbon. They will have aluminum on the inside and carbon on the outside, so they’re light but also rigid.

You’ll find archers who compete using these, and they’re common in the Olympics.

Do You Need A Quiver?

Carrying Bow Quiver

On the subject of arrows, you also need to consider if you should purchase a quiver.

This is basically a pouch to store your arrows.

While it might seem like an optional archery accessory, a quiver is vital to keep your arrows safe and prevent them from getting lost when you’re taking part in outdoor archery.

There are different types of quivers available. Some are designed to be worn on your back, while others attach to your belt.

Choosing the right one really depends on your personal preference and what feels most comfortable.

Of course, the most important factor to consider when choosing a quiver is how many arrows you need to store in it.

Arrow capacity in quivers vary. You might find some quivers that can hold four arrows, while others can hold up to 30!

You also find quivers that attach to the bow instead of your clothing.

These quivers are mounted onto the bow by means of a bracket, and they’re referred to as bow-mounted quivers.

This can make things more convenient because you’ll have your arrows right there when you need them, and you can easily detach and attach the quiver from the bow whenever you want.

To avoid the hassle of finding the right quiver for your bow, a “one-piece” quiver is universal and will fit your bows.

You can learn more about quivers by reading “Best Bow Quivers: How To Store Your Arrow.

Extra Accessories You Need For Archery

Different Equipment For Archery

Once you’ve got your bow and arrow, you’re ready to get started.

However, you might want to add one or a few accessories to the scene.

There are many different archery accessories you can find for your bow, but not all of them are essential.

If you’re on a tight budget, you might not be able to purchase all the accessories you want.

That’s okay. In fact, it’s recommended if you’re a beginner because you don’t want to end up splurging on a ton of archery accessories only to find that you’re not going to pursue the sport.

That will waste you lots of money and saddle you with archery gear you don’t even need.

So, take your time to explore the sport and be sure it’s something you really want to do before you buy more accessories and gear.

If you’ve reached that point, then you’ll do well to get yourself these accessories.

Bow Stringer

Leather Bow Stringer

This helps you to string your bow. Sometimes when purchasing a bow, a stringer will come included in the pack.

This is an important accessory because you mustn’t keep your bow strung if you’re not going to be using it for some time.

When you’re ready to shoot an arrow again, then you’ll be able to benefit from the bow stringer as it makes stringing your bow much easier.

This is especially the case if you’re a beginner.

Arm Guard

Leather Arm Guard

This is another must-have for beginners.

An armed guard is worn on the arm that’s attached to the hand you use to hold your bow, and it can prevent the bowstring from striking your arm.

Bow Sight

Using Bow Sight

This can’t be used on a traditional longbow, but it can be added to your compound and recurve bows. You’ll find two types of sights: single pin sights and multi-pin sights.

  • The single pin sights contain one pin that you’ll line up with your target. This can be adjusted to help you make an accurate shot.
  • Multi-pin sights have three to five pins and they can’t be moved once you’ve organized and set them before your shot.

Nocking Points

Three Arrow Nock

These metal pieces clasp onto the bow’s string to help you shoot in the same way and from the same position every time so that you remain consistent.

Bow Case

All Weather Case

When you’re carrying your bow around, you want to ensure it doesn’t get damaged in any way, so you should invest in a high-quality bow case that will keep it protected.

This is also important when you’re storing your bow away. Some bows that you purchase will have a case or bag included.


Shooting With Bow

As with any sport, you need to wear the correct gear to keep you safe and enable you to be flexible. Let’s look at items to avoid if you’re doing archery.

  • Jewelry and watches. These are a must to avoid as they can get caught on the bowstring and injure you.
  • Loose clothing. This can cause you to get tangled while also inhibiting your movements, such as when you draw the bow, and it can make your shots less accurate.

Now, let’s look at what you should wear.

  • Comfortable, fitted clothing. Your clothing should make you feel you can move well in it without it getting in the way of your bow.
  • Comfortable shoes. Your best bet is sneakers, as these will protect your feet in case your arrow goes flying to the ground. In addition, you’ll be able to stand properly. If you’re hunting, choose comfortable boots that you’ve broken in as this will protect your feet while also guarding against the weather.
  • Hair ties. If you have long hair, you want to keep it away from your face and out of the way with a hair tie. If it flies in front of you, this can distract you or reduce your visibility. Plus, there’s always the risk that your hair will get tangled in the bow.

Related Questions

What’s the easiest way to get into archery if you’re on a budget?

Traditional archery is your best bet because it’s so cost-effective.

You don’t need much in order to get started, and even your gear will be minimal when partaking in traditional archery.

Where can I find places to practice archery?

There’s a list of ranges and shops to help you with archery. You can also opt for “stump shooting” as a way to get started.

This is when you go out into the woods and use tree stumps as targets. Finally, you can practice in your own backyard, provided that your county’s rules permit it.


As can be seen in this article, there is a lot involved in the sport of archery.

From the different types of archery activities to different bows to use, as well as the extra accessories you need in order to be a successful archer, we’ve got you covered on everything you need to know so you can get started in this exciting sport without delay.

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