Nov 5, 2023

The November 2023 updates for the outdoor archer score records are now showing in the Members Area.



Myths and Legends



“Don't you need to be strong to do that?”

Absolutely not. Archery is more about technique than brute strength. Any club or beginners’ course will start you on a low-poundage trainer bow. As you progress, you can move to a heavier bow to propel the arrow faster. But start low. Denise Parker won a bronze medal for the USA at the 1988 Olympics at age 13 while shooting a 28-pound draw-weight bow. That pull is about the same as picking up a small dog. Likewise, the Korean ladies team features the most successful Olympic archers of all time, but some of them barely weigh more than 120 pounds. In fact, being really muscular is usually considered a hindrance to being a top archer.

“Archery must be really dangerous, right?”

Archery is statistically one of the world’s safest sports. According to recent National Safety Council statistics, archery is more than three times safer than golf, with just one injury for every 2,000 participants . In fact, over 90 percent of those injuries occurred while bowhunting, not target shooting. Safety on the range is part of the sport’s fabric, starting with your first lesson. As long as you follow local laws (and shoot at a local range rather than your backyard) it’s a very safe activity.

“Oh, I couldn't do that - my eyesight is really bad...”

Not a problem. Aiming with your eyes is actually a smaller element of archery than you might think. Few sports let you happily wear your normal glasses – or any glasses – while competing at the highest level. For instance, two-time Olympic gold medalist Im Dong Hyun is severely visually impaired. He sees a target at 70 meters as a blurry wash of colors, Even so, he set the world record for a round at that distance. Other archers who are completely blind use additional tactile sighting equipment to shoot. Nothing is impossible!

“Isn't all that stuff really expensive?”

It’s only as expensive at you want it to be! Most archery clubs and beginners’ courses will lend you equipment when you’re just starting. You can buy a basic bow, arrows and accessories setup for a few hundred pounds, and it can last several years. Archery sets have many individual pieces, but almost everything is interchangeable, and you can upgrade as you want or need. As you gain experience, you can take advantage of a thriving second-hand market for archery equipment. Most of these online products are made from tough materials, and are often as good as new.

“It must get boring doing that all day...”

It’s never boring to constantly improve your discipline, focus and precision. In fact, few sports have such a range of options surrounding the core activity. Which type of bow do you want to shoot – compound, recurve, barebow or one of dozens of traditional bows from around the world? What kind of tournament do you wish to try – target, field or 3-D? Indoor or outdoor? You can shoot for a lifetime near home, or travel the country and the world competing. Improving at archery is an ever-evolving puzzle that fascinates for a lifetime. And for something so personal, it’s one of the most social sports around!

“Don't you have to wear green...?”

Yeah, it has to be admitted, we sometimes wish Robin Hood had never existed.....


William Tell

William Tell is a Swiss folk hero who may or may not have existed but certainly historically did not do all of the things that he was known for in legends. William Tell was a crossbowman rather than a traditional archer. Legend has it that he once passed through a town where a dictatorial leader named Gessler had laid down a (rather moronic) rule where the townspeople had to bow to his hat (which rested on a pole in the center of town) everytime they passed by it.

William Tell was visiting this village with his son and naturally ignored this rule, and the offended Gessler was irate. Gessler then had Tell and his son arrested, and had them scheduled for execution unless Tell could shoot an apple from his son’s head at 100 yards. Naturally Tell was right on the mark – but after the shot, Gessler saw that Tell had pulled not one but two bolts from his quiver. He asked why, and the famed crossbowman replied that if he had accidentally killed his son, he wanted to have a second bolt ready for Gessler. Long story short, this upset Gessler a tad, and he tries to throw Tell in a dungeon somewhere far away – Tell escapes midway, runs back across the country and shoots Gessler with that same second bolt. Supposedly, his killing of Gessler helped spark a rebellion that eventually lead to the formation of the country that is now known as Switzerland.

William Tell is the classic folktale of a guy who’s good with a weapon and bad with authority, and the fact that he saved that second bolt for Gessler increases his kudos by quite a bit. Despite not necessarily being real, he also gets bonus points for being a central figure in Swiss mythology/legend and for being the most well known and famous example of the whole apple on the head thing.

Robin Hood

While it is unclear to historians whether Robin Hood was one man or the combination of many, or indeed whether anyone resembling the folk legend ever existed at all, the idea of Robin Hood is so ingrained in the collective culture that pretty much every bow-wielding character in fiction of any kind in the modern era is probably somewhat derivative of the legendary archer.

Robin Hood is such an influential figure in the culture that his story has been adapted countless times into books, movies, and television shows (seriously – try to count the number of entries in the Wikipedia – there are loads of them).

Robin Hood may not be the best archer on the list, nor does he have the most original back story. But he is undoubtedly one of the original examples of the ‘heroic archer’ archetypal character that permeates pop culture – practically ever single character that uses a bow (and a whole bunch of characters that don’t) draw some kind of inspiration from the classic story.

Minamoto no Tametomo (1139 - 1170)

A samurai who fought in the Hōgen Rebellion of 1156. He is a historic person but a part of many legends. It is said that he sunk an entire Taira ship with a single arrow an than his left hand was 15cm longer than his right which allowed him to draw the bow longer and make more powerful shots.

Nasu no Yoichi (1169 - 1232)

A samurai who fought on the side of the Minamoto clan in the Genpei War between 1180 and 1185. When at the Battle of Yashima the Heike were defeated in battle they fled to their boats. Minamoto clan chased them on horses but was stopped by the sea. While waiting for the right wind, Heike placed a fan on the mast of their ship as a challenge for Minamoto archers. Nasu no Yoichi shot the fan with a first arrow standing on his horse in the sea.

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Churchill (also known as a “Fighting Jack Churchill” and “Mad Jack”)

A British soldier who fought throughout the Second World War armed with a longbow and a Scottish sword. He used to say that “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.” When he ambushed a German patrol near L'Epinette, France, along with his regiment, he gave a signal to attack by shooting the enemy sergeant with an arrow.

Fred Bear (1902 - 1988)

An American bow hunter, bow manufacturer, author, and television host and is considered as a pioneer in the bow-hunting. He was also the first president of Detroit Archers - Michigan's oldest archery club.

Horace A. Ford (1822 - 1880)

An archer from Unite Kingdom and is considered as one of the greatest target archers of all time. Starting from 1849 he won eleven consecutive championships, and his high score of 1271 remained a record for over 70 years.

Yue Fei (1103 - 1142)

A military general in China. On his first competition hi won the first place by shooting a succession of nine arrows through the bullseye of a target 240 paces away. On his next competition he, already known as a great archer, defeats all competitors.


An Ancient Greek goddess of of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness and protector of young girls and was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.


A goddess of bow hunting from Norse Mythology. She travels on skis, wields a bow, and hunts wild animals.

Princess Merida

A character from the movie Brave. She has a great skill in archery, and is one of the most skilled archers of her kingdom.

Legolas Greenleaf

An elf from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Master marksman and archer he shot down a "fell beast" - a “Nazgûl-bird”, in the dark with one shot (among other things.)

Katniss Everdeen

Katniss Everdeen is a fictional character and the protagonist of The Hunger Games trilogy written by American author Suzanne Collins. Her name comes from a plant with edible tubers called Sagittaria (katniss), from Sagittarius the Archer, whose name means He that throws arrows in Latin. (Description curtesy of She's a pretty decent shot but her technique was the subject of on-line criticism.