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Archery is the sport of shooting with bow and arrow. It is practiced in two forms: target archery and field archery, including bow-hunting. In target archery, target distances are fixed, and shooting is done with the aid of mechanical sights. In field archery, target distances are varied, and archers shoot either by the bare bow or special sight method.
Archery had its inception in primitive cultures as a method of self-preservation. For many centuries the bow and arrow was used as a weapon of warfare and as a means of providing food and clothing. During the 16th century, archery flourished as a sport, especially in England, where both kings and the rank and file of the citizens participated in contests.
In the United States the sport became organized with the founding in 1828 of the first archery society, the United Bowmen of Philadelphia, although the game did not become popular until after the Civil War. Modern archery in the United States really began in 1879 with the founding of the National Archery Association at Crawfordsville, Indiana, and the holding of the first target archery tournament at Chicago. Field archery, a later development, was launched officially in 1939 with the establishment of the National Field Archery Association. The first national field archery tournament was held at Allegan, Michigan, in 1946. Both the governing organizations provide separate classes of competition yearly for men, women, and juniors throughout the United States.
In target archery, archers shoot a specified number of arrows at established distances from a target with prescribed scoring values. In tournaments, contestants shoot a definite number of ends (six arrows shot consecutively) at given distances, the total number of shots being called a round. A double round consists of shooting two rounds in succession.
The standard target face, mounted on a vertical butt, has a diameter of 48 inches and a marked series of five concentric rings (10 rings for international competition). A hit in the center (gold) ring scores the most points. Men's national championships include double York and American rounds; women's, double National,
American, and Columbia rounds. Other popular rounds include the Metropolitan and the Hereford. Younger competitors shoot shorter rounds. The winner of the championship is the archer who compiles the highest aggregate score.
Other target archery activities are clout, wand, and flight shoots. A clout shoot is a longdistance event. The target, marked out on the ground, has a white flag in its exact center. Though marked and scored like the standard archery target, the clout is 12 times as large, having a diameter of 48 feet instead of 48 inches. The center (gold) area is 9.6 feet wide; the other rings each are 4.8 feet wide. Men's clout consists of a total of 6 ends at 180 yards; women's, 6 ends at either 140 or 120 yards.
A wand shoot is a novelty event, the object being to hit a 2-inch-wide strip of soft wood (wand) extending 6 feet above the ground. Men shoot 6 ends at 100 yards; women and juniors, 6 ends at 60 yards.
The several classes of flight shooting (distance) events are determined by the drawing weight of specially designed bows.- In competition the archer shoots three arrows in each class and counts as official the one going the farthest.