Since the movie, “The Hunger Games” was released there has been an increased interest in bow hunting and archery amongst young women around the world. Archery clubs have been over run with girls wanting to be Katniss Everdeen. I daresay the most popular Halloween costume this year for girls will be Katniss with a bow and quiver full of arrows. Bow hunting has been around ten thousand years but just in the past century (and a bit) has it become a sport that women participate in. In the 1900 Olympic Game’s in Paris archery appeared for the first time for men. In 1904 in St. Louis it became an Olympic sport for women. Archery is one of the first sports to include female athletes.
There are very few resources geared toward bow hunting for women specifically. This usually is the case in sports that are dominated by men. Archery technique is basically the same for men and women. The big difference is upper body strength. Women genetically do not have the same upper body strength as men have and will never be able to out lift or out swim the top men competitors in their sports. The muscles used in archery are the same you would use for rowing and mountain climbing. Upper body strength makes a difference only in the distance and speed of your shot. In archery competition it is all about accuracy. For the men and the women the target is placed at the same distance 70 meters, which is 229.5 feet. To give you perspective that is just over two-thirds of a football field. This levels the playing field. What I found interesting is that even though the distance is the same the men and women shoot bows with different draw weights. On average the men shoot 50 pound draw weight and the women shoot 35. The men’s arrows will be flying faster than the women’s because of the physics involved but because the competition is based on accuracy they all are equal. The competition comes down to technique and the ability to relax under duress.
I see women’s archery and bow hunting for women becoming two of the fastest growing sports in the United States, if not the world, due mainly to the popularity of Katniss Everdeen. The actress Jennifer Lawrence was trained to shoot her bow in the movie by Khatuna Lorig a US Olympic archer. The other two women Olympic archers for the USA, Jennifer Nichols and Miranda Leek have been shooting since they were children. Women’s archery gained attention around the world when Amy Oliver and 12 members of Great Britain’s archery team were featured in the June of 2012 issue of Vogue magazine. It is a little known fact that actress Geena Davis, known for her roles in “Beetlejuice”, “The Fly”and “Thelma and Louise”, reached the semifinals of the USA Olympic archery trials for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games.
Finally in 2012 one of the first Olympic sports to include women is receiving the recognition it deserves. Hopefully it’s popularity among young women in the United States will “shoot” our women’s Olympic archery teams to the top of the charts.