Will 'The Hunger Games' Spark an Increased Interest in Archery Among Teens?

The Doctor Chris MuellerFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2012

Photo: fansshare.com
Photo: fansshare.com

The Hunger Games is one of the hottest movies in the world, and the plot involves something which has been both a recreational activity as well as a means for hunting and survival for hundreds of years: archery.

Archery is an incredible sport, and one that can give you a lot of satisfaction. Having spent a lot of time with a bow in my hands as a kid, I can tell you that it is a lot of fun.

The great thing about archery is that it is something that you are almost never too young to start doing. I remember being in archery classes when I was as young as six, and I did pretty well, too.

I can actually remember hitting my first bulls-eye. I was about seven and I was in the backyard shooting with my brother and father. The target was about 40-50 feet away and I had just started using a bow the summer before.

When the arrow pierced the middle of that yellow circle I was so excited that I ran around our above-ground pool in a sort of victory lap. I will always remember that feeling of accomplishment after so many failed attempts.

Now that Jennifer Lawrence is lighting up the screen with a bow on her back, it should come as no surprise to anyone if archery-related businesses see an increase in business.

The thing you have to understand about teens is that whenever a new trend comes along, they attack it full force, and this is probably not going to be any different.

When Twilight came out, I saw more than a few people walking around thinking they were vampires, and the same thing happened when every sequel was released.

Harry Potter spawned a few trends as well, and the same can be said for other franchise series which focus on teens and young adults.

With The Hunger Games on pace to be a bigger franchise that Twilight in terns of revenue, I am expecting to see some perspective Katnisses out there soon.

If there are people who are interested in taking up the hobby, there are a few things you should know.

The main thing you need to know is that if you plan to hunt, you need to know when you are allowed to hunt with a bow. Hunting seasons are broken up by what kind of animal you can hunt, as well as what kind of weapon you can use.

Before you go looking to become the next great hunter in your local forest, make sure you know the laws and have any necessary permits required by your state, county and city.

Another important thing to know, maybe the most important, is the rules of archery safety. They are similar to the rules of safety for guns, but there are a few differences.

Livestrong.com has up a list of rules which are great for anyone to use as a basis for doing any archery in a target shooting environment. Here is another link to a more useful set of safety guidelines for those who are looking to be more serious about archery.

Another important thing potential archers need to know is where to go to purchase equipment. Plenty of major sporting goods stores will carry a wide variety of bows to choose from, but do your research before buying because they can get kind of pricey.

Decide what kind of bow you want to use before you buy too. There are two main types of bows for modern archers to use: recurve and compound. There are also a few hybrids out there, but stick to these two types.

Other styles have existed throughout history, such as the composite bow, reflex bow and, of course, the ever-popular crossbow. If you would like to learn more about the differences, you can visit this link for more information.

Recurve is the kind of bow you probably see in period movies all the time, mainly Robin Hood or anything involving Indians.

A recurve bow is a long piece of wood which is treated to bend to the right conditions. It is tied end to end with a string, and it is usually easy to just throw over your shoulder for convenient carrying.

The second kind of bow, and the more common one these days, is the compound bow. This one looks more like a real weapon than a recurve due to it's complicated-looking pull-back system, as well as the number of accessories that exist.

Compound bows can be used with different kinds of optic sights, grips, triggers (yes, a bow can have a trigger, technically) and holders for spare arrows.

Most of today's hunters prefer the compound bow for its increased range, power and accuracy when hunting deer or other big game.

Some other decision you will have to make are how long you want the bow to be (varies by user height) and what kind of draw weight you want. The younger the user, the lower the draw weight you should use.

GUADALAJARA, MEXICO - OCTOBER 20:  Brady Ellison of the USA competes in the men's individual archery competition at the Pan American Archery Stadium on October 20, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There is not a lot of variety when it comes to the arrows themselves. You can find them made out of a variety of materials, both natural and synthetic.

The one part of an arrow which can make a difference is the tip. Many kinds of arrowheads have been developed, which supposedly make it easier to kill your prey or at least extract the arrow when finished.

The advantages to using a bow to hunt are that you never have to worry about a jam, you don't have to worry about making noise, which will scare away other prey after taking a shot, and it is much safer for the hunter and anyone traveling with them.

If you are thinking of taking up archery as a sport or simply a hobby, make sure you understand all the laws for where you live and above all else, put your safety and the safety of those around you above the need to hit the target.