Rich Von hunted for years with a gun before discovering the joy of bow hunting. It’s an art that was around long before firearms and in recent years, Rich Von has learned more about why it’s always been so popular. Rich Von says nothing can compare to the thrill of pulling back on the string and releasing an arrow toward a target. Below, Rich Von answers questions about the history of archery.
Q: First, can you explain a little about what archery is for those who might not know about it?
Rich Von: Archery involves a bow (made of either wood or plastic or a combination of same), which has a string made of some type of very strong and sturdy elastic that allows the sportsman to pull back to release an arrow.
Q: When were bows and arrows first made?
Rich Von: It’s hard to know for sure, but it has been traced all the way back to the late Paleolithic era. Humans were able to gradually replace spears as the weapon hunters and battlers threw.
Q: They were used in combat for a long time, weren’t they?
Rich Von: Yes. Armies used bows and arrows until they were replaced by firearms, which, for obvious reasons, were more effective in combat situations.
Q: Because they can be shot from a distance?
Rich Von: They can be shot from a distance, hiding behind obstacles, and it takes less time to reload. Archery is a precision sport and it takes a great deal of mental focus to be effective in archery, which isn’t ideal for a combat situation. And the biggest difference is distance—one can only effectively shoot an arrow between 20-50 yards. There are exceptions where some experts can accurately shoot to 100 yards or more, but that’s not the norm. With modern firearms on the other hand, 500 to 1000 yards is not unusual.
Q: But even as archery was replaced with firearms in widespread use, it prevailed as a sport in the centuries that followed.
Rich Von: Yes, archery has survived in competition, particularly during the Olympics every four years.
Q: Why would a hunter choose bow hunting over hunting with a firearm?
Rich Von: I’ve done both, but I can honestly say, there’s nothing like the thrill of lining up the bow and arrow, pulling back on that string, and hitting your target. The bottom line: bow hunting is a lot harder then hunting with a rifle. When one spots a deer at 250 yards with a gun, the hunt is almost over as long as you’re a decent shot. That same situation, if you’re hunting with a bow, you still have a lot of work (stalking and getting closer to your game)—and most likely 2-3 hours of further effort before you even have a shot.
Q: Do today’s bow hunters use a different kind of bow and arrow than was used historically?
Rich Von: Yes, technology has made amazing advancements. The bows and arrows of our modern world are lighter, faster and stronger. I utilize a compound bow, which has a series of cables and pulleys to take some of the strain out of pulling back on the string—in other words, easier to draw the string. In addition to compound bows, there are also recurve bows, which are harder to draw—and considered more “traditional.”
Q: This extra force of a compound bow has the added benefit of putting more punch behind the bow, correct?
Rich Von: Yes, a compound bow puts more energy into the bow, which adds to the thrill of bow hunting.
Q: When hunting with a bow, you also have to get closer to your prey, don’t you?
Rich Von: The distance between hunter and prey is much shorter, which means the hunter must learn a quieter approach to avoid scaring the prey off.
Rich Von is a California resident and a co-founder of Von Vesting. Rich Von has been a business owner and has worked in sales and marketing, where his competitive spirit has served him well.