Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hollywood Keeps Fanning the Flames of the Archery Craze

Revolution (NBC)

Brave (2012)
I split my TV viewing time the other night between a prime-time network show and a DVD. Both had the same theme of bow-toting heroines in their determined quest of good over evil. In the movie Brave, the flaming redheaded princess Merida gallops through the Scottish forest on board her trusty mount Angus with bow in hand, striking the bullseye of every suspended target. In Revolution, Charlie and Miles use their crossbows and swords to rescue family members held prisoner by the militia. These are just two examples of Hollywood’s recent and continuing obsession with archery and bowhunting.

Hunger Games (2012)
The trigger behind the targeted trend is the 2012 mega-smash Hunger Games. A young girl, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, uses her bow to acquire game and survive a televised battle to the death in a broken nation. That movie is the first in a trilogy with additional releases planned in the coming years. (In fact, filming of the second installment, Catching Fire, is currently underway in Hawaii.)

Catching Fire (Nov. 2013)
Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Everdeen, received her archery training from Khatuna Lorig, a member of the U.S. Olympic archery team. Lorig just missed out on a medal in London but the sport itself was a television ratings bonanza. NBC reported archery as its most-watched cable channel sport with an average of 1.5 million daytime viewers.

The carry-over effect remains huge. Archery is now one of the fastest growing sports in the nation among men, women and especially children. And the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation remains one of its most staunch and excited participants. RMEF contributed more than $3.5 million dollars by funding more than 1,900 archery, shooting and other such hunting heritage projects in 49 states. That includes donations to high school and community teams; youth camps and hunter education events; 3D fun shoots; and programs like Becoming an Outdoors Woman, the Junior Olympic Archery Development and National Intercollegiate Archery Championships, and the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP).

RMEF recently helped sponsor one such NASP event in Pennsylvania where the arrows flew and young girls freely expressed their excitement as they learned to shoot like their heroes of the big screen.

“I did archery before, but the movie inspired me to do it more,” 10-year-old Kylie Berkheimer told the Daily Local News of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Kylie saw Hunger Games and also read the books.

“The movie made me want to learn how to shoot a bow,” said eight-year-old Chrissie Christian of Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Chrissie saw Brave, which debuted at number-one at the box office, twice but also other movies with bows and arrows. “I’ve seen Lord of the Rings which also has archery. And Narnia too.”
The Chronicles of Narnia (2004, 2008),  Bow & Arrow (CW), The Lord of the Rings (2001, 02, 03) & The Avengers (2012)
The manager at a retail store in Nevada said the archery comeback led to a big boost in business. Danny Nelson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that his range averaged about 30 shooters a week back in January. But since the release of the Hunger Games, his post-Olympics business jumped to about 900 shooters a month.

Scott & his first deer
For many, archery in the fall means stepping out of the shooting range or the gym and into the woods for hunting season. Take young Scott Wolfe in Nebraska, for example. He just used his bow and arrow to take his first whitetail deer. “I had one of the best moments of my life,” he said while posing with his prize. “After this moment I realized I am a true hunter.”

In this day and age it seems the only that thing that would "legitimize," for lack of a better word, this resurgence in the popularity of archery would be a reality TV show. Don’t worry, that’s on the way too. Nock Out is coming to the NBC Sports Network in 2013.

How do you suppose Merida and Katniss would fare in that?

(Mark Holyoak is the director of communication for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.  And yes, he's about to get his first bow to take into the mountains next hunting season.)


  1. This is post is simply amazing! Nice one! I remembered my daughter who really loved watching Brave so much! She's an avid fan of archery and she's a struggling archer as well.


  2. I've noticed that there are a lot of archery sets but most of the ones that I've come across say Jr. What is the difference other than material the bow is made of between a Jr. and Adult set? Does it have to do with how strong the bow is when pulled by an adult vs a child?

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  3. Alice ann,
    Typically a Jr. bow will provide for shorter draw lengths and lighter draw weights, but also a little more adjustment flexibility to accommodate a young person growing. Most adult bows have longer draw lengths with heavier draw weights and allow for very little adjustment without replacing the cams.

    There are some very good ladies bow options on the market today as well. I always recommend to someone interested in getting into archery to visit a local archery shop and speak with a professional. There are so many nuances to bows it is important to get fitted correctly.

  4. Really nice to see it one thing i notice that there are lots of archery sets & that is so good fact. You said 100% accurate that Archery is very fast growing sport among Men Women's & also in children.