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Archery Terms

Although they are too numerous to list I would like to thank all the ArcheryTalk members that contributed to this list.  I attempted to keep the definitions their own words, however, some editing for formatting was necessary.

3-D:  An archery competition in which the targets are life-size 3 dimensional foam animals.  It is usually shot outdoors with the targets at unknown ranges, however indoor and known range shoots are not uncommon.

3-Der: A person who shoots 3-D competitions.

Anchor: To draw the bow string to the same location in relation to a consistent reference point at full draw.

Arrow:  The projectile shot from a bow.

Arrow Lube:  A substance applied to an arrow shaft to ease it’s removal from foam targets.

Arrow Puller:  A device used to grip the shaft of a arrow it make it easier to pull from the target.

Arrow Rest: The support arm upon which the arrow lies while it is nocked on the string.

ATA:  See Axle-to-Axle.

Axle-To-Axle:  The distance between the axle of the upper cam to the axle of the bottom cam on a compound bow.

Back of the Bow: The part you can't see at full draw.

Back Quiver:  A traditional style quiver that is worn across the back and carries the arrows point down.

Back Tension: One of several related techniques used to activate a mechanical release using only the muscles of the shoulder or back. Movement of the humerus (upper arm bone) causes the hand and/or release to move in relation to the nocking point, causing the release to fire.

Bale:  Backstop to which the target is attached.

Bare Shaft Tuning:  A method of tuning in which unfletched arrow shafts are shot in order to attempt to get them to group with fletched shafts. 

Belt Quiver:  A type of quiver that attaches to the shooters belt.  Primarily used for target shooting.

Blank Bale (shooting):  Shooting which is done in "close" proximity to an arrow backstop (bale) in which a target is generally "not" used.

Bleeder Blades:  Small secondary blades attached to a broadhead to increase cutting area.

Blind Bale (shooting):  Same as above but generally done with eyes closed to allow a shooter to focus on the "sensations" of shooting without vision being one.

Blunt:  A point having a flat tip.  It is designed for small game and kills by shock.

Bolt:  The short arrow fired from a crossbow.

Bow Press:  A device used to compress the limbs of a compound bow so the cables and string may be removed for maintaince.

Bow Quiver:  A type of quiver that attaches to the bow.  It may or may not have a quick release device allowing easy removal.  Primarily used for hunting.

Bow Scale:  A scale used to measure the draw weight of a bow.

Bow Square:  A device usually "T" shaped, use to measure string height and nock height.

Bow Vice:  A device, usually affixed to a workbench, that holds a bow in position for maintaince

Brace Height:  Dimension from the grip pivot point to inside edge of string measured at 90 Degrees with the bow in the undrawn condition.

Broadhead:  A hunting point having 2 or more cutting edges.

Bull's Eye: The center of the target. The area with the highest scoring value.

Cat Quiver:  The trademarked name for a type of quiver that worn on the back and carries arrows point up.  It is usually integrated with a backpack.  Used primarily for hunting.

Cat Whisker:  A type of string silencer consisting of rubber “whiskers” tied around the bowstring.

Center Shot:  (a) The left/right horizontal placement of the arrow rest in the sight window of the handle riser.  (b) Can refer to the amount the sight window is offset in order to achieve ease of arrow passage.

Compound Bow:  A hand held, hand drawn bow that uses a pair of cables and wheels to store more energy.

Creep: To allow the arrow to slowly more forward before releasing.

Crest:  The colored band around the shaft of the arrow to allow I.d. of the arrow.

Cross Gun:  Crossbow.

Cushion Plunger:  A spring loaded button mounted in the hole in the riser.  It’s purpose is to cushion the arrow as it flexes horizontally upon release.  These are primarily used by finger shooters.

Cut on Contact Broadhead:  A broadhead that has cutting edges which taper all the way to the point.  They usually, but not always, have 2 primary cutting edges and possibly small bleeder blades.

Deflection:  The amount of bend in a bow limb.

Deflex:  A bow design where the ends of the handle or the limbs at the fadeouts are angled toward the belly and toward the archer.

Degrees of Offset: A measure of how fletching is applied to the shaft. If the shaft is viewed from one end, a 30 degree offset would cover the angle from 12-o'clock to 1-o'clock.

Draw:  (a) To pull the string back  (b) The distance of the string being drawn back.

Draw Curve:  A graph plotting the weight vs. length of a bow as it is drawn.

Draw Weight:  The maximum amount of force necessary to bring a bow to full draw, usually expressed in pounds.  On compounds it is measured at the peak before the let-off, on recurves it is normally measured at a 28” draw.

Drop-Away Rest: A drop-away rest uses cords, strings, ropes, plungers, and recoil of bows to drop the launcher (part of rest in contact with arrow) down and out of the way of the arrow, after supporting it so that it is in the correct place for a good tune, and arrow flight. The main purpose of drop-away rests is for fletching clearance. Many arrows, if fletched with straight fletches, will pass through a prong rest with no fletching contact or interference. But for hunters to prefer to shoot helically fletched arrows with broad-heads, the vanes/feathers will contact the rest and the arrow will rebound and create erratic arrow flight, and reduced accuracy.

Dual Cam:  A bow having 2 cams with the same profile.

Dynamic Deflection:  The amount of bend in a bow limb at full draw.

Fall Away Rest:  See Drop Away Rest.

Finger Sling: A cord tied in a "figure eight" used to retain the bow in the hand after release. The loops of the sling are usually fitted snugly around the middle finger and thumb. The sling and hand completely enclose the bow handle.

Fistmele:  The measure from the base of your fist to the tip of your extended thumb, a traditional method of checking brace height.

Fletching:  Feathers or plastic vanes attached to the rear end of an arrow to provide stabilization.

Fletching Jig:  A device that aids in alignment of the fletching while it is being applied to an arrow shaft.

Flu-Flu:  A arrow having either several large feathers or one long feather wrapped around the shaft.  The large fletching slows the arrow quickly, limiting it’s range.  They are used primarily for shooting aerial and elevated targets.

FOC:  See Front of Center.

Follow Through:  Maintaining the physical position of the upper body, arms, head, and shoulders after the release of the string.

Force Draw Curve:  See Draw Curve.

Front of Center:  A measure of how far forward the balance point of a arrow is from the center of it’s length.

Front of the Bow: The part you can see at full draw.

Grip: To hold the bow, used in reference to holding the bow too tightly.

Group:  (a) To shoot arrow in a pattern. (b) The pattern of the arrows on a target.

High Anchor: An anchor where the drawing hand touches the check when at full draw.

Hip Quiver:  A type of quiver that attaches to the hip or upper thigh.  Primarily used for hunting.

Holding Weight:  The amount of force needed to hold a bow at full draw, usually expressed in pounds.

Hybrid Cam:  A bow with 2 cams having different profiles.  Examples are Hoyt’s Cam and a Half and Darton’s CPS.

Insert:  A threaded bushing installed in the forward end of an arrow to allow use of screw in tips.

Jarlicker:   A shot arrow that barely touches the scoring line from the lower scoring side.

Judo Point:  A type of point having 4 spring arms which catch the grass and flip the arrow to prevent it’s loss.  Although it was originally designed for stump shooting it has found favor with small game hunters.

Kisser Button:  A small plastic disk attached to a bow string which touches a point on the archers face to ensure a consistent anchor.

Let-Off:  The amount of reduction in a compounds weight after it passes the peak weight during the draw.  Usually expressed as a percentage.

Limb:  The part of the bow that flexes when the string is drawn and stores energy until release.

Limb Bolt:  The bolts that attach the limbs to the riser.  They are also used to adjust the bow’s draw weight.

Limb Pocket:  The part of the riser to which the limbs attach.

Linecutter:  A large diameter arrow intended to increase the likelihood if touching a higher scoring ring.

Line Jammer:  See Linecutter.

Lizard Tongue Rest: A lizard or snake tongue rest blade resembles a snake's tongue (surprise!) In the fact that it is solid, then at the end (where the arrow rests) it has a fork in it, a "V". A lizard tongue blade is designed mostly for target and competition use. When an arrow is launched from a lizard tongue blade, the blade flexes out of the way downward like a drop-away, allowing the arrow to fly freely and smoothly.

Log:  A large, heavy arrow.

Low Anchor: An anchor position where the drawing hand is under the jaw bone at full draw.

Mechanical Broadhead:  A broadhead having moveable blades that remain folded until impact on an animal, at which time they unfold and penetrate much like a conventional broadhead.

Nock:  (a) The part of an arrow that engages the bowstring.  (b) To attach a arrow to the bowstring.

Nocking Point:  The point on the string at which the arrow is positioned for shooting.

Over-Draw:  A type of arrow rest that extends from the riser back towards the string allowing a shorter than normal arrow to be shot.  As the arrow is behind the hand it usually incorporates a guard to prevent injury in case the arrow falls off of the rest.

Paper Tune:  A method of tuning in which arrows are shot through paper to analyze the tears to check for proper arrow flight.

Peak Weight:  The highest weight achieved during the draw cycle.

Peep Sight:  A plastic piece with a hole drilled in it that is placed on the string to serve as a rear sight.

Pinwheel:   A shot arrow that is the center of a scoring ring. (usually 3-D).

Powder Test:  Spray the back 10 to 12 inches of the arrow with foot powder and shoot the arrow into a rugged backstop. The arrow should have distinct track(s) where it contacted the rest as it left the bow. If any of those tracks touch the fletching your arrow’s flight will suffer, especially if you are using plastic vanes.

Pure Back Tension Release: A triggerless release designed to be activated using back tension. Usually consists of a handle and a moveable head with a hook and a rope. The release is activated by rotating the handle while the head is attached to the string.

Quiver:  A device used to carry arrows.

Rag Box:  A home made backstop consisting of a box filled with rags and old clothes with the buttons removed.

Reflex:  A bow design where the ends of the handle or the limbs at the fadeouts angle toward the back of the bow.

Riser:  The part of the bow to which the limbs attach.  The bow’s handle or frame.

Roll-Up Sight: A target sight that uses dials and threaded rod for "elevation" adjustments (up and down) making the scope, or pin move up and down, and uses a "windage" (horizontal adjustment) movement to move the scope/pin side to side.

Roving:  See Stump Shooting.

Self-Bow:  A home made traditional bow.

Shoot Through Cam: The FuryX, NitrousX, and Wedel cams use 4 straight cables, and one string. The cables follow a track on either side of the string on either cam. As an example, the bottom cam has two cables connected to it in the tracks on either side of the string, and these cables spread wider as they near the top axle. At the top axle, the cables attach to pegs on the outside of the limb, and the same in reverse for the top cam. This configuration creates a zero pre-loaded torque bow, and is generally more forgiving because of the lack of pre-loaded torque in the cam and cable system. The arrow rests between the two cables on either side of the bow, and passes between them when the arrow is released.

Single Cam:  A bow having a cam on only one limb, the other limb is fitted with a round idler wheel.

Solo Cam:  See Single Cam.

Spider Legs:   A shot arrow in the center of an "X". It looks like a spider pinned to the target.

Spine:  A measure of the amount an arrow will flex upon release.  This is measured by supporting the arrow on both ends and measuring the flex when a 2 pound weight is suspended from the middle of the shaft.

Spot Shooter:  A person who shoots indoor archery tournaments.  So named because targets consist of round spots with multiple scoring rings.

Spottie:  See Spot Shooter.

Static Deflection:  The amount of bend in a bow’s limb when the bow is undrawn.

String Silencer:  Any of a variety of devices that attach to a bowstring to absorb vibration and make the bow quieter.

Stump Shooting:  Roaming the woods shooting at targets of opportunity such as stumps, leaves, trash ect.  This is excellent practice for hunting as you are shooting at unknown distances under field conditions.

Target Panic: One of several mental conditions interfering with concentration or timing of release of the arrow. Most commonly, an inability to smoothly release the arrow over the intended part of the target.

Tiller:  The distance between the string and the point where the limb meets the riser.  If the distance is the same for both the top and bottom limb the bow is said to be at even tiller.

Torque:  The tendency of a bow to lean or kick to one side during the release.  It usually produces misses in the horizontal plane can be caused by a number of factors such as improper grip, a poorly balanced bow, a bad release, ect.

Tweener:   Arrow that is between two scoring rings. "A tweener at
5 o'clock."

Twin Cam:  See Dual Cam.

Valley:  The point of lowest holding weight during the draw cycle.

Wall:  The point after the valley in which the draw weight rapidly increases.

Worm burner:  A shot arrow that goes to ground.

X-Bow:  Crossbow.

X-Count:  The number of shots on a round that touch the X-ring.  Usually used as a tie-breaker.

X-Ring:  The innermost ring of an archery target.

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