The Art of Archery

Undergrads learn a new way to draw.

On a nippy fall afternoon, the archery club gathers for practice in the Bema. Eighteen students set up targets—the classic circular bull’s-eye—and prepare their bows.

Eric Bae ’24, a club leader, demonstrates proper form. “We don’t want to be shooting with just our forearms,” he says. “We want to use all of our large muscles when we shoot. We want arms fully extended from our body. We draw with three fingers. When we release, we want to simply no longer be holding the arrow.” 

Bae grew up as a bowhunter in upstate New York. “Some members are hunters,” he says. “And some did target archery at camp.” Many students join with little or no experience. There’s no charge, and the College provides bows and arrows.

“Range hot!” president Shawn Selbst ’26 calls out, and a half-dozen archers take aim at their targets, which are backed by a large white canvas to keep any misses from veering into the woods. After several shots, a shout of “Range cold!” goes out, and the archers retrieve the arrows—most from their intended targets, and a good number of them bull’s-eyes. 

“People have improved a lot over the term,” Selbst says. Later they add new targets—a large jack-o-lantern and two small artificial pumpkins on a stump. More arrows find their marks. 

Shade Hargis ’27, a computer science major from Arizona, is one of the newcomers. “It’s going pretty well,” he says. “I plan to continue next term.” When the snow comes, the club will head to its indoor range in the basement of the Class of 1953 Commons.  

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