Olympic shooting sports are suddenly hot. In the wake of Kim Rhode’s amazing and historic gold in women’s skeet she’s getting a lot of much-deserved love in the press. But skeet is not the only feel-good story. The US men’s archery team brought home our first medal of the games, winning silver in a dramatic, down-to-the-last-arrow match against Italy. Apparently, the excitement of the shootout has some sportswriters wishing the Olympics had more archery events.

From this story on
Today’s tremendously exciting men’s team archery finals–Italy over the USA with a bull’s-eye on the final arrow!–brought to mind a question that’s long been nagging at me: Would Olympic archers be any good at bow hunting?

It’s a rhetorical question, as the writer goes on to explain how many of our current Olympian archers, including top-ranked Brady Ellison, are also ardent hunters. The point he’s really trying to make is that we need to add field archery to the Olympics.

From the story: All of these archers/hunters seem like they’d be naturals at “field archery,” a sport that tries to bridge the gap between target shooting and bow hunting. In field archery competitions, targets of various shapes, colors, and sizes are set up in non-standardized outdoor courses, often in wooded terrain; archers must walk from target to target. A few target archers also compete in field archery. At the 2009 World Games in Taipei, former U.S. Olympic archer Vic Wunderle took gold in one of the field archery competitions, while Michele Frangilli, whose last-shot bull’s-eye today clinched Olympic gold for Team Italy, also did well. I’d watch the hell out of field archery if it were an Olympic sport. And if it did make it to the games, the Americans’ chances at taking home a gold medal might improve.

I would, too. Although I missed the US match, I did catch the equally dramatic, down-to-the-last-arrow duel between the China and South Korean women’s teams (South Korea took it by one point). Who says archery can’t be a spectator sport? I think field archery would be equally exciting. Who else would watch it?

While many American professional archers grew up shooting moving mammalian targets before transitioning to stationary targets, in other countries archery is almost exclusively a target sport. In order to get to the Olympics, though, field archery will need a strong, high-profile advocate. Are you paying attention, Ted Nugent?