The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon (a bow with arrows) that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures. Archery is the art, practice, or skill of applying it. Katniss Everdeen uses a bow to hunt for food and it becomes her weapon of choice in the arena. Gale Hawthorne is also a skilled archer, which he learned from Katniss, who in turn learned from her father.
The bow is a flexible arc with the ends tightly connected by catgut or a linen string coated in beeswax. Bows may be made of wood (usually ash or yew), fiberglass, metals, and carbon fiber components.
A bow's power is referred to as its draw strength, which is measured by the pounds of pressure it takes to pull the draw string to the anchor point from where the arrow is fired. The arrows are straight pieces of wood, plastic or light metal. The arrowheads are tipped with sharp bits of metal or stone. The arrows' ends are fletched with goose feathers or plastic to help keep them straight in flight. They are stored in a container called quiver which the archer wears over either over the shoulder, resting on the back, or around the waist.
The three major bow varieties are compound, recurve, and longbows. Compound bows use pulleys to lessen the necessary strength of the user. Recurve bows get their power by having two forward curving arcs that come together in the center. Longbows are the plainest, having a mostly straight, but very long body. They require the most draw power of the three types. Katniss likely uses a recurve bow because it provides ample power without being too long to easily move throughout the forest. In The Hunger Games film she is also depicted using a leather shooting glove.
The Hunger Games
The bow was favored by Katniss in the 74th Hunger Games. Her father had made several bows of wood and one for her before he died, but when she got older she used one of his larger bows. After she and Gale Hawthorne grew to trust each other, they exchanged knowledge. Katniss learned how to use snares and to fish, while Gale learned how to shoot and which plants were edible. Eventually Katniss gave him one of her father's bows.
Katniss did not use the archery station during the three days that she had to practice in the Training Center on Haymitch Abernathy's advice to keep her archery skills a secret from the other tributes, saving this for her private session with the Gamemakers. She missed the dummy because the bow she was using had a tighter pull and she had to adjust to it first. However after this miss the Gamemakers essentially ignored her as they had gotten tired after watching the 23 other tributes perform. Despite putting on an impressive performance after getting the hang of the bow, this still failed to grab their attention. Out of frustration, Katniss caught the Gamemakers by surprise by shooting an apple out of the mouth of a roast pig that had been brought in for them to dine on before abruptly walking out. This audacity earned her an 11 training score, the highest of all the tributes.
Only one bow and quiver identical to that in the Training Center was supplied at the Cornucopia. When Katniss saw these she considered making a run for them despite Haymitch's advice to get away from the Cornucopia and avoid the bloodbath. It took Peeta Mellark's dissuasion to prevent her from doing so and the bow and arrows were acquired by Glimmer, who also favored them, but lacked Katniss' level of skill. After Glimmer was stung to death by the tracker jackers, Katniss was able to recover her bow and arrows despite the hallucinations she was experiencing from the tracker jacker venom.
After Katniss became a victor, she continued to hunt daily despite her wealth in order to provide for Gale's family because he had begun to work in the mines and refused to accept any money from her. The only time they were able to hunt together was on Sundays.
When Katniss was in the Training Center, she decided to go to the archery range for "some sanity". The trainer Tax tossed fake birds high into the air for her to hit. When she shoots down five in one round, she realizes that she has gained the attention of most of the victors, who are regarding her with "everything from envy to hatred to admiration."
In the 75th Hunger Games numerous bows and quivers were supplied at the Cornucopia. When Katniss obtained her bow she briefly faced off against Finnick Odair, who was poised to attack her with his trident, before they quickly became allies. Katniss fired and missed at Enobaria, but hit Gloss in the calf. Brutus deflected her first arrow with his flotation belt and submerged himself before she could fire a second shot.
After Katniss joins the rebellion Beetee designs a special, custom-made military-grade bow for her in District 13. This bow is black and was designed to both fit in with her mockingjay costume and be fully functional. To Katniss it seems like a living weapon as when activated by the sound of her voice the bow emits a slight hum that can be felt. When she tells it "Good night" it shuts down and reverts to being a regular bow. The bow fired regular, explosive, and incendiary arrows distinguished by the colors of their shafts that Katniss was able to shoot accurately over 100 yards. Gale was also equipped with a standard military bow that was equipped with various gadgets and scopes. Although both were later trained in firearms use, they carried the bows as special weapon after joining Squad 451, a sharpshooter unit.
Following her return to District 12, Katniss attempts to hunt after being snapped out of her lethargy by Peeta's eventual return and planting of primrose bushes outside her house. She is too weak after much inactivity on her first attempt, but eventually is able to resume.
Bows and arrows are used throughout the trilogy and Katniss and Gale are the two characters who are most prominently known as archers. Although Glimmer displayed an affinity for the bow, she displayed a lack of skill with it and missed Katniss when the latter was in the tree. This is odd given that she was a Career Tribute and presumably would have had much more training and experience.
- Bow and arrow on Wikipedia