Bowhunting dates back to the Stone Age and can be traced throughout history in many regions around the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America. Native Americans were skilled bowhunters. Although their bows and arrows were often crude, they overcame the limitations of their equipment with their exceptional ability to stalk within close range of wary prey. The ability to get close to game remains the essence of all bowhunting today.
As immigrants moved into North America, they gradually combined European and Native American archery techniques and technology. The first archery club in America, known as the United Bowmen of Philadelphia, was formed in 1828.
The writings of bowhunters Will and Maurice Thompson helped popularize bowhunting in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1878, Maurice Thompson published the book The Witchery of Archery, which inspired many more individuals to pick up a bow and arrow. In 1879, the newly founded National Archery Association (NAA) held the first U.S.–sponsored tournament.