ARCHERY came along in pretty much the same epoch as the wheel.
Cavemen traded in their clubs and spears somewhere around the same era they could woo their beloved in a souped-up chariot rather than dragging them by the hair.
Archery and the wheel are among the greatest inventions of antiquity.
Bows and arrows began as subsistence hunting necessities and have matured to be used to target feral game or the cardboard kind, with painted bullseyes.
In the intervening millennia arrows and launch vehicles evolved as weapons of war. As such, they were used until the modern era of gunpowder.
Wheels will keep rolling until science provides humanity with the means of defeating gravity, whenever that'll be.
That and associate thoughts within the context of this column have been abiding impressions from The Hunger Games, a futuristic flick I went to see the other day.
The storyline goes full circle. A ruling class, in get-ups and hair-dos reminiscent of the Split Enz heyday, whisks off a peasant girl hunter in a flying saucer to participate in a reality gladiatorial contest in some kind of Jurassic Park.
Jennifer Lawrence makes a fist of an altruistic and deadly accurate character in the lead role. Her performance might be likened to comparing the most recent Robin Hood, Russell Crowe - another Kiwi rocker - with the Finn brothers.
Today's archers shoot with an exactitude of which Sir Robin of Loxley, William Tell and Hiawatha could only dream. This accuracy, in no small part, is due to bows with wheels - that word again.
At full draw, a 90-pound compound bow - which packs enough wallop to bring down a scrub bull - imposes about 15 pounds of pressure on the shooter. The pulleys and cams offer a more comfortable option than drawing on something akin to the bow of Ulysses - though there are purists who'll not touch anything beyond the English longbow.
All things considered, it's a time thing with compound bows; time to take careful aim. For that reason, they're the bows of choice for shooting game.
Bow hunters stalk the same roster of ferals as riflemen, from bunnies to buffalo. The main difference is that they have to get closer.
Much closer. A 50-metre shot is chancy.
The likelihood of a miss is always on the cards with small game. Big game carries the risk of arrows running out of energy and not having the penetration for a clean kill.
The blade arrowheads hunters use rely on internal haemorrhage. They have vastly inferior flight characteristics to the target arrows Olympic archers use.
A bow hunter imperative lays in the stalk. Those blokes - and women, as compound bows make hunting a unisex pursuit - have taken camo clobber and sneaking up to the higher harmonics.
Some cite a thrillseeker thing about getting within yards of dangerous game. And the double dose of adrenalin that goes with a good shot. Or missing.
They have more guts than me. I feel safer being back a bit with a bullet up the spout.