The Mysterious History Of Shooting Sports
When creating a country sports photography album, the most unique and dynamic shots are often those seen in the pursuit of shooting sports, including hunting, archery and clay pigeon target shooting.
These sports were born and developed alongside the weapons themselves, with the first recreational shooting sports being recreational archery undertaken in Ancient Egypt and Greece, primarily as training and target practice with a necessary, practical purpose.
One of the biggest changes in this regard is the development of gunpowder and, more specifically, the development of the matchlock gun firing method.
Early guns, such as the Chinese hand cannon or the fire lance, worked like miniature cannons in that they needed to be lit using a match, which was exceptionally impractical during combat and meant that aiming was a matter of lighting the fuse and hoping the shot would go the right direction.
Matchlock guns, such as the arquebus, the musket and the later tanegashima, would start to change this, and enable a level of accuracy with firearms seldom seen before.
The first documented match between two marksmen is believed to have taken place in 1477, where the competitors used matchlock guns at a distance of around 200m to shoot targets.
As guns became easier to use and more efficient, target shooting would increase in popularity and by the 16th century, shooting had become a popular pastime, to the point that it was a wedding tradition in Germany for guests to shoot at wooden targets.
The first officially sanctioned shooting matches, with live targets and prizes, came in 1737, where Anna, Empress of Russia would present the winners of the shoot with cups studded with diamonds and gold.