By George Tekmitchov with John E. Phillips
“The Hunger Games,” “Brave,” and other movies and TV shows have contributed to the 46-percent rise in females becoming archers in recent years. The sport of archery also is growing worldwide. Didier Mieville of World Archery estimates there are 8 million archers regularly practicing in the world. George Tekmitchov, an engineer for Hoyt/Easton, knows how Hoyt’s Buffalo Bow was selected to be used by Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in the next three “Hunger Games” movies.
Tekmitchov says the Hoyt Buffalo was chosen because it was the right style, looked good onscreen, was lightweight and was easy for Lawrence to use.
The Right Style
Hoyt became involved with the “Hunger Games” movies after working with the movie “The Avengers.” The prop house in Los Angeles that provided props for almost every movie with weapons asked Hoyt to send some bows for them to present to the producers of “The Avengers.”
After “The Avengers” was made, the same prop house asked Hoyt to send the Buffalo and some other recurve bows for consideration by the producers of “The Hunger Games.” Hoyt sent the Buffalo and several of our Olympic-style competition recurve bows for them to consider.
The Right Look
“The Hunger Games” producers chose the Hoyt Buffalo, which had the look they wanted for Katniss: not too heavy nor difficult for Lawrence to use. They also wanted a bow that looked good on camera and had classic lines.
Hoyt built special 20-pound recurve limbs for Lawrence and her Buffalo. The prop house also wanted arrows that were black and shiny and looked distinctive, like the Easton X7 Eclipse arrows, so they would photograph well. Unlike Hawkeye in “The Avengers,” in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” Lawrence actually pulled the bow and shot real aluminum Easton X7 Eclipse Arrows instead of computer-generated arrows.
The Right Weight
The Hoyt Buffalo is lightweight and has a fast natural aim. Because the Buffalo is celebrity bowhunter Fred Eichler’s signature bow, it was designed to allow for the arrow on the rest to be situated very close to where the hand is positioned on the riser. This bow features a raised shelf where the arrow rests prior to shooting. The bow is sold with a Flemish string, popular among traditional shooters.
The interchangeable limbs of the Buffalo — which fit into the Formula interchangeable-limb system — aid in accuracy and make the bow much easier and smoother to shoot.
Jennifer Lawrence as an Archer
An actor must be able to learn quickly and adapt to the physical demands of a movie script and, according to Jennifer Lawrence’s coach Khatuna Lorig, the Hollywood celebrity showed good natural ability and was easy to coach.
Professional archer Khatuna Lorig, who took 4th place individually at the 2012 London Olympic Games, lives in Los Angeles and was available to train Lawrence. Lorig, who is also active as an archery coach, has competed in five Olympic Games, representing the Unified Team (the former Soviet Union), later the country of Georgia and then the United States of America, after becoming a citizen in 2005.
The History of the Buffalo Bow
Hoyt started producing the Hoyt Buffalo three years ago as a custom-designed bow for Fred Eichler. The Buffalo is both a hunting bow and a recreational bow, and the arrows are meant to be shot off the shelf. This simple bow incorporates the highest technology of limb design and uses the Hoyt Formula Series design, the same system used by Korea’s Oh Jin Hyek, who won gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
What’s Next for Katniss Everdeen’s Bow?
Mike Luper, vice president of sales and marketing for Hoyt bows, says,“In the first ‘Hunger Games,’ Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) used a stick bow. But in the rest of the ‘Hunger Games’ movies, she’s shooting the Hoyt Buffalo, which already had a movie history, since Hawkeye shot it in ‘The Avengers’ movie. The movie’s director, prop master and actress all had input in selecting the bow to be used in ’Catching Fire’ and the following two installments of the ‘Hunger Games’ franchise.
“The Hoyt Buffalo originally was built to be a high-end hunting bow for anyone who wanted to shoot a lightweight, traditional bow that was easy to carry and had classic traditional lines. The limb-pocket system reduced the load on the riser by 40 percent, a unique design Hoyt introduced about three or four years ago. For 2014, the Buffalo bow will be offered with a silver riser and black limbs, just like the one Katniss shoots in ‘The Hunger Games.’
“Hoyt’s excited to see archery on the big screen and believes the ‘Hunger Games’ movies will help get more people involved in archery sports. After realizing the impact of the various movies on the sport of archery, archery retail shops across the nation now are prepared to show and teach archery to young people, women and anyone wanting to learn more about our sport.”
— John E. Phillips