Archery News: Bhutan Tourney Gets High

These cats know how to archery.

Bhutan archer
Photo lifted from NY Times. Click on it for a brief but fascinating look at Bhutan archers.

They get drunk and high and fire broadheads 450 feet at targets the size of fire hydrants — while spectators are wandering around down range.

“People have confidence in our archers,” Prince Jigyel Ugyen said during a break in the action. “I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”

It’s not:

Archery injuries are among the most common reasons for hospital admissions in Bhutan, officials said. One possible reason is that drinking is encouraged during tournaments, as is the competitors’ near-constant chewing of pan, a mild narcotic that stains their teeth red.* Taunting opponents is common, and on rare occasions, archers stand in front of the target and get shot rather than allow a competitor to win crucial points, though that has become even less common with the more powerful and accurate compound bows.

Oh, right, diss the trad gang. Typical.

The prizes included washing machines, refrigerators and microwaves. Bhutan is a matriarchal society — property is passed from mother to daughter — so tournament awards are intended for archers’ wives or mothers, an official said.

What must it be like to come home drunk, stoned, red toothed and tired from a day of shooting and dancing only to meet the wife at the door and get reamed out because you failed to bring home a Fridgidaire?

*Pan is a narcotic “that stains their teeth red”. Seriously, that’s all the Times has to say about a narcotic ingested by practicing archers? Red teeth is the salient feature of the narcotic? If so pan is one recreational drug I’m certain not to get addicted to. In any case, this story is just one more reason to love archery — and stay the hell out of Bhutan during bow deer season.

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