The must-have Christmas gift for 2014 is the deadly crossbows with reverse limbs which any Hunger Games superfan can legally buy, without background checks.
Suppliers of the Hoyt Buffalo hunting bow – Jennifer Lawrence’s weapon of choice in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ – say sales of the weapon, which is lethally accurate at 90 yards, have increased by nearly 50 per cent in the run-up to the film’s release on Wednesday (NOV 19).
Carl Aldred, 50, manager of The Archery Shop in Bournemouth, said the £529.99 Hoyt Buffalo – which is also the preferred tool of Jeremy Renner’s character Hawkeye in the Avengers – is fast becoming a fashionable accessory.
He said: “The bow is expensive, but we’ve sold lots of them recently. The Hoyt Buffalo is a really good quality bow.
“We have had lots of people coming into our store, especially young girls, who have asked after the items because they’ve watched the Hunger Games.”
Mr Aldred said sales of the bow have increased by 40 per cent since the start of September. He sold 36 of the model in October alone.
Mr Aldred said: “When I ask customers what’s got them into archery, they’ll often tell me it was ‘The Hunger Games’.
“It’d be easy to surprise someone with a bow for Christmas because it would be easy to wrap it up in a box that’s 25 inches long. It’d be simple to fit a Buffalo bow under the Christmas tree.”
For families on a budget, a simpler recurve bow is available on eBay for just £44.99. The “junior” kit is described as “an ideal youth bow for any budding Robin Hood or Maid Marian.”
Charlene Coates, a spokesperson for Archery GB, said that budding archers only face restrictions if they wish to practice at an official range.
She said: “There is no legal restriction in the UK on the purchase of a bow. Anyone can buy a bow, but they will require membership with Archery UK if they want to use their bow at a shooting range.”
Mr Aldred said: “There is no age restriction on buying a bow, unlike a crossbow, which requires the customer to be more than than 18 years old.
“We’re stocking up on bows for teenagers because parents seem to love them. We are ordering in extra stock for Christmas especially for the fans of ‘The Hunger Games’.”
The Hoyt Buffalo, which is available at Mr Aldred’s website at www.thearcheryshop.co.uk, is available in two sizes and can create between 30 and 65lbs of pressure at the draw.
Mr Aldred said: “The only downside to buying a bow is that you might get it in the wrong size.
“You can still buy someone a bow as a present, but it’d really help if you knew their height, size and strength. You need someone to help you pick out the right size, otherwise you might not be able to even pull the string back.”
There are over a thousand archery clubs in the UK and the sport is open to everyone.
Mr Aldred said: “The great thing about archery is that it’s a family sport. You can do it at any age or at any level. The excitement of hitting that gold – it’s incredible. As soon as people start hitting the bullseye, they get hooked.”
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ in released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 19th November.
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