Jonathan Parris' replica silver bowEver want to know what kind of bow Katniss uses in The Hunger Games series? Judging from the descriptions, it was probably a recurve bow.


“My bow is a rarity, crafted by my father along with a few others that I keep well hidden in the woods, carefully wrapped in waterproof covers.” 
In The Hunger Games book, author Suzanne Collins arms Katniss with archery skills and expertise as she learned from her father. Although The Hunger Games series is a great read, the author doesn’t expand much on Katniss’ Hunger Games bow.

Recurve Bows

Whenever you draw a bow back, you add tension to the limbs. The release of this tension provides the power for the arrows. Longbows are the strongest of bow designs, but they stand between 6 and 7 feet. They also require a great deal of strength to fire and aren’t very useful for hunting in small, wooded areas.
Recurve bows are signified by the way the limbs curve outward at the end. This helps provide launching power to your arrows once fired without needing a lot of strength. Recurve bows are good for smaller people and portability. Modern recurve bows are actually used in the official Olympic games. Recurve bows can be designed for left or right-handed shooters.

Therefore, it makes sense that Katniss’ bow is recurved because Katniss is a relatively slender character, despite her supreme survival instincts and endurance.  She can easily carry a recurve bow through the forest to hunt squirrels and other animals.

It’s likely the silver bow she found in the arena was also recurved and made of composite material, which means it was reinforced with other materials such as plastic or metal. This adds to the strength and makes the bow’s limbs last longer.

Where to buy Katniss’ bow 

This Wooden recurve bow looks much like the one she used in the arena. Customers have recommended this as a perfect prop for a Katniss costume or for actual use by a youth archer.71sNTLAW9ML._SL1500_

There is an official Hunger Games movie bow made by NECA, but it’s not very functional and fairly expensive as a decoration. If you want a working Katniss-themed bow, Lancaster Archery Supply (one of our sponsors as shown on the left) sells  Capitol and Arena-themed functional recurve bows that can be shot by your average teen-ager.

For you more crafty types, Johnathan Parris, a professional set director,  made his own replica of the arena bow, as shown in the picture above. Here are the instructions on how to make Katniss’ silver bow.

Handmade Recurve Bows

To order a genuine wooden recurve bow, much like Katniss’ father, people still fashion bows out of wood for artistic as well as functional purposes. They can make for great collectors’ items or for recreating fantasy action.

Given Katniss’ size description, she probably pulled with a 20# to 30# bow. The price of a bow can vary, but you should be able to get a beginner’s compound bow for around 50 USD. You can also try hunting specialty stores like Bowhunters International or Cabela’s. Dick’s Sporting Goods also sells archery equipment online.  Just make sure you try out some bows at a specialty store to find out what your pull weight should be.  Bows are often described by the draw strength in terms of pounds. A 20# bow, for example, requires 20 pounds of draw strength to pull the string up to the peak before you release it, also known as the anchor point.

If you want a complete kit that includes accessories, arrows and a bow, Martin Archery sells one  . It’s  also a good one for a Katniss costume.

Remember, it’s not the weapon that kills; it’s how the Tribute wields the weapon. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Special thanks to Johnathan Parris for his artist’s interpretation of Katniss’ recurve bow.