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Since December 2011, individual membership in USA Archery has jumped 25 percent, while the number of clubs has nearly doubled, to 540 from 279. Stacy Smith, 16, of Smiths Station, Alabama, has been around hunting her whole life. She thought shooting a bow "was something my dad did," she said, until she saw Katniss. "I thought it was cool that she could protect herself," Smith said. She and three friends finally gave the sport a try. Now she shoots regularly.
For Lauren Tang, 14, of Delta, British Columbia, the sport became a must-try after Katniss shot the apple on-screen. "If anything ever happens, I could survive in the wilderness," said Lauren.
Teenage girls are not the only devotees. Boys appear to idolise the arrow-slinging hero Hawkeye from this year's film The Avengers—much to the chagrin of archery teachers.
The child-archer craze is also spurring adults to try the sport. Karen Seaman, chief marketing officer for the Sportsman's Warehouse chain, said she bought her first bow this year, for her 8-year-old son. "We've seen a lot of women doing that," she said. "It's a family activity, away from the iPad for a few hours."
The second installment of the Hunger Games film franchise, Catching Fire, is scheduled for next winter. In April, USA Archery wrote to thank the author Suzanne Collins for taking archery "from 'men in tights' to the blazing hot spotlight." To which Alli Petheriotis, 14, who has never even heard of Robin Hood, would add: "She made it look cool. And it is cool."