Archery has two shots named after the legendary archer that first made the shot. The William Tell, and the Robin Hood. William Tell’s famous shot consisted of him shooting an apple off of his son’s head, for the amusement of an evil ruler and Robin Hood split an arrow. 

To this day archers still declare war on fruit, shooting at apples and attempting to split their own arrows. I thought it would be fun to take a look at these shots, how to set them up, and the history behind them.

The William Tell

William Tell Memorial in Canton of Uri, Switzerland

Several accounts of the Tell legend exist, and all tell  of the apple shot, Tell's escape, and the ensuing rebellion. William Tell was known as a strong man, a mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. Thats right crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri, and Tell became one of the conspirators of Werner Stauffacher, vowing to resist Habsburg rule. Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian ruler, raised a pole under the village lindentree, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and was arrested. Gessler—intrigued by Tell's famed marksmanship but resentful of his defiance—devised a cruel punishment. Tell and his son were to be executed. However, he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son Robert in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow. Now, Gessler had noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver. Before releasing him, he asked why. Tell was reluctant to answer, but after Gessler promised he would not kill him, he replied that had he killed his son, he would have killed Gessler with the second bolt. Gessler was furious and ordered Tell to be bound, saying that he was a man of his word and  had promised to spare his life,so instead of killing Tell he  would imprison him for the remainder of his life.Tell was brought to Gessler's boat to be taken to the dungeon in the castle at Küssnacht. A storm broke on Lake Lucerne, and the guards were afraid that their boat would sink. They begged to remove Tell's shackles so he could take the helm and save them.Once freed, Tell led the boat to a rocky place and leapt from the boat. The site is known as "Tellsplatte" ("Tell's slab").,and Since the 16th century the site has been marked by a memorial chapel. Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht. As Gessler arrived, Tell assassinated him, using the second crossbow bolt, along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, now known as the Hohle Gasse. Tell's blow for liberty sparked a rebellion in which he played a leading part, leading to the formation of the Old Swiss Confederacy Now in order for someone to perform the William Tell they will need to split an apple, with the only difference being that the apples are placed on targets or stakes instead of children's heads. What you will need for this is some apples, and I find plant stakes work the best to hold them, and as an added bonus when your not using the stakes to hold apples they make great ground quivers. The shot seems simple enough, but you have to remember Tell only had one shot, he was aiming at his son and both of their lives hung in the balance. Although you may not of heard of William Tell his famed shot is still being immortalized today in films like the hunger games. 

The Robin Hood

Robin Hood statue, Nottingham Castle, England

Probably the most  iconic archery shot in literature: the Robin Hood consist of splitting a target-embedded arrow with another of your own. The average archer has a chance to shoot the "Robin Hood" stunt every 1 in 10,000 shots. Most archers will  not split a wooden arrow but telescope a modern aluminum or carbon fiber arrow.The aluminum and carbon fiber arrow shafts used by modern archers are more consistent and straighter than wood arrows, making for more consistent shots. This makes Robin Hood’s feat truly unique since he used only wood arrows. However the shot is not impossible and has been done by several great archers including famed archer Howard Hill, Byron Ferguson, and even the The MythBusters cast attempted the difficult shot but were unable to replicate the end to end splitting of an arrow, and concluded that a shaft made of bamboo, not wood, may have been used for the famous shot. To shoot a robin hood you must 1st shoot the center of the target, the second arrow must strike the first splitting the arrow. 

Both shots are quite difficult, but with practice and discipline  they are attainable.