Formal target shoots involving the bow and arrow and the spear were first used as military training activities, but Homer's 'Iliad' indicates that Greeks also held archery contests to shoot pigeons on top of tall poles in honor of the gods. Indians, Persians, Slavs, Celts, and Germans engaged in similar activities.
By the tenth century, marksmanship evolved into a social and recreational sport. Regarded as the progenitor of great shooters, Swiss hero William Tell gained honor during the 14th century after successfully shooting an apple off his son's head. A tyrannical Austrian bailiff forced Tell to use a crossbow to perform the legendary feat.