Increase Your Skyrim Archery Skill

Increasing your archery skill is a surefire way to create a powerful character in Skyrim. High level archers deal a devastating amount of damage in the game. Whether you want to become an expert huntsman, or a master thief or assassin, you’ll want to increase your Skyrim archery skill as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, leveling your archery skill can be a slow, frustrating process at times, and training does take effort. Want to become an expert marksman? Follow these proven strategies.

increase your skyrim archery skill faendalTo gain experience with the bow you must shoot at live targets that take damage. Forget about those archery targets scattered around Skyrim — they look nice with their painted bulleyes, but shooting at these circle targets won’t increase your Skyrim archery skill one bit. Save your arrows for bandits, giants, wolves, Frost Spiders, and the like. Every successful hit with an arrow gains you experience. Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Every time you score a successful hit with an arrow against a live target you gain experience.
  2. You don’t gain experience for missed shots.
  3. The more damage you do with a bow and arrow, the more experience you gain.
  4. Killing your target with an arrow gives you additional experience.

To increase your Skyrim archery skill at a faster pace, you’ll need to pay for training. In Skyrim there are three Trainers willing to help you improve your skill for the right amount of gold.

Trainer Type
Max Level Trained To
Aela The Huntress
Whiterun (Companions)
Riften (Thieves Guild)

Note: If you want to train with either Aela The Huntress or Niruin, you’ll need to belong to the appropriate faction (i.e., the Companions or Thieves Guild).

A fourth Trainer of sorts can be found in Angi’s Camp (located in the Jerall Mountains south of Falkreath). Angi is a Nord in hiding, and will teach you archery for free if you take part in target practice training through the Composure, Speed, and Precision quest. The training consists of four rounds, and successful completion will net you a total of six skill points in Archery (check out the youtube video below by Tricatproductions for a quick walkthrough). Also, while you’re in Angi’s Camp, be sure to read The Gold Ribbon of Merit on the end table to gain an additional Archery point.

[youtube_sc url=”″]

Besides The Gold Ribbon of Merit, a number of other books exist that will help you increase your Skyrim archery skill. Reading a skill book will increase your Archery skill by one point. You can’t read the same book more than once.

Book Title
Father of the Niben
Wreck of the Brinehammer
Father of the Niben
Autumnshade Clearing (on dead hunter)
The Black Arrow v2
Drunken Huntsman Tavern (behind counter)
The Black Arrow v2
Valtheim Towers
The Gold Ribbon of Merit
Fletcher’s Shop in Solitude
The Gold Ribbon of Merit
Angi’s Camp
The Marksmanship Lesson
Dawnstar Sanctuary in map room
The Marksmanship Lesson
Mixwater Mill (Gilfre’s House)
The Marksmanship Lesson
Jorrvaskr’s quarters
The Marksmanship Lesson
Cliffside Retreat
Vernaccus and Bourlor
Knifepoint Ridge (in Smithshop)
Vernaccus and Bourlor
Froki’s Shack
Vernaccus and Bourlor
Greywinter Watch

It takes time and money to increase your Skyrim archery skill. To make things cheaper and to speed things up, there are a few effective cheats you can use:

  • Have Faendal train you for free by completing the quest A Lovely Letter and adding him as a Follower. After paying Faendal for training sessions, access his inventory by saying “I want to trade some things with you.” Once you gain access to his inventory you’ll see the gold you paid him and can take it all back without penalty.
  • The same cheat with Faendal works with Aela The Huntress if you complete the Companions quest line and add her as a Follower. Pay her, take a look at her inventory, and take your money back.
  • If you’re a practitioner of Conjuration magic, summon a minion with either Conjure Familiar, Raise Zombie, or similar spell. Once the minion appears, feather it with arrows to gain experience.
  • If you have the Ice Form shout, take a quiver of low damage iron arrows and find a Troll. Freeze the Troll with Ice Form and shoot it with iron arrows, allowing the Troll time to regenerate its health. Once the Ice Form wears off, retreat and allow your Shout to build up again. The Troll will pursue you, and as soon as it gets close: freeze, shoot, repeat.

Do you know of any additional techniques or cheats to increase your Skyrim archery skill? If so, please share your advice in the Speak Your Mind section below. We’re all fellow travelers here in Tamriel’s northern province, and can benefit from each other’s experience.

Share this article:
Shane Scarbrough
Shane Scarbrough

Shane Scarbrough is the founder of the Skyrim Fansite. He's a business owner, video game journalist, and role playing game aficionado. When he's not working he enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games. He's currently on his third playthrough of Skyrim, and is playing as a Templar in The Elder Scrolls Online. You can find Shane on Google+ and FaceBook.

Articles: 349
Notify of

1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Howard Niosaki
Howard Niosaki
2 years ago

Find a place near a giant’s camp where the giant can’t reach you. There is usually a location on top of a tall rock that is too steep for him to climb. Stand on top of that location.

To gain archery experience, fire arrows at the giant. When he gets near death, use restoration magic to heal him. You can heal the giant at a surprisingly long distance. Repeat these actions as much as desired to increase your archery.

When you run out of arrows, you can make more. One iron ingot and one piece of firewood make 24 iron arrows. You can purchase iron ingots, or mine iron ore and refine it into iron ingots. You can make firewood by using a chopping block and a woodsman’s axe. Chopping blocks are scattered around; there is one in Whiterun next to Belethor’s shop. That chopping block is usually in use by Belethor’s annoying assistant, but if you wait he will eventually go away so that you can create firewood.

A variation on this strategy is to attack a giant and lure him to a location where he cannot attack you. Some farms have a stone building whose archway is too low for the giant to enter. He stands there trying to get at you, while you shoot arrows into him. Again, when he gets near death you use restoration magic to heal him so that you can continue to attack him.