Sylvan archers are elven rangers trained in expert use of a bow or similarly ranged weapon. Archer rangers tend towards this path more than other ranger traditions but previous specialization as an archer is not required. Sylvan archers are well-known for their almost artistic dedication to archery and though other rangers may be similarly skilled in the use of a bow few are as graceful and beautiful in their use of it as a sylvan archer.
Given enough time, most things become an art form. Elves, like their close kin the eladrin, have a long enough lifespan that this holds true for martial pursuits to a high degree when compared with other races. To an elf, if something is valuable enough to merit trying than it is worth doing all the way in body, mind, and soul. It is this philosophy which underlies the nature of sylvan archers, who treat archery as an ancient and respected tradition passed on from one generation to the next and with paragons of skill held as inspirations for future initiates.
The separation of elves from eladrin after the Crown Wars required the race to develop new skill sets and traditions as its members learned to thrive in the verdant forests of Faerûn. Among these new skills were their increased grace and awareness and their choice of the bow as their weapon of choice over the eladrin's longsword. And just as eladrin formed a spiritual tie with their longsword, so did elves with their bows, forming a personal and emotional connection with their weapon enhanced by the magical nature of fey.
All sylvan archers, whatever their origins learn to take advantage of these traditions. With their intensely sensitive ears and eyes, elves are already able foes but with the training of a sylvan archer this is even more so. A properly trained sylvan archer can draw an arrow and loose it at the first hints of danger and strike with deadly accuracy before the enemy can respond in turn. So deadly and accurate are sylvan archers that their arrows even seem to follow their targets. Whether or not this is true may or may not rely on one's own superstitions, but the tradition of the sylvan archers is indeed a respected and feared one.
The abilities of a sylvan archer focus primarily over increasing the effectiveness of each attack, causing non-lethal harm, and utilizing the senses of the archer to his or her full potential. Early on, sylvan archers learn to memorize and focus their foe's location, aiming with such precision so as to make cover or concealment nigh useless. With further training, a sylvan archer learns to focus their senses further as well as to aim intuitively, rather than or in addition to observed facts.
The exploits of a sylvan archer have a similar focus on expanding one's awareness or dealing debilitative damage. Elf-eyed archery is one such technique that gives sylvan archers the ability to watch two targets simultaneously with equal precision. Another, more aggressive in nature, is the elven tradition of the named arrow exploit, which allows a sylvan archer, through certain rites, to aim uncannily well while also dazing them from the strike.