I know, we’re living in the age of drones and wireless internet, we have a space program and ICBM’s, we landed on Mars, we have hybrid cars and most of us don’t leave home without at least 3 different electronic devices. Okay then, what is this guy blabbering about? Bow hunting? Robin Hood, is that you? Shut up and bring me that .50 Barrett and my pick-up truck and let’s go drone-hunting (I think it’s legal in Texas).
But hold your horses and listen here folks: bow hunting is an art form of the highest sort! Also, and most importantly, in a survival situation, knowing how to hunt using what nature provides abundantly may save your life one day. It’s a matter of when, not if, so be prepared!
Now, here comes the disclaimer: I don’t advocate the returning to a “better” age, when we used to hunt “wabbit” Pocahontas-style. I just want to point out a few important things every prepper should be aware of before discarding the idea of using a bow, that’s all!
The obvious advantages of bows and arrows are quite a few and, in a wilderness survival scenario, nothing beats a bow and arrow setup.
Why Use a Bow?
Why are bows and arrows awesome? Stick with me and check this out:
- You can make an improvised bow/arrow anytime. You don’t need that fancy Sporting Goods $300 Hunger Games kit. All you need is hardwood, like maples, ash, yew, pines, or aspen.
- Arrows can be made from cattail (for example) or whittled from other types of woods. Cedar wood is the best arrow material according to many people, since it doesn’t warp so easily.
- The arrowheads can be chipped from stones (flint would be the best) or you can harden the tip of the arrow itself by burning it to a point in the fire. The bow string can be made from the inner bark of various plants, such as milkweed or you can use animal hide and even the cords of someone’s jeans (in a survival situation you can use your imagination).
As you can see, bows and arrows are the ultimate DIY weapons.
- It’s a very portable (deadly) weapon, especially if you own a detachable bow, that comes apart in three pieces (it’s assembled using lug screws, I think Rambo had one of those, remember?)
- It’s very affordable, even free if you’re DIY-ing.
- It’s a versatile weapon that may be used for various things, not just for hunting but for fishing too; you can use bow strings in a multitude of scenarios, like bow drill for making fire, for making snares and traps, for trot line fishing etc.
- Bows are silent weapons and the laws about them are very lax.
- They are long-range weapons and very effective for both hunting and self-defense if SHTF.
Using a bow and an arrow in an effective way is another story though, because it requires mad skills and lots of practice. Actually, acquiring the skill is the most important thing; the equipment is useless if you’re not proficient in its use. Preparation is the key and you should start practicing now!
Bow Hunting Tips
Now, let me share with you a few bow hunting tips and strategies that can help you hunt a rabbit or defend your castle:
- When hunting , you must find the hidden food sources of the game you’re after; basically, if you find where the carrots are, the rabbit will be there, sooner or later. Keep in mind that you can always use lures to draw the game out, so be as imaginative as you like.
- Try to be an efficient hunter, by using good strategy, i.e. knowing when and where to hunt, where to stay out of, etc. These things can make a world of difference. For determining the best areas for hunting, you can use trail cameras if you have access to them in order to see if there’s game activity in the area; hunting in “hot” zones will dramatically increase your chances of success
- Think positive, because having a positive state of mind is actually more important than the quality of your gear! The mind is your ultimate weapon and having confidence in yourself and your skills will lead to more success not only when hunting, but in your day to day life. I know, it sounds like a motivational speech, but it’s very true! A good bow hunter is always an optimist and doesn’t get discouraged easily.
- Be patient at all times; bow-hunting is a waiting game. Preparation and practice make a world of difference, but if you can’t acquire that Zen attitude, that mental peace and relaxation, you’ll never be one of the best.
- When practicing with bows and arrows, you must try and get out of your comfort zone! Shooting arrows at fixed targets in your backyard while sipping a beer and smoking a cigar doesn’t mean that you’re prepared for a real-life situation. When the moment of truth arrives, you’ll probably botch the shot! If you want to be a real archer, you must practice out of your comfort zone; for example shoot from 60 yards instead of 30, even if it may be intimidating at first.
- Imagine yourself in a real hunting situation and don’t allow more than 4-5 seconds for settling the pin and shooting at the target. Make target acquisition a matter of just a few seconds, don’t take your time. Practice holding a full draw for as long as possible and also practice the “blind shooting” technique. Blind shooting is exactly what it says it is; basically shooting arrows quickly and intuitively in order to build muscle memory and to prepare your mind for acting instinctively, hence avoiding that adrenaline rush that appears when an opportunity presents itself (read deer).
- Don’t wait for the game to come to your location, hunt where the game is! Be versatile, even if this requires extra effort, you must sometimes climb trees and hide behind logs, but you’ll be repaid in the end for all your troubles. Don’t hunt the same stands, move one all the time, just like in guerilla warfare!
Don’t hesitate to use pop-up ground blinds, they offer incredible concealment for bow hunters and they’re easy to build (it takes less than ten minutes to build a ground blind).
Along with concealment, ground blinds will provide you with protection from bad weather and they are not recognized as a threat by wild animals.
This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.
Photo source: 123RF.
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