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Question: Survival Bows?

Yes    
  11 (31.4%)
No    
  18 (51.4%)
Maybe (please elaborate)    
  6 (17.1%)




Total votes: 35
« Created by: Dan on: May 22nd, 2011 at 5:09pm »

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"Survival Bows" (Read 15237 times)
Dan
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"Survival Bows"
May 22nd, 2011 at 5:09pm
 
So let's say you got lost in the (whatever kind is "local") woods with no map or compass and generall ill prepared for all around survival except for the bare basics like a knife, a lighter, some aluminum foil, 10ft of duct tape, and around 30ft of 550 cord. you are pretty isolated and in fear of heading the wrong direction, so you decide to stay from anywhere from 3 days to a week before heading out. You have a small stream for water as well as a few fish and you are getting hungry, would you make a Bow?

Reading through almost every survival manual you will find a black and white picture of a stick getting small towards the tips and labled as a bow. This is a very simple bow just made from a straight 5-6ft green hard wood sapling and whittled on one side of the bow getting thiner towards the tips. Generally used for small animals like fish, rabbits, squirels, etc. Are these bows realy worth the effort, or accurate enough to hunt?

Last year I started making bows and I am getting pretty effecient at it now though I have several weeks and give my bows sufficent drying time before use and I can be pretty acurate at close range but I have little expeirience with survival bows.

Keep in mind you are also using make shift arrows with duct tape fletching. Points can be split and sharpened for fish or frogs. Or wrap the point in 550 cord and dipped in hot pine sap (if available) to be hardened, or just a start with a thicker arrow shaft and keep the point thick and whittle the rest down to normal.

So are survival bows practical and would you make one?

Any input is apreciated, thanks in advance.
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« Last Edit: May 23rd, 2011 at 4:20pm by Dan »  

I was pretty good at slinging like 10 years ago.
 
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David Morningstar
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #1 - May 22nd, 2011 at 5:48pm
 
I would say not, because 550 paracord makes terrible bowstring. It stretches all the time so you never have a consistent brace height.

Plus, all this 'survival' guff talks about making a bow, but nary a word on making arrows. It is the arrows that are the most important part of the system and they are much harder to make from scratch than the bow.

Anyone who thinks they could make a bow in a survival situation and somehow hunt with it is living in cloud cuckoo land.

In your hypothetical situation, I would gut the paracord for thin strands and make lots and lots of snares and other traps.
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #2 - May 22nd, 2011 at 6:25pm
 
To get enough power to really hunt rabbit you'd need to make a bundle bow. Anything simpler than that and the arrows won't penetrate anything. Like DM said it's making arrows that's important, though I've seen 1 use arrows made from a found soda can, bamboo, and duct tape. I'd not make a bow, but I'm also not an archer.
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #3 - May 22nd, 2011 at 6:38pm
 
Why go to all the trouble of making a bow and arrows? No matter how simple the bow is, i can always make a sling faster. I am  also confident in my ability to use my sling. I can make one very quickly and find stones to throw. In the unlikely event this area has no stones, then i would most likely set up spring snares before i resort to making a bow.

On a side note, if this area has straight enough sticks for arrows, i'm sure you'd be able to find a long enough bit of river cane or bamboo to make an atlatl dart or a spear.
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #4 - May 22nd, 2011 at 6:38pm
 
David Morningstar wrote on May 22nd, 2011 at 5:48pm:
Anyone who thinks they could make a bow in a survival situation and somehow hunt with it is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Try it. Next time you go camping try making such a bow and see what you can hunt with it.

I'm constantly bemused by all this survival stuff that seems to get around. Just how likely is it that you'll ever find yourself lost in the woods, yet with all the necessary gear to make your "survival bow" or whatever it is. You'd be far better off expending any effort on getting yourself found rather than hunting around for the right stick to make some fairly ineffective bow. Even if you did manage to make a bow that actually worked you'd still have to find something to hunt, kill and prepare it. But, as David said, you still haven't got any arrows.

However, if you insist on being prepared for surviving, instead of taking paracord take a good .22 cal pistol and a box of ammo. You'll instantly have 50 accurate powerful shots for only minimal weight increase in your pack.
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Bill Skinner
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #5 - May 22nd, 2011 at 10:12pm
 
I said no, also.  If you are going to be out there for a week, you won't starve to death.  You would be better off using you energy to construct a shelter and keeping a smoky fire going.  A long stick with a sharp end can be used for fishing, digging for roots and stripping bark.  The only reason I might build a bow and arrows is to keep me occupied while waiting for rescue.  Bill
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Dan
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #6 - May 23rd, 2011 at 4:20pm
 
So the consensus seen to be a pretty definite no, at least for hunting. I personally have made close to half a dozen bows and there are thousands of people who have much more expierience than I. I do know how to make a bow and arrows if I needed it but I don't think I would devote the time and energy to do so when food is limited. The better option would be to make a throwing stick and a couple dozen traps in the amount it takes to make a bow. Though I think the main application I would use it for is fishing which I do know is very difficult with a spear so I am assuming it would be easier with a bow (as is in the book "Hatchet").

So, does anyone have any expierence with traditional/primitve bow fishing?
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I was pretty good at slinging like 10 years ago.
 
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #7 - May 23rd, 2011 at 5:08pm
 
I'd say... IF you were an experienced bowyer and archer, and IF you had access to decent materials, and IF you were going to be out there a while...  Why not?
Making a "green" bow is problematic.  You can do it; I saw an article in Primitive Archer on a guy who whittled an oak sapling rough, then gradually tillered it as it dried.
String... If you didn't have anything to make a bowstring with, but were familiar with plant fibers, you could make one in the field.
Arrows best made from shoots or reeds, depending on time of year.   You can always fire-straighten and rock-sand shafts.
You can carve a "self" blunt point into the shaft for use on small game.

A highly experienced primitive archer could probably be shooting in a day or two.   For someone with little or no experience in this regard.... Likely a waste of time and energy.
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #8 - May 23rd, 2011 at 6:05pm
 

At the primitive skills weekend I was at, a highly experienced primitve archer arrived on Saturday with a selected, seasoned stave of bow wood. He sat down and started making a bow. He was working late into the night and got up early to finish it on Sunday morning.

He had several tools - hatchet, rasp, knife etc. He brought arrows and bowstring ready made. He was shooting on Sunday and scored very well.

You can work green wood more easily, but you cant shoot it. It takes permanent set if you bend it. You can start a bow project on green wood and then wate for it to dry, but this takes a week in a hot climate, a month in the cold and damp. Its the same with arrow shafts, they have to dry out and become stiff otherwise they fly all over the place.

Snares and traps are the way to go. Also, roasted cattail roots or similar for easy carbs.
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #9 - May 23rd, 2011 at 6:20pm
 
A simple fish arrow for use in shallow water is nothing more than a 5 foot (1 1/3m) stick that has been straightened over the fire with a fire hardened tip.  No fletches, no string because you wade out to the arrow, no fancy point because the fish will be pinned to the bottom or be unable to swim due to a 5 foot arrow through him.  If you have cane or bamboo, you are really lucky, you can straighten three or four in about 15 minutes over a fire.  If you are really interested in primitive bow fishing, it's summer, grab your bow and head to the creek.  You will be doing experimental archaeology, just like the guys casting bronze and forging iron.  You have already started, you can use a make and use a sling, you are making your own bows and I assume your own arrows?  Bill
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #10 - May 23rd, 2011 at 9:04pm
 
Bill Skinner wrote on May 23rd, 2011 at 6:20pm:
A simple fish arrow for use in shallow water is nothing more than a 5 foot (1 1/3m) stick that has been straightened over the fire with a fire hardened tip.  No fletches, no string because you wade out to the arrow, no fancy point because the fish will be pinned to the bottom or be unable to swim due to a 5 foot arrow through him.  If you have cane or bamboo, you are really lucky, you can straighten three or four in about 15 minutes over a fire.  If you are really interested in primitive bow fishing, it's summer, grab your bow and head to the creek.  You will be doing experimental archaeology, just like the guys casting bronze and forging iron.  You have already started, you can use a make and use a sling, you are making your own bows and I assume your own arrows?  Bill  


that last part, y friend, describes me very well. Grin
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Dan
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #11 - May 24th, 2011 at 3:48pm
 
Yeah I make my own arrows too, not quite as primitive (going to try making more rustic ones soon) but pretty tradtional none the less. I really apperciate all the great advice you give and now I think I will go outside now looking for a straight 5ft stick. Wink
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I was pretty good at slinging like 10 years ago.
 
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #12 - May 24th, 2011 at 8:21pm
 
Privet or hedge bush has some good straight shoots.  Ash is the best, if you can find it.  If you can't find a good one, find oneabout 2 fingers thick at the base and cut it.  Scrape the bark off, sight down it and scrape the bumps and lumps, then hold it over a bed of coals until it gets hot, then bend it on the top of your thigh until cool, sight down and repeat until it is as straight as you can get it.  This is one of the few times in archery when green wood is better than seasoned, it is heavier and it penetrates water better.  It will check or split as it dries out unless you wipe it down with some sort of oil, plant or animal, not petroleumn based.  You may want to scrape it down slimmer, especially the front 1/3.  Bill
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #13 - May 26th, 2011 at 5:30pm
 
No survival bow for me:

Snares, dead falls, leg traps  and a good bunny buster stick.

If larger game is needed an atlatal or a swiss arrow is much simpler than a bow.
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Re: "Survival Bows"
Reply #14 - May 27th, 2011 at 7:18am
 
Assuming that you've made the decision to make an emergency bow and you have a plan that allows you to make an acceptable one, to initially save time there's nothing wrong with using arrows with wooden points.  This would save you a lot of time.  We used to make them as kids.  As long as you use a heavy enough shaft, a wooden pointed arrow with duct tape "feathers" will fly just fine and would be capable of taking out small game.  If you find the time later to make proper points of flint, obsidian, quartz, or whatever, then fine, but initially you probably won't have time for such things.  An arrow with a wooden point will work.
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