Shooting Bare Bow – Back To Basics

by Jarhead Survivor on May 11, 2012

Over the years I’ve owned several compound bows.  If you’ve done any archery you know that people will try to sell you every gizmo under the sun to add to your bow:  stabilizers, string silencers, quivers, sites and peep sites.  You can shoot with a special trigger so that you never even have to touch the string with your hands.

After shooting my Bear Bow (as opposed to shooting bare bow) for awhile, it got to the point where I could shoot the nocks off my arrows at 20 yards and still be hitting the target out to 50 or 60 yards with fair accuracy.  At one point I had a range in my back yard with different stations starting at five yards going out to about 30 that required different types of shooting.  I’d run from spot to spot and shoot on one knee at the first station, around a tree at the next, through some bushes at the next and so on.  My target was a plastic coffee can lid on a hay bale and the best I ever did was all 12 shots in the plastic.

My bow pulled at 60 to 65 lbs and having the let-off, a point where it gets easier to hold the string due to the cams, was wonderful.  Pull back on the string, reach the let-off, hold the string for a moment while you get sited in, then release.  Sweet!

Technology is truly a marvel and it’s brought archery to a whole new level where anyone can pick up a bow and within a remarkably short amount of time be shooting accurately.

The bow and arrow have been around for well over 5000 years.  Used primarily for hunting it also gave the user an advantage over those that didn’t have a set in the case of aggression.  There have been many versions of the bow and one of the more interesting in my mind was the English Longbow (actually used by Welshmen first) that helped turn the tide of many battles in Medieval times.  An arrow shot from a longbow could pierce a knights armor at more than 250 yards!  Men were encouraged to shoot on weekends and holidays to get proficient with the bow during this time.  As you can imagine it took a lot of skill and strength to shoot one of these longbows with any kind of accuracy, but a longbow archer was considered to be very valuable on the battlefield of that time.

Bare Bow

I sold my compound bow a few years ago.  Today I can’t even remember why I sold it, but I wasn’t shooting it at the time and figured that maybe someone else could get some use of it.

Last year I was at my dad’s and he picked up the compound bow I bought for him years ago and we shot for awhile.  Ahhh!  It was nice to pick up a bow again and surprisingly I hadn’t lost much in technique or accuracy.

Then I saw one of his old fiberglass recurve bows hanging on the wall.  I picked it up, strung it, took a shot and could barely hit the hay bale without sites!  That’s when I figured out what I was missing:  the challenge of doing something difficult.

Dad let me borrow two of his old recurves and a half dozen aluminum arrows and I’ve been out a few times over the last couple of weekends.  My son has a small plastic bow with a half-dozen arrows as well, so I get on one knee behind him and help him shoot at the target.  It’s great because it shows him the mechanics of shooting and it also demonstrates how you take turns doing something.  Plus I just love doing stuff like that with my son.  (He just turned three incidentally.)

So my current set up is a bare bow.  No sites, nothing.  Not even a nock point on the string.  Yet.  I think it’s a good idea to have at least that much for shooting consistency.  I’ve always shot with a tab as I can’t stand the triggers.  I know, I know – people are crazy about them, but I just never got used to them.  Guess I just like to feel my fingers on the string.  I’ve got to say that going back to the basics has really given me an appreciation for what an elegant tool the bow and arrow really is.

In the next post I’m going to talk about the advantages of a bow after TEOTWAWKI.

I’m open to ideas, so feel free to list reasons you think the bow might be a good thing to have around if and when TSHTF.

-Jarhead Survivor

j.r. guerra in s. tx. May 11, 2012

Great ideas up there, especially father / son time. Good exercise too.

A bow is very quiet in the woods and then there is bowfishing (check your wildlife regs!). Yep, a whole lot of pluses worth pursuing.

kevin May 11, 2012

i can think of a couple of good reasons 1 doesnt make any noise 2 if your in area where theres good cover and your good enough it makes AWSOME sniper weapon and you can go out and pick up your arrows

AilimD'SilverFir May 11, 2012

Now I’m itching to dig out my old recurve. I shot in 4-H growing up, but I am sad to say, put it up after that, and only have brought it out to show a few interested people how the limbs can be changed out, to make a heavier or lighter draw. My limbs are for what my poor highschool girl arms could do, but I think if I were to start again, I could up the weight.

Thanks!

Spook45 May 11, 2012

Due to size shape anddesign, shooting bare bow on a compound or a recurve is very difficult. However, a long bow is best shot slick with no bells and whistles. I learned to shoot on a Long Bow and it took me many years to adjust my shooting style to utilize modern sights. I much prefer a long bow for survival type situations as it more coducive to carryin g in the field and ease of use and comfort. I have a recurve takedown bow but it very hvy and difficukt to use for what it is.

j.r. guerra in s. tx. May 11, 2012

Me too (PSE Heritage Black Hawk, 45# pull), but if you look around, you may be able to find some of those old ‘snot green’ colored fiberglass limbed bows at a pawn shop or garage sale. The compound pretty much has replaced the longbow with many hunters, and they are no longer kept – crazy! My uncle, a retired P.E. high school teacher, gave me two of them, they work well.

My failings with them is PRACTICE, you have to stay on top of that to stay sharp. Much easier to do in the rurals than the city.

Leon May 11, 2012

I had a compound bow and liked it, but sold the thing to go back to my old Herter’s recurve. It was for the same reason I prefer hunting with a flintlock or caplock muzzleloading rifle, make all my campfires with a flint and steel and prefer to make as much of my survival gear as possible.
In a survival situation, now, all bets are off! Use the best, most advanced tools and technology to keep yourself alive.

Jason May 11, 2012

I really started laughing the first moment I saw today’s post. Titled “… Back to the basics” then the photo of a highly sophisticated bow – certainly a million miles from basic!

I’ve never done it but I love the idea of bow shooting for the pure challenge of it. It seems it would require high concentration & focus which to me, would be a great mental exercise.

Although barely related, I used to throw darts for hours on end for those exact same reasons & was a great form of meditation for me.

Once many years ago, a friend invited me to meet him at a bar for a beer. He was playing a dart game with some other locals & asked if I wanted to join in (not knowing if I played darts). He said the game was called Cricket & I had no clue what to do. They were all using these fancy, weighted darts & I had a hard time with the.

I asked if they had any of those cheap old plastic darts for me to use (that’s what I used for hours on end). We started playing & I’d ask my friend where he wanted me to hit on the board then I’d proceed to hit those numbers. It really got worse when I asked what the small squares represented – the double & triple score spots, because I really had no clue. At home I would pick targets and throw away.

I looked like a real hustler because of my bumpkin questions about the game, plastic darts yet could hit anything on the board – my buddy was totally shocked that I could do so well, which completed the hustler picture. Fortunately we were not playing for money or I would have ended up in the back alley with broken thumbs!

john May 11, 2012

> list reasons you think the bow might be a good thing to have around if and when TSHTF.

Using a split limb compound bow with the double cam and a red dot sight gives you a silent night weapon that you can use standing in the middle of a room with the window open without lighting yourself up or destroying your night vision that allows for fairly quick follow up shots.

Superior to a crossbow for downward angle shots and repeat shots.

Steel field tips will defeat soft body armor.

A broad head or muzzie hit in the chest on a human can take the fight out of them just as quick as a .22lr or 9mm.

You can hunt small game without drawing attention to your location or sending local game fleeing on the gun shot.

Good for launching string over an object such as a high tree limb so you can pull up a heavier rope or for getting rope to someone on the other side of a crossing.

Good for fishing.

Never done it, but, I guess it is good for snagging gators.

Only downside is the high cost of carbon arrows.

They can’t take them away under the firearms act.

Calamity Jane May 11, 2012

I love recurve bows. That’s all I’ve ever shot with. One of these days I might pick up a compound, but recurves just feel so nice to work with.

Novice May 11, 2012

As a teenager I spent many days behind my Dad’s barn with my fiberglass recurve “bare” bow. I got very good with it and could hit a 6″ target all day long from 25 yards. I recently decided to take up bow hunting (I’ve been out with a gun several times). So guess what I bought? You got it. A good old fiberglass recurve. I must say it’s taking some getting used to but, it’s all I’ve ever shot and to this day I’ve never even used a compound bow. It’s all in what you know I guess.

T.R. May 11, 2012

I would recommend a crossbow as well , take very little time to learn well vs. the standard configurations , and are more natural to most people because they resemble a rifle . They are also very powerful , and bolts are a bit easier to make than arrows .

KC May 13, 2012

Jarhead;

Some Good Reasons to have the skill and the equipment that entails the wonderful world of Archery are as follows:

1.) No report or muzzle flash as with a firearm

2.) Accurate Shot Placement in all weather conditions (an issue with certain muzzleloaders)

3.) Mechanically easy in comparison with firearms

4.) With Field Primitive Archery, depending on environment, constant supply of raw material feedstock with which to construct new/replacement components.

5.) Excellent primer to an entire skill set and physical toughener for young people.

6.) Fletching or the skill of constructing an arrow/bolt is something easily taught to people with little skill in craft-construction arts.

7.) Even if the arrow/bolt is destroyed upon impact with the target/miss most if not all components of the arrow/bolt can be salvaged and reused.

8.) With even advanced bow construction (read composite) again depending on environment, raw-material feedstock is readily available to include animal-product adhesives.

9.) Building this skill set as with primitive peoples everywhere, rapid, accurate shot placement is possible with practice, but certainly possible as seen with the Lakota Sioux people of the American Great Plains.

10.) The entire skill set involved in the manufacture, training and mastering of Archery, would provide motivated individuals & groups with a solid skill base with which alongside such artisan skills as Coopers (Barrel-makers), Fullers (Wool-Processing), Wheel-rights ( Wagon Makers) and the full armada of agricultural skill sets available, would make the combined Archery skill set a cottage industry into itself in the reconstitution/recovery phase of any complete collapse scenario.

By the way in my opinion there’s something oddly satisfying about witnessing a 320-grain projectile that you manufactured yourself from primitive raw materials, puncture a 1200 pound elk dropping that joker within 30 meters from where you landed him, providing you and yours with enough animal products to last for at least a week in the dead of a northeastern winter. Not to mention the same devastating effect in the event that a motivated individual has to switch from four-legged to two-legged targets in the same morning.

T.R. May 14, 2012

what is that in yards , most Americans refuse to learn metric ……..its unamerican .

KC May 14, 2012

T.R.;

It comes out to 32.8 yards or just about 98 1/2 feet. Sorry been using metric all my adult life, so it catches up with me on occasion.

Krista May 13, 2012

I shoot both a one-piece recurve bow and a Korean traditional bow. I like the recurve because it’s what I grew up practicing with, but the Korean bow has an amazing stability and power. It looks frighteningly bendy, but the arrows fly straight and really far. Of course, for that you have to use the thumb pull which is a bit of a pain (I mean physically as you initially damage the nerve endings in your thumb) to learn, but it’s worth it.

Of course, it all takes lots of practice to hit accurately consistently, but that’s not really much different than practicing with any weapon. And I find it very relaxing to shoot bare bow at a simple hay bale backed target.

T.R. May 14, 2012

That sounds like the Japanese bow , yeah they look weird but are not to be taken lightly .

Wolverine6 May 14, 2012

A hand held, Stealth weapon, impervious to EMP, renewable ammunition, suitable for hunting, fishing, and even defense in a pinch. Whats not to like? A small learning curve and limited effective range, maybe, but the American Indians and native peoples all over the world made it work. Very successfully I might add.

j.r. guerra in s. tx. May 14, 2012

I’ve read several sources which mentioned the reason why the White Man began trading firearms to the American Indian was to remove their superior firepower, albeit a shorter range.

Wolverine6 May 14, 2012

I haven’t heard of that, but it is a fascinating concept. I don’t think all of history’s great societies that used the bow so efficiently to hunt, and protect, even to attack and conquer other races and tribes, could be wrong. Just consider the mongul hordes or the armies of Alexander the Great. Bows and Cavalry.

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