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.
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.