Not long ago I bit the bullet and bought a compound bow and a half dozen arrows from a friend who owns a sporting goods store here on the Midcoast. He’s a good guy and I’ve bought a lot of my dive gear from him, so I know he’s a trustworthy type.
It’s been at least ten years since I picked up a bow and I was surprised at how small it was in relation to the others I’ve owned in the past. It’s a PSE and as you can see in the pictures it’s camouflaged. He set it up for me, cut the arrows to fit, and had me do some shooting on his indoor range so we could get the sites zeroed in.
The sites are pins and are used in conjunction with a peep site on the string. In the photo with the arrows you can the rubber tube on the string connected to it. When the string is pulled back the rubber tube pulls the peep site into proper alignment and it’s used in a manner similar to shooting a rifle – center the pin on the front site in the peep site – put the front pin on the target and release and voila! Instant dinner.
In the middle photo you can see the front pin centered on the red target down in my basement.
At first he wanted to bring me one of those fancy bow triggers, but I never got used to shooting with those and asked for a shooting tab instead. He shook his head, but after I shot for about fifteen minutes he was impressed at what a tight group I was shooting with the tab.
The secret to shooting a bow is consistency and practice. Your anchor point has to be the same every time; your release must be the same every time, your breathing must be the same every time, your arrows must be as close to perfect every time as you can get them.
Surprisingly, my form came back fairly quick and I was able to shoot a half decent group at the end of a half hour, but at the forty-five minute mark I was getting tired and started to jerk my shots, so I packed it in.
Post TEOTWAWKI Bow Use
Now let’s talk about using a compound bow after TEOTWAWKI. A bow has numerous advantages over a gun: it’s quiet so you can shoot all day long and no one will hear you. The arrows are recoverable if you’re careful. You can reuse arrows multiple times until you break one, and even then there’s a good chance you can fix it. With enough shafts, nocks, fletching, and tips you could potentially be set up for many years as long as the bow held up. On the bow you need to keep an eye on the cable and the string, but if you stockpile enough of these you could be set up to shoot for years.
There are disadvantages to using a bow as well of course. They take a tremendous amount of skill and practice to be used effectively and you need to be closer to the target in order to be effective.
Also, it’s difficult to pick up just any bow and shoot it like you can a rifle. My bow is sited in specifically for me and someone with a different anchor point is going to shoot a little different with it.
Plus, some bows have a very heavy pull. Mine pulls at around 55 pounds, about ten pounds lighter than I used to shoot. I was shooting with a friend once and he handed me his bow to try and when I pulled it back I nearly popped my shoulder out of joint. He was shooting about 80 pounds and it was extremely difficult to draw it back, hold it, and fire it with any amount of accuracy. After a dozen arrows I was done with it. It’s one of those things you have to work up to.
Most women have a hard time pulling a 55 lb bow and thus have smaller bows with a lighter draw.
When I first started shooting years ago aluminum arrows were all the rage. They’re still out there, but these days most people shoot carbon fiber arrows, so I picked up a half dozen to try them out.
The good thing is that – from what I understand – they don’t bend like the older aluminum arrows. They will break, but it takes some abuse to get there. After shooting my arrows about thirty or forty times apiece I’ve damaged two and they need to be repaired. My dad took a shot with my bow and it went something like this:
Me: “Dad, you gotta look through that rear site and line the peep up on the front pin.”
Dad (seriously old school): “Bah. I don’t have time for all that stuff. I’m just going to shoot.”
He released and of course hit the wood pile behind the target and launched the nock into outer space.
But I digress. Anyway, I have three out of six arrows that now need to be repaired and I don’t think the results would have been much different if I’d been using aluminum arrows. They seem to be a little slicker, but I’ve shot them less than a hundred times, so I’ll hold off on making any kind of judgement until I get more experience with them.
Are there any heavy-duty bow hunters or sport shooters out there?
Have any advice or comments?
Sound off below!