So KM sends me an e-mail after my “deer season approaches” post asking what sort of bow I use and whether or not it’s any good. KM, it seems, is an Aussie and wants to purchase a bow before the Australian government makes them start registering bows (said in sarcasm . . I hope). Rather than reply in an e-mail, why not turn the response into a post?
Let me preface by saying that I’m no bow expert. Dragon has more expertise in this area than I do, but who would I be not to answer a SHTFblog fan’s request? . . . . That’s a question . . . . . OK, I’d be one big fat jerk, that’s what I’d be. So I’ll do my best to help this chap out. Perhaps Dragon will offer his opinion.
I use a PSE Litespeed bow. Don’t look for it in their catalog, though. You won’t find it. This bow was specially designed (so I understand) for an association of archery stores. Don’t let that make you think it’s something extra special in PSE land, though. It’s not. I didn’t really know all that much when I went bow shopping, and I still consider myself a novice. One gent I know that has shot more deer with a bow than I’ll ever dream of told me to go to friggin’ Wal-Fart and buy one, because otherwise I’ll spend too much, and you don’t need anything hoity-toity. I didn’t quite buy that philosophy, though. You need to be measured for your bow, and the thought of some underpaid, under-insured Wal-Fart chump (sorry if you work there) answering all of my compound bow questions – not to mention measuring me up – wasn’t all that comforting. So I went to a local shop and probably paid a bit more than I would have if I’d known more about what I was doing and I’d done some scouting around for the best deal. Here:
PSE makes a decent bow. It’s not the best, but it’s certainly not junk. For me, and my limited knowledge, it seemed like the brand whose products are the best for the money, where going anything “higher” would offer minimal extra performance (that I’d likely never notice) for more money.
It’s a 29″ bow. A more compact bow is great if you’re in a tree stand or in a blind, but a shorter bow requires a steadier hand. If you’re objective is to just fire away in the back yard without taking game in tight locations, a longer bow might be your best bet. The bow has a 60# draw, meaning it goes UP TO 60 pounds (I think it actually goes up to less than 60 even though it says 60), but it’s set at quite a bit less. People are fond of saying you don’t need to set your bow draw high, but then they go and do it anyway. I’ve kept my draw low, no sense to go higher in my view, not when you have arrow tips like these:
Trust me, it’s not going to take much power for that thing to pass through a deer. You gotta be careful just screwing them on, because they’re freakin’ razor blades. I chose that particular tip, because the weight of the tip is the same as the target tips. Translation: practice with target tips, screw on hunting tips – little difference in where the arrow lands. They were $30 bucks for 3 tips – not cheap, but you really only use them when you’re plugging game, so they’ll last a long time.
The black rubber thing sticking out from my bow (toward the bottom of the pic) is a bow stabilizer. It reduces vibration of the bow. I use a sight that’s nothing way too fancy (don’t remember its name) and a “whisper biscuit” arrow rest. I like it because I can set the arrow in there and it holds. When I hunt with a bow (not that I’ve done it much) I can hunt with the arrow notched. The downside of the whisper biscuit is that, I find, it’s a tad bit noisy on the draw back. Too noisy if you’re close to a deer, where you’ll need to be in the first place. I went to the local shop the other day with the intention of replacing it until I saw the price of arrow rests – frig replacing it! They were like 70 bucks and up. Fortunately the cashier lady told me that (so she’s been told) I can spray it with some silicone and that’ll remove the noise. I’ll have to try this before the season starts. Silicone spray will certainly cost less than replacing it. Besides, like I said, the whisper biscuit holds the arrow real nice like.
At the right of that pic, in the middle slightly cut in half by the picture, is a 3 arrow “Kwikee” quiver that attaches to the bow. Anything more than 3 arrows just adds unnecessary weight when hunting. Besides, how many freakin’ arrows do you need for a deer? Hell, I rarely even attach the quiver.
On the left side of the pic, also cut in half by the pic, is my mechanical release. Nothing too fancy there, I don’t remember the brand – doesn’t matter. They’re all similar more or less. Some wimps will buy forearm protection, because you’ll inevitably strike your forearm with the string upon release and it’ll hurt like a bitch. I didn’t buy one, because I learned that lesson years ago when I had a child’s compound bow. You’ll learn the position of your elbow is the key. Turn your elbow – sort of – and it’ll be out of the way. You’ll see what I mean when a bow is in your hands, and when it’s in your hands, don’t GRIP the bow, meaning don’t hold it tight. The bow should rest against the palm of your hand on the draw, and your fingers should be relaxed. If you’re gripping it you’ll actually get reduced accuracy. Speaking of accuracy, here is my cheap, beat up target:
I must be missing something, but when I was growing up I remember my neighbor had a stack of hay bales he used as a backstop. I can’t image how that would work now, though. I’d think the arrow would pass right through the bales. *shrug* Dunno!
Anyway, that’s about all I know on this subject. I’m still a novice. Maine passed a law several years back where people can now use crossbows for hunting. If I was doing this over again maybe I would’ve gone with a crossbow, but then – maybe not. Hope that helps.
– Ranger Man
BTW: This Aussie dude also told me a bit about HIS SHTF preps. Take it away, Aussie:
Basically SHTF preps in my area are the same as in your area, but more expensive, and guns need to be registered (and no semi-auto high centrefire weapons).
Also lots of things are more difficult to get your hands on (such as food grade buckets, cheap solar battery chargers etc.)
My preps are basically a 50 litre garbage bin (non food grade, so everything in it is kept in their packets) full of pasta/rice/flour/sugar etc, a pushbike that i use frequently, a few guns, first aid kit coupled with basic medical know how and basic tools (leatherman, torch, folding knife, solar battery charger, uhf radios and the likes).
I cant really do much at the moment as i am at University, so i can only have what i can fit in a tiny little room (the guns of course have to be kept at home 150km away..) and i am not especially “paranoid”, but you know, i think i have a preparedness level in the top 10% or so, which gives me the ability to help others when they step on a broken bottle, or their torch batteries have gone flat and they want to get something out of their car at night. (most of my “prep gear” gets used regularly for things such as this, though i have experienced a few significant disasters in my life, one of them state wide (the esso gas plant explosion 1998) and a few bushfires (one that cut our power for 3 weeks).
Obviously having my guns registered doesn’t help if some day the government gets a bit… communist.. and decides to take them off me, but other than that you can prep reasonably well “in my area”.