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Bowports for when the SHTF

By David James

SHTF Bowman

SHTF Bowman     I was curious recently as to what a ‘Prepper’ was. I’d no idea what SHTF meant. Now I do! A simple web search introduced me to a worldwide community of people who are have a strong sense of impending doom. Based upon recent man made and natural disasters such as the meltdown of the nuclear plant in Japan, hurricane Katrina in the U.S. and, the Indian Ocean Tsunami in southeast Asia combined with dire predictions from some of the world’s leading financial analysts, I’m beginning to believe that the community has a valid point! It seems to me though many preppers consider firearms to be their main means of procuring much needed protein in the event of national emergency. These same people might want to consider turning to the age old art of archery as a supplemental means for hunting game. I’m going to introduce you, briefly, to bows and bow sports.

The Different Type of Bows

You should first be aware that there are many different types of bows available to modern archers; the most common of which consist of the traditional American style Long Bow or Flat Bow, the Recurve Bow and, the Compound Bow. You should also be aware that there are numerous other less common types of bows such as the English Longbow, the Korean Traditional Recurve bow, the Asian Horse Bow, and the traditional Japanese Yumi but these are specialist, and a little out of scope here.

So, what is a longbow and what are its advantages and disadvantages? Well, first of all you

need to be aware that the American style Longbow differs from the English Longbow in that American style Longbow haves flat limbs whereas, the English Longbow has either round or D-shaped limbs. In addition, as the name implies, Longbows are generally much longer than recurve bows because they were originally designed for hunting. They are smoother to draw and shoot than a Recurve Bow of the same draw weight due to their greater mechanical advantage (more leverage). In addition, Longbows are generally more forgiving of minor mistakes in an archer’s form than Recurve Bows. They are often the best choice for beginning archers as well as hunters. Plus, they also pinch the archer’s fingers less than shorter recurve bows.

Recurve bows on the other hand were originally developed for use by mounted horseman as both hunting tools and weapons of war and modern Recurve Bows are generally much shorter than Longbows. However, by design, a Recurve bow imparts more energy to the arrow when fired due to the recurved design of the limbs. They curve away from the archer at the tips. This enables them to store more energy. But, at the same time, Recurve Bows are also less forgiving to shoot than Longbows and they require a higher degree of precision from the archer. Also, due to their shorter length.

Compound bows feature a radical departure from both Longbow and Recurve Bow technology in that they employ either cast or machined aluminum risers rather than wooden risers combined with limbs made entirely from fiberglass or a combination of fiberglass and carbon. They incorporate an eccentric “cam” on the end of each limb connected by a Dacron “cable” (they were originally made of metal cable) which causes them to act like pulleys. Due to their pulley-like action, a compound bow of a given draw weight is easier to draw and to hold at full draw than either a Longbow or a Recurve Bow of the same draw weight. Because the eccentric cams cause the draw weight to peak well before full draw is reached, they also have a certain degree of “let off” which commonly results in a 65 to 80 percent reduction in draw weight at full draw which, in turn, makes it far easier for the archer to hold the bow at full draw for extended periods of time. That’s ideal when hunting. But, they are also significantly heavier than either Longbows or Recurve Bows and, they are also produce far more recoil and noise.

Survival bows are a modern invention. The limbs are normally flat (like a flatbow or american longbow) and they don’t normally re-curve. A survival bow is designed to disassemble into a small package that fits inside a day-pack or bug-out bag. Designed to be quick to assemble, light, sturdy and the ideal choice for a prepper or survivalist. There are a few different models on the market today, if you think one of these bows would be ideal for your cache, then take a look at this article on the best survival bows which has a good set of data, mini reviews, comparisons and a buyer’s guide.

The Different Types of Archery

The three most common types of archery and, the ones most useful to a survival prepper, are Target Archery, Field Archery and, 3D Archery. Most archers start out practicing Target Archery because it’s very well suited for teaching new archers the basics of proper form and aiming technique. Target Archery is the most basic type of archery and it involves shooting at a flat, stationary, target at a known distance and a consistent elevation on an indoor or outdoor open range. The main advantage to this type of archery is the known distance to the target as well as the consistent elevation and ample ambient light. This enables you to learn where to hold the tip of your arrow when shooting instinctively and to concentrate on maintaining the position of your sight pin when shooting with sights.

Like Target Archery, Field Archery involves shooting at flat, stationary, targets but, is commonly practiced in the woods rather than open ranges where the targets are placed at unknown distances at varying elevations with intervening foliage and differing ambient light conditions. Although Field Archery is more difficult than Target Archery, it is also far better for simulating actual hunting conditions.

Last but not least is the sport of 3D archery. In this type of archery, the archer also shoots at targets placed at unknown distances and varying elevations along trails in the woods but, instead of shooting at flat targets, 3D archers instead shoot at life-sized, three dimensional, closed cell foam targets. These are molded and painted to appear very similar to the game animal they are meant to mimic. This type of archery is an even better choice for developing the skills needed by a bowhunter because 3D targets lack any sort of distinct aiming point and, they force the archer to know the animal’s anatomy and to choose a specific aiming point in order to hit the targets “vitals”.  3D archery is the final evolution for a bow hunter because it most closely mimics actual hunting conditions.

 

What Do I Need To Get Started?

Starting out is best accomplished with a good beginner recurve bow. You can shoot a recurve “bare bow” which means that the bow has neither an arrow rest nor sights and the arrow is shot “off of the shelf”.  Recurve Bows are often shot both with and without arrow rests and/or adjustable archery sights whereas, compound bows absolutely must be outfitted with an appropriate arrow rest. A good recurve is a bow you can use for all archery disciplines and a great choice to learn the sport and acquaint yourself with the basics.

In addition, you’d need a set of arrows which are available in one of three different types of materials: Wood, Aluminum, or Carbon. Each type has both advantages and disadvantages. Carbons are great for everything but the most expensive. You can get by with any sort of arrow, but good ones are an investment as you use them again and again. More carbon expensive arrows will be the most durable, last longer and fly further and faster. Aluminium may bend. Wood will break. Regardless of which type of arrows you choose, they will need to be the proper length for your draw. Too short and you risk shooting through your hand.

 

You will most likely want to use your fingers to draw and release the bow’s string with a recurve, so you will also need either an archer’s tab or an archer’s glove to protect and pad your fingers. A common cause of much pain for beginner archers is string slap, where the bowstring contacts your forearm on the way past. This is painful, another useful addition to a starter kit would be an arm guard.

You need to know what type of bow you prefer, what draw weight is appropriate for your intended purpose (hint lighter is better for a beginner). Your shooting handedness as some bows come in left or right handed variants. Your draw length to get the right arrows and the type of arrows and accessories you’d want. Some bows come as part of a handy beginner kit. This may seem a little daunting, but we’ve useful guides to finding out all the above information on our site and comparison tables of the best recurve bows and buyers guides.

Learning to shoot is simply a matter of learning proper shooting form and then training your body to perform the same actions over and over again consistently while also learning to properly gauge the distance to your target. This all comes with repeated practice.

I hope that you have enjoyed my introduction to bows and the different types of archery and you consider getting yourself a recurve to learn or maybe just a survival bow to add to your cache!

Check out David’s other articles at targetcrazy.com

 

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Best Bow Hunting Tips

In order to be a great bow hunter, you’ll have to go through years of training and experience. It’s just like playing a musical instrument; at first, you don’t know what you’re doing, but with a lot of practice and determination, you’ll find yourself playing sonatas. It’s just the same with archery and bow hunting, but sometimes, you can’t improve by yourself. Thus, I’ve put together this article on bow hunting tips for all beginner hunters. Enjoy!

Weigh between speed and accuracy

Sometimes, you have to choose between the two. And as a beginner bow hunter, you’re bound to have trouble accomplishing a shot with both. Personally, I recommend practicing accuracy first. You’ll need to be more experienced with hitting a target dead on that hitting it at a fast rate.

On the other hand, speed is something that comes naturally (at least for me). I’d say speed will come when accuracy is improved. In other words, once you start hitting those bulls-eyes dead on, your speed is bound to improve as your confidence increases as well. Vice versa, speed will help your accuracy, as faster arrows bound to fly straight at the target.

For beginners, it’s important to master both. But not necessarily at the same time. When you’re out hunting, however, accuracy is more important, but speed weighs in a good amount, as well.

Pick a bow and stick with it

When it comes to archery and bow hunting, mastering your weapon is the best way towards experience. Choosing the right bow is a little bit of trial and error, so I don’t blame you for switching between bows. However, keep this in mind: the right bow will just feel right in your hands, and you’ll know when you have it. Under this, we consider weight of the bow, style, design, length, and these factors relative to your own dimensions and preferences.

If you do, however, find a bow that you can stick with, I highly suggest that you do so. Mastering your weapon will make your bow more of an invaluable friend than a hunting tool, and shooting an arrow will feel like a second instinct.

Generally, the more you master your bow and practice with it, I’d say that your accuracy and precision will improve as well. This is especially important if your target is to go bow hunting soon.

Work tirelessly on your form

The better the form, the higher the accuracy, speed, and precision of your shots. Find and practice the right form, with the proper stance, torso position, and grip relative to the target.

On this matter, I recommend asking an experienced bow hunter or bow hunting expert to assess your form. Ask for an evaluation afterward, which you can use to point out the things you need to do right/better. It also helps to watch Youtube videos wherein you can see bow hunters demonstrating a proper form.

Tip: practice in front of a mirror and compare your stance, torso position, and grip to a standard.

Practice in different settings

Actual bow hunting entails practice shooting in different situations and settings. For instance, you need to know how to keep your bow straight on a windy day, as much as you need to know how to shoot in low light.

It’s best if you practice when the weather is not that good, maybe a little windy. That way, you get to practice your aim in the wind. Another example is practicing near sunset, which will allow you to train with your bow sight in low light settings.

The trick here is to set yourself in a little diversity. After all, you never know what you’re going to expect in the wilderness.

Study, study, study

Reading goes a long way. When you’re a beginner bow hunter, it immensely helps if you read on your niche. Deer hunting tips, bow sight usage, accuracy and precision tips—all of these stored in your mind can help you apply them on the field and in practice.

Also, I emphasize the importance on reading about survival tips. These are the bits of information that you need stored at the back of your head at all times, especially in risky hunting situations and seasons.

Invest in high-quality equipment

When I was a beginner hunter, I wore all the wrong things and hated myself while freezing on the field. So, take it from me and choose the right equipment and clothing to take with you on your hunting trips.

My major recommendation is to splurge a bit—on your first pair of hunting boots or hunting knife, for example, because these are practical investments. When you choose the right products, you will get the quality that you paid for.

Choosing the right equipment also goes for hunting backpacks, kits, knives, clothes, and other gear that you take on a hunting trip. As a beginner, you tend to be not used to the wilderness and discomfort can come creeping up on you unexpectedly. So, choosing the right type of equipment can get you a long way.

Practice being stealthy

When you’re a bow hunter, you have the advantage of silence unlike gun users. When hunting skittish animals like deer, most especially, it helps a great deal if you know how to carry yourself, stalk, and shoot the target in a stealthy mode altogether.

For beginners, it may be a little hard controlling your footsteps and movement in order to make the noise as minimal as possible. It’s also a bit challenging to master the way on how to carry yourself and stalk your prey effectively. However, this skill can be learned just like any other.

The key is to practice in the field. You may not succeed on the first tries, but experience is the best teacher when it comes to stealth. Just make sure to take note of your mistakes and think of ways on how you can improve them afterward.

Under stealth, you also need to learn how to be unseen. This includes masking your scent against the sensitive noses of deer and bears, as well as wearing the right color of clothing. On this matter, you can read up on tips on how to do that and apply it the next time you go buck or bear hunting.

Conclusion:

We all start somewhere, and in bow hunting, it takes more than just a little bit of practice to master your weapon and shred in the field. This article is meant to open you up to the basics of bow hunting, which are useful if you want to learn fast in this area. To conclude, I give you this quick rundown of our tips to remember:

  • Practice both your accuracy and your speed, with accuracy as your priority. Speed will follow soon after
  • Stick with one weapon if it feels right, then master it
  • Work on your form tirelessly
  • Practice shooting in different situations and settings (e.g. low light, windy, high up on a tree stand)
  • Study on the field of bow hunting to find all the best tips and basic information you need to know
  • Invest in high-quality weapons and equipment
  • Acquire and practice the skill of stealth