Editor’s Note: This guest post by Creek Stewart first appeared at willowhavenoutdoor.com.
I am a big fan of the bow and arrow for a variety of reasons, and I personally think that anyone who has an interest in primitive survival skills or modern urban survival should seriously consider purchasing a good bow and arrow and become proficient in using it. There are hundreds of bows to choose from, but my particular bow of choice is an October Mountain Blue Ridge Hunter Take Down Recurve Bow. Below are six reasons why you should consider owning a similar survival take-down bow.
“Take-down” simply means that the bow comes apart in three pieces: the middle grip section and the two limbs. It is simple to take down – just the twist of a couple of lug screws and voila. The fact that it comes apart makes it very portable. You can stash the bow in your pack or Bug Out Bag. It’s perfect for a Bug Out Vehicle or BOL (Bug Out Location) cache as well. And, it weighs very little. My bow weighs only a couple of pounds – if that.
A good take-down bow should only cost you a couple of hundred bucks and if you take care of it, you can expect it to last your lifetime. Not only is the bow itself affordable, but the ammunition (arrows) is cost-effective too. Once you hone your shooting skills, you should be able to retrieve your arrows after shooting and reuse them over and over again. With a little practice, you can also easily make your own arrows using wooden dowels or even natural-found wood and plant shafts.
Modern arrows have come a long way. Most new carbon fiber arrows are ultra-lightweight and have a tip that accepts different screw-in arrow tips. I have an extensive selection of tips to choose from: small game stunner tips, broad-head razor large game tips, standard practice tips, hook tips and line for bow fishing, etc. I’ve killed both squirrel and deer using my take-down bow with various arrow tips. A good selection of arrow tips can be easily kept in a pack or vehicle. I also practice flint knapping regularly so that if I was ever in a situation when I need to make my own arrow points, I would know-how.
4. Laws, Red Tape, and Paperwork
Legal limitations and laws are much laxer on the bow and arrow than they are with guns and bullets. You don’t have to mess with paperwork and permits, even though, in the right hands, the bow and arrow are equally deadly. The less you have to deal with this stuff the better.
The bow and arrow is a very quiet weapon. You never know when you might need the convenience of a weapon that is nearly completely silent as well as deadly.
Some pieces of a take-down bow kit can be multi-use items, which is always a plus. I like for everything I pack to have at least 2-3 other uses. The first and most obvious multi-use piece is the bowstring. Bowstrings range in length from 4 feet to 6 feet and are incredibly strong. You could use a bowstring in a variety of ways:
- Bow drill for fire
- Cordage for shelter building
- Trotline fishing
If you are packing a bow then you are probably packing a few arrows as well. Arrows can be used as spears and gigs for small game and fish. They can also be lashed to a longer shaft and used as a larger spear for big game such as a wild pig. This larger spear can be used in self-defense as well. Imagine a spear with three arrows lashed to the end and each of the arrows with a razor broad-head on the tip – you can’t even buy a spear that effective. I would love to hear any ideas you have on the subject of multi-use with a bow and arrow kit!
Final Thoughts on the Take-Down Survival Bow and Arrow
Pros of the Bow and Arrow:
- Very Portable for such an effective long-range weapon
- Can reuse arrows
- Can make arrows in the bush
- Lax laws
Negatives of the Bow and Arrow:
- Requires practice and skill to be effective
- Arrows can be a little cumbersome to pack
What I enjoy most about the bow and arrow is that it requires skill to use. It is also a weapon that carries a certain amount of respect. Ninety-nine percent of being able to effectively use the weapon is the skill itself – not the equipment. The skill will always be with you. Even if your bow is damaged or broken in a survival situation or stolen in a bug-out situation, you can even make a bow as long as you have a strong piece of cordage. I made the bow at the top of the conclusion from a hickory sapling using only my knife. I also made the arrow. Making a bow and arrow in the bush is definitely an option. However, it will do you no good if you don’t know how to shoot it. Preparation is the key. Practice now for the situation later.
Remember, it’s not IF, but WHEN.
Creek Stewart is a Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft. Creek’s passion is teaching, sharing, and preserving outdoor living and survival skills. The creek is also the author of the book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit. For more information, visit Willow Haven Outdoor.