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I am a big fan of the bow and arrow for many reasons. 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. I prefer a take-down recurve bow. Below are six reasons why I think you should consider owning a survival take-down bow.
“Take down” means that the bow comes apart in three pieces: the middle grip section and the two limbs. It is very simple to “take down.” The twist of a couple lug screws breaks it down into three very packable sections. The fact that it comes apart makes it very portable. You can easily stash the bow in a canoe, a motorcycle or a Bug Out Bag. It’s perfect for a Bug Out Vehicle or BOL (Bug Out Location) cache. And it weighs very little. My bow weighs only a couple of pounds. Lightweight take-down arrows are also available. These arrows screw apart into three pieces, making your entire set of bow and arrows under 18 inches in length.
A good take-down bow should only cost you a couple hundred bucks, and if you take care of it, you can expect it to last a lifetime. Not only is the bow itself affordable, but the ammunition (arrows) are also cost-effective. Once you hone your shooting skills, you should be able to retrieve your arrows after shooting, reusing them over and over again. With a little practice, you can even make your own arrows using wooden dowels or naturally found wood and plant shafts. You can’t make bullets in the wild, but arrows are possible.
Modern arrows have come a long way. Most new arrows (ultra light weight) have a feature that accepts different, screw-in arrow tips. I have an extensive selection of tips to choose from: small-game stunner tips, broadhead razor large-game tips, standard practice tips and hook-tip and line for bow fishing. I’ve killed squirrel, deer and river carp using my take-down bow fitted with different arrow tips. A good selection of arrow tips can be easily kept in a pack or vehicle. With a little practice, makeshift arrow points can also be crafted from flint rocks, obsidian, scrap metal and even glass.
4. Laws, red tape and paperwork
Legal limitations and laws are much less restrictive 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 is equally as deadly. The less you have to deal with this stuff, the better – especially if things get messy. When the gun grabbers come knocking, they will probably overlook the bow and arrows in the closet.
The bow and arrow is a very quiet weapon. You never know when you might need the convenience of a weapon that is silent and deadly.
Some pieces of a take-down recurve bow kit can be multi-use items in a survival scenario. This is always a plus. I like for everything I pack to have at least two other uses. The first and most obvious multi-use item is the bow string. Bow strings range in length from 4 feet to 6 feet and are incredible strong. You could use a bow string in a variety of ways. Below is just a brief list:
- 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 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 had a razor broad-head on the tip. You can’t even buy a spear that effective. I’m sure there are some more multi-use features, but these are the few that quickly come to mind. I would love to hear any ideas you have on the subject of multi-uses with a bow and arrow kit.
Do keep in mind bows have a few disadvantages as well:
- Requires practice and skill to be effective
- Not a rapid-fire weapon
- Not as compact as a gun
To see how a bow can be used in a survival situation, there’s a few movies that highlight its use: “Book of Eli,” “Red Dawn” and “Rambo,” to name a few.
What I enjoy most about a bow and arrow is that it requires skill to use. It is a weapon that carries a certain amount of respect. Ninety-nine percent of being able to effectively use the bow and arrow 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 make a bow as long as you have a nice strong piece of cordage (like from a paracord survival bracelet). Effective bows can even be made from PVC pipe. Preparation is the key. Practice now for the situation later.