Archery, the benefits and history of a necessary tool

A reprint of an older article with updates as needed.

“According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.” Sun Tsu

Ancient strategists knew a simple fact, no plan lasts past the initial engagement. As a result you will find when studying the ancient greats that more emphasis is placed on the ability to modify plans and change with situations versus simply following orders. This is the key to success in life, survival, bush craft living and war. This is why I promote owning, using and understanding every type of tool available if possible; in my case this means firearms, bows, knives and even shovels. Let us get on with the review of archery and the reality of using a bow and arrow versus a firearm in a modern society.

Archery originated somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago. Dating this is difficult given the lack of firm documentation though there are cave paintings showing archery being used in hunts. Since this time bows have gone through numerous evolutions with the modern hunting bow often representing a cross between computers, firearms and strings. Archery has been used in war and for hunting for millenia. Why not practice, be prepared and always be ready by taking it up now!

Personally, I prefer and always have preferred the recurve bow. This particular type of bow has many variations, however, it is most easily defined as a piece or multiple pieces of wood, horn or fiberglass with a string made of sinew (animal muscle fibers) or other fibrous materials with modern strings most often being made of Dacron B50. These strings for recurve bows are most often wrapped in the Flemish style; several smaller cords are twisted into one large cord. The various recurves run the gamut from the long bow (some over 6 feet in length) through the venerable horse bow which is often as short as 4′ when strung.

I would suggest looking around for the bow you want. Personally I suggest either a solid takedown bow or a good horse bow for prepping, regular woodsman purposes. Compound bows are nice, but have far too many points of failure. Once you get into bows you can very easily make yourself a bow and before you know it become a boyar of the finest caliber.

Arrows are made from wood, aluminum, fiberglass and carbon fiber. Again I will give my personal recommendation regarding arrows for the purposes of prepping or woodsman work. I prefer either wooden or aluminum arrows. The reasoning is simple, wooden arrows can be easily made if necessary while the aluminum ones are easily tuned too your bow. The others are nice but carbon arrows were really designed for the compound bow and fiberglass tends to be in my opinion simply too heavy. This of course brings us too points.

My wooden arrows all have either field points or a three bladed permanently attached broad head. The aluminum arrows allow me to attach a variety of heads based on what is needed at the moment. The following is a list of my preferred bows, arrows and points. This is obviously up too you.

  1. Sammick Sage Take Down bow (40-50lbs is plenty)

  2. Horsebow made in China but of VERY good quality – I love mine and use it daily for over six months now, shooting four or five dozen arrows daily.

  3. Wooden arrows made by a gentleman in China as well (they work very well) Hunting arrows are here/ Practice or field points are here

  4. Easton Aluminum arrows (Make sure you match the arrows to the bow weight in draw and length!)

  5. Spare strings (always have backups)

  6. Bow string WAX!

  7. Beaver Balls string silencer

So now we get to the reason’s why you should get into archery. For me it is simple, archery is quiet, works out the body, is useful for hunting and defensive purposes when a gun may not be the best option. Archery is really a very important skill to learn and maintain. Like shooting firearms and it takes practice. Archery is easy to become good at, IF you are willing to practice regularly. For some you may want the special additions that protect your arms, fingers and more. However, if you learn to shoot it properly, you won’t need to use those items. I never have. And while I occasionally experience shooters rash on the forearm or rip a finger with a feather, overall it is a satisfying experience regardless.

With solid daily practice an archer with a 25lb through 65lb re-curve style bow can easily take game from small through medium and defend oneself if absolutely necessary. Like all projectile weapons, archery relies on rapid exsanguination as a means of terminating the prey, eg., blood loss. An arrow with a 120-150 grain two bladed broad-head point will be more than sufficient for taking game of any size in most cases, though even with a good shot, an instantaneous kill is not normal and tracking the animal for upwards of 200 yards is normal.

Regardless of where you live you can own a bow. A few straw bales and a decent foam packed target and you can practice in your backyard. Remember one simple thing, with re-curve bows, 20-40lbs is more then appropriate to take most small game and some medium game. I prefer a 40-50lb bow with a 28” draw length though I have a draw personally of 30 inches which tends to add 10-15lbs to the weight behind the arrow. This does not apply to everyone. As for how to shoot the bow, I would suggest checking out the following individuals as they have wonderful instructional videos on the subject.

Traditional Archery Shooting

Clay Hays Archery Tips

Or you can attend this year Jackalope Freedom Festival and I should be there with my archery gear and targets!

Free the mind and the body will follow


About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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