If you haven’t touched a bow and arrow since gym archery classes, then you may not realize both vintage and new models hold a valuable place in hunting and survival.
As with choosing the right gun or knife, you may find that one bow type and accessories will work better than others. As long as you choose a model that you can use easily and effectively, it will go a long way towards helping you provide food and protect yourself when SHTF.
Basic Bow Types
From early times, humans could hunt, fish, or defend at a distance with a bow and arrows. The first bow, or Long Bow, was nothing more than a thick branch with animal gut tied to each end to serve as the bow string.
As time went on the bows became longer and heavier. Their range became longer until shooting and hitting a target at over 100 yards was the norm. The main bow variations in use today include:
- Recurve Bow – has an additional curve on each end which magnifies the power of draw to increase distance, speed, and accuracy.
- Compound bows – uses a cam system to create a smooth draw, high lift-off, and a more powerful arrow flight.
- Crossbow – This bow is held horizontal to the ground. It has a stock mounted at the center of the bow arms, which can be used to mount scopes, and serve as the bolt path. A foot stirrup is located on the front center of the bow, and is used to pull the string back and arm the bow. Since the bow arms are thicker and heavier, the crossbow superior to standard bows. To fire, place a bolt in the groove, aim, and pull the trigger. As with standard bows, you can buy recurve and compound designs. Modern body armor cannot stop a bolt from a good quality crossbow, but can usually deflect arrows from conventional bows.
- And of course my personal favorite, the Benjamin Airbow in a Bullpup configuration (Pictured Below) that operates off of 3,000 psi of compressed air and is built on the .357 Caliber High-Powered Benjamin Air-Gun platform. The "Silent Killer" perfect for hunting big game, if you don't mind hauling around a mildly heavy fill tank.
WARNING: When shooting a crossbow, keep a tight hold the hand grip, and do not allow your fingers to slide upward, or the string will cut your fingers off with ease.
This bow was made from the heart wood of the Ash, Yew, or the Oak tree, and should be the same height as the person using it. Traditionally this bow does not use modern sights thus the accuracy may not be as good as modern bows, but in its day it was good enough to put food on the table or kill an enemy.
This is a weapon that should not be under estimated. Long bow costs range from $88.00- $583.99, and are usually made from wood or fiberglass, although I made my bow many years ago from Ash wood and deer gut.
This bow is made of Ash, yew, or oak, with lamination for extra strength. Unlike the long bow, it has a curve at each end that makes it possible to take deer on the first shot with good placement.
I Prefer the Greatree Archery Deerslayer recurve bow with a 50 lb draw. The workmanship and sight on the bow are both good, and worth the 223.00 investment on this bow.
- The pulley/cam system make it easy to use by just about anyone. A 50 pound draw can be done with less than 30 pounds of pull.
- These bows are not affected by temperature or humidity.
- Since it takes less energy to hold the string back, you can take more time to aim.
My preference – the Venture compound bow which is part of the Mission Series by Mathews, which runs around $499.00. This is a durable bow with an adjustable draw weight from 50 to 70 lbs. It makes a good starter bow for teens, yet has more than enough power for adult men and women.
Today’s modern recurve crossbows are the end result of applying modern materials to a classic weapon.
These bows are stronger, lighter, faster, and safer than their old counterparts.
My preference is, for sure, The Matrix 355 by Excalibur, which is a very good recurve crossbow priced at $899.99. This crossbow comes with a good accessory package containing a Tact-zone scope with 30mm rings, a four bolt quiver with bracket, four Diablo bolts with 150 grain field points, and a rope cocking aid.
These bows are made from light weight, strong material that gives greater speed and accuracy than conventional crossbows.
The pulley/cam systems also give greater accuracy and allow for a longer aiming time and faster second shots.
My preference is The Invader Crossbow by Ten Point Is a no nonsense hunting crossbow that runs around 500.00 for the basic package.
In conclusion, the bow and arrow have changed much through time, yet each type still serves an important purpose. As you search for the best bow for hunting and survival, keep in mind your physical condition and what you want to use the bow for.
Always remember that long term survival after SHTF can be seriously hampered by failure to practice, or choosing cheap equipment now that will fail to work properly later on.
Crosman Pioneer Airbow
Is the American hunting population ready to use the airbow for hunting in the US?
We as hunters, sometimes, are hard to allow the arrival of innovation. Innovation can exist within camouflage like Sitka’s Optifade Elevated II pattern, or in the use of rangefinders like Nikon’s Arrow ID 3000. But innovation sometimes doesn’t bother people until you put under the category: Archery.
The archery industry has moved mountains when it comes to innovations including bows like the Diamond Edge SB-1 where you basically don’t even need a pro shop to set up your bow. But what happens when you mix innovation with completely new. What happens when you cross an airgun with an arrow and form a new term called the ‘Airbow’.
Well, just like many archers had mixed emotions on the introduction of crossbows, many have mixed emotions of the airbow.
However, when it comes to many new things, there are many things you just can’t knock until you’ve tried. Regardless if you agree or disagree with it’s presence, there are some pros and cons when it comes to hunting with the airbow that you just cannot deny.
As long as you aren’t breaking or losing arrows every time you shoot, overtime the cost of one arrow becomes much less than continually shooting ammunition.
The airbow allows you to take several shots off one filling. Approximately 8-10 shots can be made before accuracy is compromised.
Faster reload (than crossbow)
There’s no doubt the airbow will forever be compared to a crossbow. When doing so, reloading an airbow is much faster and with less effort than having to load and set a crossbow.
This is in theory based on what I’ve read and have discussed with those in the industry who have used them, not based on personal experience. The theory is that the air pushes on the tip of the arrow rather than the rear of the arrow giving the arrow flight more accuracy. The theory seems reasonable and when explained makes sense.
So maybe the airbow isn’t as quiet as your brand new compound bow, but it sure is much quieter than most guns on the market. If this replaces a muzzleloader for some people, this may just allow for a second shot for some.
Limited air supply (within the unit)
In order to shoot the airbow, you must have compressed air within the unit. In order to obtain that, you either need a hand pump or a compressed tank with adapters. Eight to ten shots may seem like a lot but if you forget to refill or bring your hand pump, you can be stranded with no way of shooting the airbow.
Compressed air (in general)
Like paintball, if you shoot a lot, you will need an abundance of air supply. A simple home compressor won’t do the trick and many times you will have to find yourself having to find a local fill or cascade system to fill a portable tank. This may not seem like an issue but if you shoot your airbow as much as many archers practice target shooting their compound and crossbows, you may be in for several trips to your air supplier.
No matter if you are for or against the airbow, you can’t really complain regardless if it’s even legal to hunt with in your state. Like all footnotes, be sure to check with your local regulations to see whether or not it is legal to use where you are hunting. According to the map above, from Pioneer Airbow, it is only legal to hunt whitetail deer in four states with the airbow.
This means if you purchase the airbow, you may not be legal to hunt with it within your state. There is a substantial amount of more states that do allow you to hunt coyotes and predators with it however not all states are on board with the airbow just yet.
Much like anything, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, for the airbow, there are many extras that you may have to purchase just to shoot it. A scope, arrows and the extra air tank or hand pump can add up. There is no denying that a sight for a bow, quiver, rest and a release don’t make archery expensive as well, however many of the package bow deals for beginners can start well under $600. For airbows like the Crosman Pioneer Airbow your starting price comes in at just under $1000.
Regardless if you choose to hunt with the airbow or have negative feelings towards the idea, there are still many benefits to using it. There may come a day when the airbow begins to slide under the rug like the negativity surrounding crossbows by some.
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