Survival Archery 101 – Useful Tips

Survival Archery 101 - Useful TipsThe invention of gunpowder changed the battlefield forever and man was able to improve his ways of waging war and killing food. Long before gunpowder was invented, a sharp stick propelled down range was the top of ballistic technology. For thousands of years, survival archery was the only thing that helped man provide for his family and defend his lands.

In today’s modern world, using a simple bow and arrow might seem useless and obsolete. After all, we have an incredible variety of guns. Guns that would do a much better job, than a simple bow or crossbow.

That might be true, but in a post SHTF world, a bow and arrow are a must have weapon if you want to survive. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to convince you to give up your lead throwers and stick with just a bow and arrow. Guns have their place in a doomed world, but there will be times when survival archery will have an advantage over firearms.

Whether you need to be completely silent, have run out of ammo or simply need to send a line over a high tree branch. It is nice to have a tool available that can do all these things and even more.

For most of the readers, their first encounter with a bow and arrow was probably during summer camp. It most certainly didn’t include extended lessons that would improve one’s archery skills.

Survival archery as plan B

When given the choice of only carrying one weapon, let’s say the Glock 19 or a compact crossbow, I bet that many of the readers will choose the pistol in the blink of an eye. And they’re not wrong, given that choice; I would probably do the same thing. However, one knows that emergency preparedness and long-term survival is about always having a plan B. You have a backup plan already and most of us have even a backup for our initial backup. Having access to a bow and a good variety of arrows is a great alternative means of hunting and defense.

I don’t want to get into a debate about the pros and cons of survival archery. I think it is better if we explore the advantages of knowing how to launch projectiles down range without making a noise. We should look at why a bow (regardless its configuration) should be included in your arsenal.

Related reading: Ten Survival Hunting Essentials

If you remember summer camp, you should probably remember that archery is a good way to get kids involved in developing their concentration and aiming skills. Survival archery is a good way to get your kids involved in emergency preparedness. With the right lessons, kids will learn how to contribute to the defense or the hunting needs of your family. Not to mention that it is a great bonding experience. One of the few times when you can calmly discuss with them and teach the kids some discipline.

Survival archery requires commitment and you need to learn about the techniques and equipment options. The advantage is that you can practice survival archery even in suburban or urban surroundings without drawing attention to yourself. You don’t have the same luxury when using a gun and in many jurisdictions, it is illegal to practice shooting in your backyard.

Survival Archery – They won’t hear you coming

The bow and arrow were the first, true stealth weapon system. This characteristic will become useful in a world where you constantly need to stay under the radar. If you live in a suburban or urban environment and bugging out is not an option for you, keeping a low sonic profile is vital. After you outlast the first waves of causalities, you will need to defend your home ground or catch your next meal without making a noise. Survival archery will be your main option in those cases. It will make sure you keep your base camp protected and your plate full.

If the world will go off the grid tomorrow, you will need to compete with whole groups of starving, unprepared and angry people. Going hunting with a firearm when there is so much competition around is not a good idea, not unless you want to share your prize. Using a bow and arrow will ensure a stealthy takedown. You will be able to return to your base camp without attracting any hostiles.

Survival Archery more than meets the eye

When discussing survival archery, one must understand that it is not a skill that can be used only for hunting and defensive or offensive tactics. Survival archery is about versatility and about how one can use a bow and arrow under various circumstances.

A bow is a versatile tool that can be easily carried. Especially if you have a takedown recurve bow that can be broken down into pieces. Most importantly, it will never run out of ammo. It was the first flamethrower, and using a bow and flaming arrow was not only a war tactic. It was also used as a signal to reach others when in need.

Suggested reading: How to signal for help in the wilderness

You can also attach a string to an arrow and shoot it over a high limb or a gap. It will help you get a rope out farther than you can throw it by hand. Attaching a string to an arrow is also a good method of fishing and with a little practice, you will be able to procure dinner.

Bows have a wide variety of purposes and there are many configurations that one can use. This is why you will always find debates about which calibers are best for survival archery, what type of arrows you should use in a post SHTF world and other such topics.

I think that it’s a matter of personal preference. It all depends on what you are comfortable with and what you needed it for.

Survival Archery – How about the many type of bows?

This is one of the most difficult questions and choosing a bow for survival archery is never easy. You have many bow types and there are a lot of models available on the market. Here are the types of bows one can choose:


Longbow This is one of the oldest bow models and probably the simplest one to use. It is a long semi-flexible plank of wood hold under tension by a length of a string. When the string is drawn back the bow is put under increased tension. Releasing the string will cause the tension to propel the arrow.

There’s nothing complex to it and you can even build it yourself (there are many tutorials on YouTube). In fact, there’re good reasons why these traditional bows still enjoy great prominence and see a bewildering varieties to make it hard for archers to find the most appropriate bow according to their height, skills, and other factors. I got a detailed article on this on Rangerexpert, and I think you would find it helpful too

The Recurve bow

Recurve bowThis is an upgraded model of the longbow and it has the basic shape of its predecessor. The difference is that the tips of the bow curls (recurves) in the opposite direction. When the recurve bow is put under tension not only does the bow itself bend, but the recurved tips are also straightened out. When the string is released, the bow goes back to its original state with extra energy imparted to the arrow as the tips return to their original position.

The Takedown Recurve bow

Recurve Takedown BowMany survivalists and preppers say that this bow was born for them. It was designed for crisis events and it fits better in their survival bags. This type of bow usually breaks down in three parts, plus the string, that can easily be packed away and transported more discreetly in the bug out bag.

This is a bow that can be used by the entire family because it provides a great advantage: it has interchangeable limbs great for progressing in skill level. Your kid can use it to practice and when the lesson is over, you can change the limbs and use it for survival archery.

The Compound bow

Compound bowWhen high-tech science meets medieval weapons, the compound bow is born. This is an ancient design brought to the next level using cams and pulleys to increase arrow speed while making it easier to draw.

Not to mention that there are customizable accessories and parts that make this bow more accurate than its forefathers. Fiber-optic sights, stabilizers, string and limb silencers and anything you can name it. All these parts are meant to increase accuracy and ease of use.

The downside of this high-tech bow is that you will need to perform regular tuning. This will require some education, guidance, and practice, but once you learn it all, you will have a state of the art defensive/offensive tool.

The Crossbow

CrossbowThose who are used to operate a rifle and don’t want to make a significant change will most probably opt for a crossbow. In the last years, due to the “The Walking Dead” TV show, there was a high demand for crossbows and it seems that this trend is continuing to ascend.

When cocked, the crossbow is at a much higher tension than any of the bows listed above. It can send bolts down range at incredible speeds and it’s the most lethal of them all. There is even a crossbow that has the lower receiver of an AR-15 incorporated with the long-crossbow “upper” part.

This improvisation made it possible to create a long distance sniper crossbow. When it comes to crossbows, there are so many models available on the market that it is almost impossible to choose one, without proper research.

The Sling bow

Sling bowThis is the new “toy” out there and although it can be quite fun to use, it is advised to use it carefully. It is the most portable option of the bunch and it’s used mainly for taking down small game.

The sling uses industrial elastic to send a wide variety of arrows down range. If you don’t want to spend money on it, you can make a sling bow at home. There are many tutorials online, teaching you how to do it.

Survival archery – How about the cost?

Perhaps the most compelling reason for adding a bow to your weapons cache is the cost factor. Unlike a gun, you can find cheap materials to make your bow and arrows. Some may argue that the homemade stuff is not as good as the name-brand gear. However, if you do your homework, you can construct an effective make-do solution.

If you decide to try survival archery, you shouldn’t run and spend all your money on the best gear there is out there. You should first try surfing the web for cheaper solutions. Trying Craigslist will turn up some great deals on models that were once the top. If you decide that survival archery is no for you, at least you will still have some money left in your pocket.

The Lost Ways of Living

Survival archery – Let’s not forget about the arrowheads

While the arrows can be manufactured at home without much trouble, making the arrowheads is not that easy. There are many types of arrowheads that one can use and the flexibility of using interchangeable arrowheads is a compelling reason to include a bow in your SHTF plan. Here are some of the arrowheads available on the market

The bullet arrowhead

Bullet arrowheadThis is the simplest and least intimidating arrowhead there is. It is used mainly for target practice and some even use it for small game (very small and frail game).

The blunt arrowhead

Blunt ArrowheadThis is a flat bulbous tip made of metal, plastic or rubber. This type of arrowhead is used to knock out small game that would be torn apart by other types of arrowheads.

The field arrowhead

Field arrowheadThis is a variation of the bullet head, but as you can see from its shape, it’s a little bit more aggressive. This type of arrowhead is used for target shooting as well and also for small game.

The broadhead arrowhead

Broadhead arrowheadThis is the most aggressive arrowhead of the group, with razor-sharp blades designed to tear through the hide of big game. The size and number of blades may vary depending on the type of game you are after. These types of arrowheads are designed to be used for both defensive and offensive actions.

The fish arrowhead

Fishing arrowheadThis is pretty self-explanatory as for how to use it and I was mentioning earlier about bow fishing. If you plan to try it, you will need this arrowhead.

It has spring-loaded barbs that secure the fish when you reel in the arrow, using the attached string.

The judo arrowhead

Judo arrowheadThis is the most bizarre looking arrowhead of them all, but the design behind it has a precise scope. It has spring activated arms that catch leaves and grass so that you don’t lose the arrow.

Those springs will prevent the arrow from burying itself in the brush or embedding itself in the soft ground. It is used for shooting small game

The snare arrowhead

Snare ArrowheadThis oddly looking arrowhead is designed to entangle a bird’s wings and bring it down. Although the loops at the edge of the arrow seem to, somehow defy aerodynamics, it does its job pretty good.

Survival archery is an alternative to using firearms that might put you in danger, rather than help you eliminate it. You don’t need to hang up your guns and turn into an Apache after reading this article.

Just keep in mind that this is a good backup plan to your backup plan and you can give it a try to see it is for you. Having a multitude of tools serving the same scope is always recommended and survival archery will always be there when ammo runs out.

Other Useful Resources:

The LOST WAYS (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Drought USA (Secure unlimited fresh, clean water)