A lot of serious preppers get a bow just to say they have an alternative weapon in case something happens to their firearms. Most put little thought into the process unless they are bowhunters already.
I am not a real died in the wool archery guy but the other day the subject came up and someone asked me how many bows I own…It took a couple minutes of deep thought and I came up with 11 (I think)… So maybe I am a bow guy after all.
If you are not currently a bow hunter and wish to add archery to your preps read on and learn some things to take into account when you are shopping for your bow.
Compound vs Recurve
A traditional bow is a longbow or recurve made of wood, fiberglass or PVC ( I have one made of magnesium as well). When you draw a traditional bow you are holding the entire weight of the resistance the bow is putting on the string.
A compound bow is made of various materials and uses a system of pulleys and cables to give you a mechanical advantage so that when you draw the bow you are only holding a portion of the weight. You start by pulling the full weight but then there is a dramatic let-off and you end up holding far less weight at your full draw.
If I take my compound out with its peep sight and release, with a little practice I can get very tight groups…with my recurves or longbow, without any sights at all I can put most shots on a pie plate at hunting distances. (Again if I keep up my practice)
In strictest comparison a compound is usually more accurate.
While the compound bow may be more accurate the traditional bow has a much smoother draw since there is no let-off to disrupt the motion. This makes it very good for taking quick shots at flushed small game and birds.
You should never shoot wooden arrows from a compound bow. Any flaw can lead to a catastrophic failure of the arrow and you may end up with two feet of wood sticking out of your arm. Traditional bows will shoot all types of arrows.
You see both types of bows used for bow fishing but the edge usually goes to the traditional bow for the smooth draw.
One other shootability issue that preppers will be interested in is that compounds can be noisy. Traditional bows are usually much quieter shooters that their more modern cousins.
I know the first thing I typically look at when shopping for a new piece of equipment is price. For many of us price is a limiting factor with both compound and traditional bows costing north of $1000 in some cases. What is the frugal prepper to do?
When I wanted to pick up a fiberglass recurve crossbow for each member of my family I turned to ebay. I was surprised at how proud people were of these old bows asking far more than I wanted to pay.
The secret with ebay like most auctions is set a price you are willing to pay and don’t bid any higher than that price. It took a while but I finally got a couple of deals on these old bows that shoot just fine and are okay for hunting.
I did the same thing when I wanted an upgrade on my 30 year old compound…I just checked ebay daily and it took about three weeks to get what I wanted for under $50 to my door.
If you are after a serviceable bow you do not need to get the newest and best. All you need is a bow that you like and shoots well.
There are certain skills you can learn to make your archery experience more sustainable and prepper friendly. Most of them apply more to traditional bows than compound bows.
For a few dollars of materials and a little youtube time you can learn to make your own Flemish twist bow strings. Most of the fiberglass bows I bought online did not come with a string so this skill came in handy.
If you are interesting in flint knapping you can make you own hunting points.
You can make your own arrows from dowels from the hardware store, cut from a tree shoot, or even split from a blank.
But the skill you most need to cultivate is actual shooting. Nothing beats putting arrows down range for improving you bow shooting skills.
No matter the type of bow you choose practice and then practice some more…A good shooter practices until he can make the shot, an excellent shooter practices until he doesn’t miss the shot.
In terms of which is best for a survival bow, it completely depends on what you value most out of all the features mentioned above.
Another option you might be interested in is a reverse crossbow.