Survival Bows in the Wilderness
When you think of spending time in the great outdoors, and more specifically how to survive in challenging landscapes and environments, you’ll likely think of a few things: lighting a fire, improvising shelter for the night, and catching your own food.
All 3 of these processes are essential to survival, so it makes sense that they should cross your mind when preparing for an extended outdoor excursion (or if you’re thrust into a wilderness survival situation).
The first 2 needs – the need for warmth to protect against cold-related illness and the need for shelter to withstand the elements – can be covered with some initiative and a few survival tools (e.g tools from a survival kit).
The third is the need for sustenance, and one way you can address this need is by having a survival bow with you. A survival bow, while unorthodox, is a versatile tool that can be used for hunting, used as a weapon, and in some cases even for things like bowfishing.
What’s great about the survival bow is you can even break it down into its individual parts for more uses, for example using the bow string to set traps, or to fish if you are struggling to find animals.
There’s few things more satisfying than really knowing you can survive on your own – relying solely on your resourcefulness without any modern technology or gadgets. If you can survive with nothing but a few basic tools and a survival bow, you’ll really know you’ve got what it takes to make it through almost any kind of survival situation where you’re stuck in the wild.
Why a Survival Bow?
You might be asking yourself “Why would get a survival bow when I could just get a hunting rifle?”
Obviously rifles pack more power and are the more popular choice these days when it comes to hunting – and we won’t lie to you, a gun is definitely far more effective than any kind of bow when it comes to hunting.
However, a survival bow does offer a few distinct advantages over any kind of gun, whether it’s a hunting rifle, a shotgun, or a standard handgun.
Firstly, survival bows are more portable than most guns you would hunt with – many of them can be taken apart and put back together again. They’re also lightweight, which means in extended forays into the bush, you won’t be weighed down by a large piece of metal.
Secondly, survival bows use arrows rather than ammo. How can you guarantee that you’ll have access to ammo if you’re truly in a survival situation? The truth is, you can’t, especially if you’re in the wilderness. That means the ammo you have on you is all that you have – and you don’t know how long you’ll need to try to survive for in the wild. With a bow, you can always improvise arrows if push comes to shove and you’re in a really desperate situation. Heck, you can even make an improvised bow if you know what you’re doing.
Thirdly – let’s be honest here. There’s something primal about hunting with a bow. Bowhunting greater strength and endurance than hunting with any sort of gun, and many of us aren’t hunters because it’s easy. We enjoy the challenge of it, the so called “Thrill of the Hunt” – and the old school feeling of hunting with a bow is hard to beat.
What is a Survival Bow?
A survival bow is a bow designed for use in the wild, and one designed with the purpose of felling animals, big and small. It will also be compact enough that it isn’t a big burden to carry around with you, alongside all of your other survival gear. We’re looking for versatility, portability, and power all packed into one.
Some survival bows aren’t powerful enough to take down truly large game – and that’s fine. In a survival situation, in most cases you want to be focusing on hunting or trapping smaller game anyways. If you’re truly hunting for survival (rather than trophy hunting), smaller game will provide the most food for the least energy expended. That’s why we’re not recommending any super powerful compound bows here that have very high draw weights and lots of finicky parts. We’re a fan of those kinds bows too, but we’d be lying if we said that they were practical in a survival sense.
What factors to consider before choosing a survival bow?
Before you take the plunge and invest in a survival bow, it’s worth taking the following factors into account, so you can find the best bow for your specific needs.
Arguably the most important factor to consider when you’re looking to invest, is how easy the bow is to use.
What is your level of competence with a survival bow?
If you’re a veteran, then this won’t be as much of a consideration, but if you’re new to the world of bows then you’ll want to be careful that you don’t end up with one that is too difficult to use as a beginner.
What this means in concrete terms is that if you’re just starting out, you’ll want to find a bow with the right draw weight for you.
Draw weight refers to how difficult it is to pull back the drawstring of the bow, and you can determine which weight is best for you depending on how much you weigh.
For example, if you’re a male between 150-180lbs, it’s recommended that you go for a draw weight in the range of 40-55 lbs for the best results. You can even go lighter than that if you anticipate difficulty pulling the string back, but you should definitely not go above that as a beginner.
One of the best things about survival bows is how affordable they can be. There’s no need to splash the cash to get hold of a good one, so it’s worth keeping that at the back of your mind during your search.
Certainly if you’re just starting out you’re not going to want to invest too much money, and it’s worth knowing that a decent bow shouldn’t set you back more than a few hundred dollars. You won’t even need to put a lot of money down on arrows either since you can get hold of them at a reasonable rate.
What’s more, survival bows are surprisingly durable meaning it should last you a very long time. Plus you can craft your own arrows if you really get into it.
A survival bow should be relatively lightweight and not difficult to carry across long distances. You’d rather give up power in exchange for portability because this is a survival bow – we’re assuming an extended period in the wilderness, constantly carrying this bow around with you. Something that can be taken apart and put back together is also a big plus.
It’s also helpful if you can put it back together relatively quickly. Factor weight, size, and the size of the bow when taken apart when judging the portability of a survival bow.
While power is not the highest priority when it comes to survival bows, you do want your bow to pack some punch – enough to take down small game at least. Not being able to hunt anything defeats the purpose of having a survival bow in the first place. Also, for self defense reasons, you’ll want to get a bow that packs enough stopping power that it can be used as a weapon. Basically, you want to avoid anything that’s more of a toy or “backyard bows” that are on the very weak end of what’s available in terms of non-compound bows.