Bow Hunters: Come on in!

Joined
Mar 19, 2003
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978
I'm wondering about hunting with a Bow, but more about the bow than the hunting! Have any of you guys made your own bow? Any tips or great resources to read about how its done?

I've got a fair amount of space to practice, but I'm lacking the equipment and expierence! Are there any good primers on bow hunting and archery that a beginner should read?

:cool:
 

longbow

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 9, 1999
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4,258
Go to www.stickbow.com. Best site on the web for all that is modern and traditional archery. Lots of good books too on making bows. Traditional Bowyers bible 1,2, and 3 are probably the 3 best books out there. Tons of classes being offered during the course of the year too from different bowyers. To make laminated glass bows there is also a ton of info out there. Try the Traditional Bowhunter mag. Keepem sharp
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
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4,812
Even recurved bows are substantially complicated weapons: there's an awful lot under the hood for what appears to be a slightly curved piece of wood.

While it is possible for anyone with a little practice to make his or her own bow, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone without a reasonable amount of experience with a recurved bow. Otherwise, you won't have the 'feel' for what needs to be improved. And incredibly, something as simple as shaving off a little piece of the bow's belly could increase your range 10-20 yards!

Also, it's very time-consuming. That could be a good thing, given how rewarding it would have to be to make your own!

Don't let me talk you out of it: I would suggest springing for an inexpensive recurved bow (there are a lot of people online selling them). Learn what draw weight works for you, what type of string you're more comfortable with, and whether you like the length of your arrow shafts, etc., before committing further.

Then, when you have a reference for what you like and don't like, you can develop your methodology for constructing one. And there are a lot of people here who would love to hear about your progress,
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
978
Cool thanks for the tips/links...

Is there an entry level cheap cheap bow brand that is half decent? I try not to spend much money on sports/hunting equipment until I feel I've surpassed the ability of the tool! :cool:
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
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Hotrod said:
Is there an entry level cheap cheap bow brand that is half decent?
Therein lies the biggest problem: all of the really inexpensive (and good) brands got squeezed out years ago. As a result, you're left with the following choices:

1. Expensive ($200 and easily up) recurves made of composite woods. Beautiful and reliable. But for your needs, way too much money.

2. Inexpensive and extremely horrific in quality. You can get these at major retailers like Wal-Mart, etc., in the $40 - 100 range. These can be good for just starting out, but if you have friends who bow-hunt, don't let them see one of these in your collection, or there'll be no living it down.

3. Inexpensive and good, but with low draw weights. Specifically, these are geared for younger shooters, and have 30# - 50# draw weights. This could be exactly what you need, but bear in mind that the lower draw weight will affect your shooting: you'll either overdraw the bow (and pop the string, which could be hazardous), or you'll think shooting a bow takes no real effort... until you try firing your homemade bow and wrench your back, with its 60# - 75# pull.

In your case--because you're basically looking for a bow to use and lose--I'd go with number 2 or 3, whichever presents itself first. When you're done, you can always hand it on to the neighbor kid while you get to work on your own, homemade bow.

That said, there are some higher-quality things you might want to purchase sooner: get yourself a good arm guard. Get a good quiver for your arrows. These are things you can use on your future bow.

For now, get inexpensive arrows (after you buy your bow!). There are a number of websites out there with formulas for which arrows to get... it's based on draw length and weight, so I can't be more specific without knowing which bow you eventually purchase.

And don't be hesitant about upgrading the string. The strings they give you on inexpensive bow kits usually don't last long, and could pose a danger if they snap on you. An upgraded string won't cost much, and you need not buy this right away... but you'll be happier with one.

Last, get practice heads. Many years ago, when I began learning the bow, I went nuts and stupidly bought razor-tipped bear heads. They looked cool! :barf: I promptly took them to a practice range, shot them into wooden targets, and discovered to my horror that they either shattered against the hard targets (they ain't designed for that) or were buried so deeply into the wood they were gone forever. Since then, I've been careful to use screw-on target heads that are dirt cheap and last forever during practice.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
978
That is interesting reading!

Is there a drop in price for used equipment? I imagine that theres not a "huge" market for bows in my area. Possibly if 100 buys an ok bow, a used 150 dollar one might be a better choice. Any names to stay away from? Any that are worth looking at?

Do you store a bow with the string on or off? The inexpensive and good brands that you speak of, does the bow have a shelf life or can I track down a used model thats higher quality?

:cool:
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
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I honestly don't know if I would consider used equipment, but that's a little hypocritical because my recurve is a bow I rescued and restored.

This is one case where I might recommend sniffing around eBay, to see what's out there. I agree with your logic completely--$150 ought to buy a really nice bow, and there has to be an avid bow hunter out there willing to part with some of his older bows.

As for names to stay away from, I think that would depend on the age of the bow. There used to be hundreds of manufacturers selling a wide range of gear, until I think about the 1980s, when they started to collapse into a few "premium" manufacturers, like we have today. I'm not aware of any specific moron manufacturers because there are so few bowyers. There are literally hundreds of reviews on the internet of different bows. It might make sense to find a couple on eBay you like and then research the names on Google. That'd probably save you a lot of steps!

As for the string, always store a bow unstrung. If you store a bow with its string on, the bow eventually settles into that shape and you lose a lot of tension. The power of the bow comes from bending its natural unstrung shape into an unnaturally curved shape...so we want to preserve its tension as much as possible.

Since stringing a recurve is actually easy to do, so I recommend getting in the habit of unstringing it after each use...even before you put it into the trunk of the car on the way home. Only string it before you shoot (unless you're hunting, in which case string it well beforehand).

A bow that's properly stored (unstrung, and not subjected to heat, very dry, or very wet conditions) can last decades in perfect shape. If it hasn't been stored properly, you'll notice (a) a lack of rigidity, in which case the bow looks more like this ) than this {... and/or (b) a lot of cracks especially around the handle or the nocking tips, which suggest poor storage.

I hope this helps, and I really hope this gets you more interested in making your own bow. I've never considered doing it, but would very curious about the process.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
71
i made my own longbow last winter to go deer hunting with, its relatively inexpensive if you go about it right and the satisfaction you get from completing your own bow is priceless. if you need any info i have all 3 of the traditional bowyers bibles and a slew of other stuff. there is a forum for help in making bows, on rudder bows.com called the bowyers den. feel free to email me if you want just put the bow topic or blade forum in the heading so i dont delete your email. good luck :D
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
978
Thanks guys :cool:

I've been doing some reading...

Sounds the below are available in the cheap category:
An all wood bow
A fiberglass recurve with wood handle
An all fiberglass compound

I'm hesitant about going with a fiberglass compound, because it has the "feel" of a crutch of sorts. When I commit to learning a sport I try to find a decent middle of the road choice in tools. Plenty of feel, and gives enough reaction to let you "listen" to what the tool at hand wants. Golf, bowling... pool, whatever "skill" sport I've found its best to listen to the equipment.

So, what gives would give me the most feel? I'm not really asking whats the hardest to shoot, but more what will teach me the most about archery? Doesnt have to be the lightest, farthest shooting or most accurate, just good enough to pass for "good enough!"

I found a list of bowyers in the US http://www.women-outdoors.com/traditional/bowyers.htm

Any chance I could get some guidance with the premium names? I'm not looking for the best performance, but something that can take the abuse of a beginner! :D

I'd like to avoid having this happen:
http://p081.ezboard.com/fpaleoplanet69529frm13.showMessage?topicID=258.topic
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
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Please keep it public (a forum thread rather than e-mil discusion) if at al possible - there are some of us watching cloely, eager to learn :) I just arranged for a piece of ash wood about my height and suitable width to be delivered to me in a couple of days, i plan to make an atempt at manufacturing my own longbow using one of the online guides i stumbled across. Any info you provide would be extremely useful i'm sure :D
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2004
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14,031
Just curious.Does the unsturng storage advice,does that apply to crossbows
as well?
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2002
Messages
4,591
HotRod,

This one really touches me closely. My experience is that bow hunting is as close to a religious experience as any other thing I have done, on a regular and planned basis that is.

I will give this from what I have learned for myself: tune, tune, tune. Practice, practice, practice. Tune, practice, repeat, repeat, repeat. If a complex bow never trust it from one day to the next to be as good a shooter as you are a shot. Check and tune. Equip yourself with all necessities to replace parts as needed when needed and be able to never doubt your bow when it is really needed.

RL
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Messages
4,812
fixer27 said:
Just curious.Does the unsturng storage advice,does that apply to crossbows
as well?
It depends on the manufacturer, but generally you're okay to leave a crossbow strung, since it can be a pain to remove the strings on many models.

However, if you're storing your crossbow for any length of time, you should wax the strings according to your manufacturer's recommendations. Some require a lot of lube wax, many do not.

That said, the biggest source of harm to a crossbow, I understand, is storing it cocked. It seems strange, but I gather a lot of people do this.
 
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