About Weapons And Feeding Yourself-The Return To The Days Of Robin Hood-

NO, I'm not talking about which battle rifle is the best. I'm not here to try to turn anyone into a combat soldier. That is best left for drill sergeants and other professionals and simply can't be done on-line. Here what I refer to is how do you take game when firearms are banned and the sound of a single gunshot is going to bring a lot of unwanted attention. You still have to go out and find your prey and put it on the ground. There are a number of ways to do this. The first and most obvious is the bow and arrow. In the stores these things can go for a lot of money, but there are options. My local craigslist routinely has bows and arrows for sale. But even then some people are going to ask for the same price they bought it for or close to it. And if your local newspaper hasn't banned ads selling these kinds of things, you can often find some real deals there. Sometimes your local 'Thrifty Nickle' type of magazine is in need of advertisers and will accept these kinds of ads. Of course most of the store bought bows come with all kinds of gadget's and gizmo's that they want to sell you that are supposed to turn you into the greatest archer since William Tell.

Let me tell you they don't. The ONLY thing that makes you a good archer is practice. Let me begin by explaining a thing or two. Bows come in two basic categories and a few subcategories. First there is the regular bow and arrow, and here there are differing types. So the first thing you need to decide is what is best for you. A bow comes in various draw weights. That means the amount of weight needed to pull the string back far enough to shoot the arrow. You don't need a bow with a draw weight so strong that it will arcuately shoot an arrow 100 yards but you almost can't pull it. Most shots with a bow and arrow are less than 50 yards. In places like where I live in Florida, the range drops to about 30 yards. The brush is so thick you can't see farther than that. A bow with a 45 pound draw weight is easily able to handle your needs and much easier to draw than a bow with an eighty or one hundred pound draw weight. Another thing to consider is that you very well may draw the arrow, but your target suddenly steps behind a bush. You are going to have to hold that string back until the target reappears. After holding it long enough you are going to begin to shake from the strain, and there goes your accuracy. A forty-five pound bow can be some what more comfortably held back much longer than a heavier weight bow.

Most bows these days come with sights to help with accuracy and they do work, as long as you don't bump into something and knock them out of alinement. Personally I prefer to shoot instinctive. Meaning I sight off of the tip of the arrow and use horseback judgement as to the distance to the target. With PRACTICE this becomes second nature and you don't even think about it. While an arrow does not have the knock down power of a bullet, the injury it causes will result in blood loss and that blood loss will make a trail for you to follow. DO NOT make the mistake of jumping up and running after the deer or whatever you just shot. Because of the injury they are going to be running on pure adrenaline. If you start to chase them right away, they will run for miles before they drop. After your shot just sit down and wait five minutes or so. Your target IS going to run, but he is hurt and will only run as far he has to do so. After all, he is in pain, he doesn't want to run any more than he has to. Once it is sure nothing is following right after him it is going to find a place to lay down and try to recover from it's wound. While it lays there, the blood loss continues. If you have gotten a good hit in the heart/lungs area it will soon die or be to weak to jump and run when you do catch up with it.

Bows come in what are called recurve (Considered old fashioned and kind of looked down on these days, but that deer isn't going to care about that when the arrow hits him.) Then there are compound bows. Perhaps you have seen these types. They have wires running in an X type fashion between the bow and the string. These bows are designed to allow you to have a higher draw weight, but due to the construction the weight drops off a lot when you get to full draw, allowing you to hold it longed if need be. This is the type of bow I hunt with. And then you have a few other types only one of which I will mention, and that is a break down bow. This bow actually comes apart in three pieces allowing for easier transportation and storage. As long as yo buy a break down bow from a well known manufacturer, like Bear, Jennings or Remington, there should be no problem. There are other good makers but their names escape me at the moment.

Then you have crossbows, the regular kind are silent and deadly at longer ranges and come in various draw weights, just like regular bows. Some you can cock by hand but the more powerful ones require a cocking device. With a crossbow, you don't have to hold the string back so a heavier weight bow might be just the thing you. Once it is cocked the string is locked into position and you aim and shoot it like a rifle. So this is something you have to think about. Be it a regular bow and arrow or a crossbow the amount of power you need to take game depends on the distance you expect to be shooting. And since I don't know where you live or the type of terrain you will be hunting in, that choice will have to be yours.

Another toy, and I do mean toy, that can be useful at close range for food gathering is a crossbow pistol. That thing is basically a toy. But if there is a squirrel or rabbit close by that isn't paying attention and you have put in the practice time, he's meat in the freezer.

Okay, so you don't have the cash you need to buy a good bow and arrow or crossbow. If you are reading this, you are on-line, so look up an Atlatl. You can make these yourself. They have been used in the back woods areas of certain third world countries since the dawn of time. It is a piece of wood about two feet long with a grove carved into it with a vertical stop at one end. You place a four foot long spear into the grove with the non-sharpened end against the stop. When you spot the game animal you just use the stick to throw the spear at your target. I've seen these things accurately hit targets at thirty yards. And if you have only halfway decent wood working skills you can make them yourself.

A Walmart item that you might want to pick up is an old fashioned sling shot. And again these can be easily made, if you chose to do that. They are good for small game such as squirrels and rabbits, are silent and can put meat on the table. Ammo for them is as close as the nearest pile of pebbles. But as with all things, practice, practice, practice.

PRACTICE. Let's be honest, how much concern are you going to raise with your neighbors by shooting a sling shot in your back yard? Even if they notice, what are they going to think? Second childhood, maybe? Especially if you use misdirection. For example,

Neighbor; "What are you doing? Is that a sling shot?"

You: " Yeah. I had one as a kid and I got to wondering if I'm as good as I used to be. I just bought it to play around with."

And trust me, if you are in your own back yard "practicing" nobody is going to miss a few squirrels in your neighborhood.

Aug 5, 2019

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