Making a Survival Bow

Bow and arrow are excellent hunting tools. They increase distance between you, your prey, and improve your chances of catching it. The ability to quickly create survival bows and arrows from the materials around you is an essential skill in survival situations. It could mean the difference between survival and survival. Before you can take advantage of this technology, here are some things to remember before you build a survival bow or straight-flying archer.

Making a Survival Bow

How to Find Exceptional Wood for a Survival Bow

The bow is the first piece of this puzzle. A bow is a stick that has a string between its ends. It propels the arrow towards its target. Every limb (the bow section from the tip to its handle) must be bent equally and slowly over its length. The material should be flexible and able to snap back into place quickly. You can perform a quick test in the field to see if the wood is suitable for making a bow. You will need a branch the same size as your pinky. Let it snap back by bending it slightly. Is it responsive quickly or slow to move back to its original position? Bend the stick into a C-shape. Is it fragile enough to hold on? Next, take the twig apart. It is considered poor quality if it snaps in half. It is acceptable for use as a bow if it kinks instead, forming fibrous fractures that resist breaking all the way through.

This is the sapling for this tree. It should measure about a half-inch at its small end. This is your bow stave, the piece of wood that you use to make a bow. You should see a gradual slope from one end of the stave to the other. It is a plus if there are no branches or knots. The stave is now designed to allow both limbs to bend equally, as one end is larger than the other.

Mark the center of the stave where you want your handle. You will be removing wood from the belly (the side you will face) of the handle. Then, taper it slowly. Do not cut into the bow’s back (the side you will be facing away from). This will prevent the wood from splitting when it is under tension. You can place one tip of the bow on the ground. The other tip is in your other hand. This will tell you how bendy the limb touches the ground. Turn it upside down and try the other limb. Both limbs should bend equally. Cut two knocks at the tips of each limb. These notches will prevent the string from sliding off the tips. These notches are cut at a 45 degree angle and point toward the handle. They are deep enough to hold the bow string.

Bow and Arrow

Create the Bow Cord

Next, make a cord from strong material. You can use any synthetic cordage that has a small diameter. Because it transfers the snap of the bow to arrows more efficiently, the less stretchy the cordage will work. A cord made of natural materials like nettle, dogbane, yucca, or milkweed can be used if you don’t have synthetic cordage. The bow should be about 5 inches tall when the cord is tied. This height is important for the snapping of the bow.

Making Your Arrows

The arrows are the most important and last part of this weapon. You can make survival arrows from many materials. Straight shoots made from maple, willow, or dogwood work well. The shoots should be straight and free of knots and branches. They should then taper slowly from end to end. The string will need to be nitched at the small end. It should be big enough to allow for this knock, but not compromise the wood’s strength. The bark is removed from the shoot using a knife or a stone. Finally, the shaft is placed over a flame to straighten.

To straighten, heat a crooked area and then bend it backwards slightly past straight. This spot will return to its original position once it cools. To check the straightness of the arrow, you can look down at its length periodically. You can either sharpen the large end of your arrow to make it point or to allow for a point made of bone, steel, or stone.

To form the knock, the small end should be notched. The string should fit snugly. To stabilize the arrow’s flight, it is important to fletch the arrow. This involves adding feathers or other materials onto the shaft. A bundle of pine needles tied to the end closest to the string can be used for fletching. Or, you could use a few feathers with the quill tips attached to the shaft. To keep the feather in place, you can also spit out the shaft’s knock end, insert a feather and wrap the split at either end. To prevent the shaft from spinning from the forces applied, a wrap should be tied between the point and the knock. Wrapping cordages can be made from sinew, plant fibers, rawhide, or synthetic threads.

Now you have a quickie survival arrow and bow. To keep your arrow in place, use your pointer finger (on the hand holding the bow) to hold the bow at a 45 degree angle to your body. You must aim your bow at the prey with a fast-fletched arrow and a green bow. The bow will become snappier as it dries but will not be as fast as a bow made of seasoned wood. This will give you an advantage over using sticks or rocks to kill game. However, this tool is a temporary one that you can use to save time while you work on finer, more effective weapons.

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