Hunting Weapons

Within the traditional arts, there's no other sensation quite like launching an arrow from a bow and watching it blast into the air faster and higher than seems possible within the laws of physics.  Making a traditional archery setup that will do this is all about craftsmanship.  Tillering the bow is a delicate balance of removing wood in just the right areas and proportions that the bow will bend with an even arc, have just the right draw weight at just the right length, and transfer draw energy efficiently to an arrow.  Arrow-making is an act of precision.  The stiffness and length of the arrow must match up with the bow it's intended for.  The weights and fletchings must match between different arrows from the same group for them to fly consistently.  Bowstring-making is an art in itself and even among traditional bowyers, there are few who hand-build traditional strings from materials native to the United States. 

 

I love doing all of these things.  Over the years, I've made bows from about a dozen different native hardwood species.   Most of my arrows are dogwood shoots or river cane, but I've also used less common traditional materials like sourwood. My quivers are from traditionally tanned hides.  Most of my strings are from deer tendon, but I use other native materials on occasion.

My own bow is a Choctaw-style D bow nearly as tall as I am.  It's made from a piece of bois d'arc I acquired in high school and held onto for a few years while my bow-making skills developed.  I've now shot this bow long enough that the electric yellow of the bois d'arc has seasoned to a dark brown.  Pulling 70 lbs at 31 inches, it will blast a Choctaw war arrow 150 yards from a sinew string.

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