Beckum Outdoors

Hunting with a primitive Bow & Arrow!

The whitetail deer is one of nature's greatest game animals! There are more exotic and dangerous animals but none are more elusive and difficult to hunt than the whitetail deer! That's an amazing statement since they live in most of the U.S. and in our own back yards!

Hunting whitetail with any bow & arrow is quite a challenge. Hunting them with traditional archery is even more difficult. Traditional archery being old style bows & arrows made out of modern materials and shot without aid of sights & mechanical aids. Now imagine hunting the wily ole whitetail with total primitive archery = archery made from natural materials collected from the forest! This is the ultimate challenge in hunting the whitetail deer with bow & arrow. The bow made from a stave of wood from a tree in the forest! The arrow made from natural shoots, the bow string made from deer tendon or natural flax, and the arrow head made from stone, flint, chert or obsidian. You make your own glue from pine resin and from animal skin. You tie your feathers and points on with sinew (deer tendon.) After you make this primitive bow & arrow you shoot & shoot until you are ready! Ready to take a deer with a bow & arrow that could have been used by Native Americans for thousands of years, or the ancient Europeans!

If you may think that these primitive bows are not powerful, deadly & accurate then you have never seen one made by a good bowyer! These weapons have killed big game and people in warfare for thousands of years and a primitive bow made correctly today can do the same.

There are a lot of advantages to a primitive bow, mainly that they are simple and have few parts to break down. The string and the bow can last and last! A sinew backed bow can have a life span of 150 years! I have all wood self-bows which are 17 years old and show no signs of getting weak or breaking down. They still shoot like the day I made them. Simplicity in hunting is a great concept and all I have to worry about is making a good shot, no concern over bow parts! The simple self bow is quiet, something that a lot of modern bows can not claim. A quiet bow means hitting your game with the arrow because the deer is less likely to jump the string! A lot of high tech archers try to rely on bow speed but no matter how fast a bow, sound is still much, much faster! Most really fast bows are also really loud and that arrow can not out run the speed of sound. So a simple self bow that is quiet has a better chance of hitting the deer after the shot! Along the way in your quest to pursue Traditional or Primitive Archery you may develop a Traditional philosophy. By using more of your game, you will learn to honor and respect the game and your ancient ancestors! You may also learn many unique and valuable primitive skills in the quest of primitive bow hunting, such as flint knapping, the art of making stone arrow heads, heat treating stone, making natural fiber bow strings, primitive glues, brain tanned buckskins, friction fire, smoking jerky, Atatla , blowguns, and more!

Come full circle with Thad, from collecting natural materials to producing powerful primitive weapons used to take two whitetails. Then learn the primitive skills necessary to process your deer into food, clothing and other items used in the production of primitive weapons!

Primitive Bow & Arrow Tips
  1. Use hickory for your first bow making attempts. It is very good bow wood and you can make a lot of mistakes and still get a lethal weapon!
  2. Dry hickory a little more than other bow wood, say 6-8%.
  3. Use river cane as your arrow material and make your arrows 5-6" longer than your draw, longer arrows fly better! River cane is tough & plentiful and used for thousands of years here in the Southern U.S.
  4. Learn to hand twist flax sinew before attempting to make a sinew string, get a grip on string making first! Practice on modern string like Dacron until you can twist a good string! Later you can go to sinew and master using short pieces and splicing!
  5. Always mount your arrowheads so that they spin smoothly, "no wobble". If you can't get a good bond with your primitive glues, use modern glue until you learn how! The game you hunt deserves this!
  6. Get close to deer for that deadly shot. Bow hunting is and will always be a close range situation.
  7. Use only very sharp stone points if you can't get them sharp enough use metal until you learn.
  8. When cutting cane shoots for arrows cut the straightest shoots possible, this will make straightening them easier later.
  9. Read and study all you can about bow making and arrow making, you can never know too much!
  10. Rest assured that you descended from stone age people and you still have the ability to accomplish what they did many years ago!
  11. Enjoy the challenge and mystery behind the art of making and using the Traditional and Primitive Bow & Arrow.