The bow and arrow is a traditional weapon that has been used for centuries. It is easy to make and even easier to use. Many cultures have chosen it as the preferred weapon for defense and for hunting. Even today young hunters often first learn their craft on a bow and arrow before moving on to more sophisticated weaponry. The bow and arrow is made from primitive materials, so there is no need for technology or manufactured pieces. It is possible to create a bow and arrow in the wilderness, so it can be viewed as a simple survival tool.
Those who want to make a bow should begin by gathering the necessary materials. Sticks are usually the easiest materials to work with, but it can take some time to find sticks of the right size and strength. Look for varieties that are straight and strong. They should also offer a bit of flexibility without snapping and breaking. During your stick gathering mission, gather enough for both the bow and the arrows.
In addition to the stick, you will also need a large rubber band or elastic strip. The band should be about a half inch in width and strong enough to withstand pulling and expanding. Secure the rubber piece at the top and bottom of the stick. If you are able to pull back on the band without it snapping, your band is likely strong enough to shoot. Keep in mind you might need to replace the band over the years as it wears out.
Make the Arrows
Once the bow is built you can construct your arrows. The sticks can be whittled into sharp points and then hardened over hot coals. If the stick needs straightening you can do this by heating the wood over the hot coals, too, but be careful not to set fire to the wood. Arrowheads can also be created out of bone, glass, or stone. At the other end of the stick, carve a notch just large enough to slip the rubber band into. Feathers can also be added to the back of the arrow to create a level, accurate flight.
Enhancing Your Bow
Basic bows and arrows are simple enough to build when you are in the wilderness and at a loss for defending yourself. However, it is also possible to craft a bow and make it a unique weapon. Wrapping the stick of the bow with strips of leather strengthens it and gives a more secure grip when firing. Carving a notch into the stick also gives you a place to rest the arrow when aiming the bow. The notch will be like a tiny shelf, just deep enough to hold the arrow in place gently when setting up your target. Most store-bought bows feature this ledge. You might want to sand your bow to avoid splinters. Your focus should be on aiming and firing, not worrying about injuring yourself. You sometimes have only a few seconds to aim and fire, so you want all of your focus on your goal.