For those who question the effectiveness of primitive archery gear, prepare to be blown away.
I’ve heard our lives are like beams of light. Given a minor deflection near the source, a beam of light will take a wildly different course. Like light, small decisions in our lives eventually can get us to a very different place in the future. Our path can be completely different from one decision.
Here is one man whose decisions have taken him down a very unique path. Take a look.
In a world where people are increasingly more and more dependent on others, people like Shawn Woods who use primitive archery gear, are reminders of an older and simpler way of life. Having the ability and knowledge to venture into the woods and create a set of tools to allow for your survival is a skill set we are fast leaving behind. Fortunately some have chosen to be the vaults of past knowledge.
In order to make this hunt come together with primitive archery gear, think for a moment of all the knowledge Shawn Woods had to exercise. It began with an understanding of the vegetation surrounding him. Most people waltz through an area unaware of the incredible diversity that is surrounding them. Not only does this hunter understand the different plants, brush, and trees around him, but can also understand their uses.
Once he has gone out and located the type of vegetation he is looking for, he then has to understand what traits he is looking for to make the tool he wants. Should it be straight or can it be bent? Should it be stiff or pliable? Thick or thin? All these questions have answers, and selecting an inferior specimen will result in an inferior product.
After gathering his materials what comes next when making primitive archery gear? Only the process of creating a traditionally crafted bow, the string, then arrows, flintknapping a stone point, processing the sinew, glueing it together with a pine pitch glue he made himself, then, if you caught it, painting the arrows with natural materials. Whew.Is that a run on sentence or a wealth of knowledge?
Next up he has to start scouting. Where most of us begin the process of hunting, he already has to have completed all his previous work. Here is where the general body of hunting knowledge begins to kick in. Most seasoned hunters can identify where to set up and wait for animals, or likely areas to look for animals. We often forget though, this body of knowledge does not come free and had to be learned over time. Add it to the pile of knowledge Mr. Woods had to hold.
So at this point, the hunter is in the tree. He has his homemade primitive archery gear, he’s in the right spot, and he has the approval of his spouse to sit in a tree for three days. All hunters can appreciate that one. Now it is showtime.
In addition let’s pause for a moment to consider the skills the hunter has to have as well. Generally speaking the most popular hunting weapons are guns, followed by archery equipment. Within the archery community most people will use some type of modern compound bow with a smaller fraction using traditional gear. Within the small traditional camp most will use bows of modern design with carbon arrows. Even folks that make their own bows often use carbon arrows due to their durability, affordability, and shootability. Personally I shoot both a compound bow as well as a traditional bow. The one major difference I notice is the amount of practice a traditional bow takes even shooting with a modern bow and carbon arrows. Shawn Woods would have to pack an incredible skill into the woods with him in order to accurately shoot his primitive archery gear, off his hand if you didn’t notice.
When it’s all tallied up, hardcore traditional archers have acquired a vast knowledge of not only the wild lands around them, the plants and animals, but also knowledge of their equipment. It’s not something everyone can do, or wants to do, but it is inspiring to know that someone is doing it.
So with a tip of the hat to Shawn Woods and other hardcore traditionalists using primitive archery gear out there, I hope their passion for the outdoors, primitive skills, and hunting will spill over and encourage folks out there to pick up where they have left off and move along a train of knowledge that has gone unbroken for thousands of years.