Welcome to Project Gridless!

Hello! Project Gridless is dedicated to off the grid living, foraging / hunting for food, traditional survivor skills and modern tips for off the grid living. To join Project Gridless and become a contributor email cardiotrek at gmail dot com.
Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto by visiting CardioTrek.ca

Learn more about archery in Toronto by visiting the Toronto Public Archery Range Facebook page
or by joining the Canadian Toxophilite Society.

Luddites and NIMBYs

Luddites refers historically to a groups of Englishmen between 1811 - 1816 who destroyed machinery in cotton / wool mills in England because they feared they would lose their jobs due to increased industrialization and technology.

In the modern context Luddites are the type of people who hate new technology in general. You might be too young to remember this, but such people complained about electricity lines going up in their neighbourhoods because they thought too much electricity causes headaches and other health problems.

If this sounds familiar, it is because the same sort of Luddites now complain about wind turbines in their neighbourhoods - usually accompanied by the phrase "Not In My Backyard", hence the acronym NIMBY.

The Luddite objection to wind turbines and the long list of fake health problems is just one way Luddites hold back society from making a smoother transition to a better way of producing electricity.

Take for example the typical off-grid home in the far north. Assuming you do want electricity, what source of electricity do you think will be the most cost effective and affordable?
  • Solar Power
  • Wind Power
  • Hydro Power
  • Gas/Diesel Generator
If you answered wind power, you are on the right track. Wind power is the only true constant, regardless of what time of year it is and the time of day, there is also some wind. Plus we are fortunate to live in Canada, which is a surprisingly windy country. (So much so that other countries like Germany, where wind turbines are super popular, are actually jealous of how "wind rich" Canada is.)

Hydro power might seem like a good idea, but it implies you have to build a dam or water mill, which might be legally expensive or require you to purchase land that has a river, and has the added problem that the water might freeze over during the winter.

Solar power comes with several downsides. One, it only produces energy during the day and that energy needs to be stored in batteries. Two, solar panels need to be cleaned regularly in order to produce peak energy, which includes removing any snow during the winter.

A Gas/Diesel Generator ultimately ends up being expensive when you consider the cost of transporting all the fuel and the cost of the fuel itself. When compared to the long term cost savings of other options, having a generator may seem like the quick and easy way to provide electricity, but over the longer term it is ultimately the most expensive way to get electricity.

Plus there is the issue of conservation...

The notion of conserving energy is going to be used more often when you know you have a limited supply of energy. Knowing they have a diesel generator a typical person will lose track of how much energy they are using, end up running low on fuel, and then having to go buy more when they run out. This cycle of lack of foresight and lack of conservation will lead to a person going overboard on their budget for electricity.

When a person knows they are running on wind power + battery storage, they will focus on conserving energy and avoid wastefulness. If they know they need more electricity, then adding a 2nd or 3rd wind turbine would be possible to add the necessary extra electricity. Ultimately they will end up with more electricity than they can use and the battery storage will be topped up constantly. When that happens the user will then be able to afford being a little wasteful, with little worry of ever running low on electricity.

The Luddite Response

If you are reading this and still leaning towards a diesel or gas generator, well then you are a Luddite. The type of person who hates computers and cellphones, and other forms of technology. The type of person who was against electricity lines and microwaves back when they first became popular.

The type of person who is so mentally stuck in the mud they would never live off grid anyway, because that sounds like "too much work".

Taking the dogs bowhunting

I thought these photos of dogs with their masters out bowhunting were cute and amusing. That is all.





The photos reminded me of old paintings of hunting dogs with their masters...

Like this one below. In centuries past portraits like that were made and sent as gifts to potential grooms / brides. Basically an older version of personals websites. The goal was to try and portray a person's hobbies and personality within a painting, so that potential spouses would better understand who they might be marrying. The lady below evidently liked dogs and preferred to shoot bows. Men who preferred the company of cats and liked to shoot rifles or spearhunt, well, they need not apply.

Trump and Apocalypse Preppers

If you are worried about Crazy Donald Trump, I can name one more reason why you should worry about that nutjob.

In addition to being endorsed by the KKK, various right-wing Christian groups, and chosen as the nominee of the Republican party... Donald Trump is also being endorsed by American preppers.

Preppers, if you are not familiar with the term, are people who are preparing for a nuclear apocalypse. They buy prepper food, gadgets for the apocalypse,  backyard bunkers, guns, ammo, etc. However there is a distinction here. Preppers are not just preparing for a POSSIBLE nuclear apocalypse,  they actually WANT a nuclear apocalypse.

Preppers are hoping Donald Trump will nuke all the enemies of the USA, and that the USA gets nuked back. It is basically a giant mutual suicide pact on a worldwide scale.

Now while I admit I like the whole idea of survivalism, hunting, gardening, living off the grid, building your own home, using solar/wind power, etc - myself and other survivalists and off-gridders have no interest in seeing such a catastrophe. After all, the whole point of surviving is living and increasing our chances of survival. Any kind of end of days style events, nuclear or supervirus or whatever, decreases our chances of survival. Our best chance for survival is peaceful coexistence.

For off-gridders the whole point of living off the grid is to distance ourselves from the electrical grid. It doesn't mean we are in favour of a socioeconomic collapse of modern civilization. We still want modern society to keep on existing,  along with the electricity grid, cellphone towers, the internet, etc. Living off the grid is more of a lifestyle choice, choosing to live in the woods, make your own electricity,  grow/hunt/fish your own food, etc. It is about independence,  not isolation.

Preppers in the USA, on the other hand, are predominantly white people, Christians, and firm believers in the Book of Revelations (the chapter in the Bible about Doomsday). There is a distinct air of racism and religious bigotry about their beliefs, and they have embraced the idea of killing all their enemies with nuclear weapons and then bunkering down to wait out the results of a nuclear apocalypse.

I can tell you right now what the results would be of a nuclear apocalypse. Any country with an ego problem will destroy themselves. The USA included. All the preppers eating their prefabricated cans of prepper food will eventually starve to death because they don't know how to hunt or fish or grow food without using pesticides. And even if they do know how to hunt and fish, 99% of them will die from the following causes:

Radiation sickness.
Nuclear ash inhalation.
Disease, illness or injury.
Malnutrition.
Acute Dehydration.
Starvation.
Accidental (includes fire, falls, drowning, etc)
Violence.
Murder.
Suicide.
Etc.

The biggest killers of people won't be the nuclear bombs themselves. It will be the collapse of society, the lack of hospitals,  the lack of grocery stores with food, lack of sources of clean water that hasn't been contaminated by nuclear fallout, and so forth. Only the true survivalists, the people who were already living on the edges of civilization stand a real chance of surviving such horrific circumstances, as anyone even close to a fallout zone is basically doomed.

Now you might think "Oh, but who would Donald Trump end up using nukes on?" Well he has already made that clear.

Option 1. ISIL, which doesn't have nuclear weapons, but it will set a really bad standard if they are used.
Option 2. Iran, which has the capability to make their own nuclear weaponss, but also has the option to purchase from North Korea.
Option 3. North Korea, which is actively making long range nuclear missiles with the goal of making ones powerful enough to reach mainland USA. So far they can only reach Alaska and Hawaii.
Option 4. Russia / Vladimir Putin. America's old Cold War nemesis.
Option 5. China, to whom the USA owes trillions of dollars of national debt.
Option 6. Any country that could potentially buy nukes from North Korea.
Option 7. All of the above.

The words coming out of Donald Trump's mouth indicate that he wants to keep nuclear weapons on the table. But they also indicate that he is freaking crazy.

Trump was born and raised during the Cold War. He is a child of the age of nuclear proliferation. He lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis. Many past presidents also lived through these things, but they had more solid heads on their shoulders. Trump's lies, his delusions of grandeur, his lack of knowledge of American foreign policy,  all of that means nothing compared to his religious fervor and desire to "Make America Great Again".

Trump sees himself as the saviour of America. He has what some might call a Messiah Complex. But his ego is so fragile his normal routine when insulted is to sue people.

So what happens when he cannot sue Putin? Or China? Or Mexico?

What does a crazy religious nutjob do when he cannot sue someone, but he has access to nuclear weapons? Well it is pretty obvious. He decides to go out with a bang.

Tack on the rumour that Donald Trump had an heart attack awhile back, and you have an old nutjob who is already dying who wants to go out with a bang.

All he needs then is a second person to turn the key and enter their code to launch nukes. Enter Mike Pence. If you ever wanted a co-conspirator to help you kickstart a nuclear apocalypse,  Mike Pence is the guy to pick.

So yeah. To summarize Trump is scary. End of days scary.

Bear Hunting and Bearskin Cloaks

For years now I have been pootahing the idea of going bear hunting because I felt that bear hunting is mostly for people who are interested in trophy hunting, or people who enjoy the taste of bear meat.

While I do believe people should eat what they killed, the idea of bear hunting didn't really appeal to me.

Today I realized that bears also offer a 2nd valuable resource asides from their meat - their fur. Making a bearskin cloak is a relatively easy DIY project, and there are many different ways a person could decide to fashion their cloak.

And so to that end I have decided to add bears to my Hunting To Do List (which currently includes deer hunting, turkey hunting, rabbit hunting, and bowfishing). I will still eat the meat as part of the whole hunting experience, but the addition of its fur and making a bearskin cloak has a definite appeal to me.




Some people might choose to make a coat instead of a cloak. To each their own.


Also please note, things not to do, such as getting mauled by a bear.

At least he got the bearskin cloak afterwards.


Homemade Archery Targets

I am a big fan of DIY homemade archery targets, so when a guy and his son mentioned making archery targets out of old tires and foam, I asked if he had any photos of them.

Voila! Pretty awesome. I also like the moving target dangling from the rope.

Tires filled with Foam Archery Targets

Hay Bale Archery Targets

Carpet Archery Target
I have also seen people make DIY archery targets out of:
  • Sand.
  • Rope.
  • Cardboard.
  • 2L coke bottles filled with spray foam or sand.
  • Old clothing.
  • Condensed plastic.
  • Leaves from last autumn.
  • Old telephone books stacked together.
For more about archery targets, check out:

Robust Homemade Archery Target

Assorted Paper Archery Targets

How to Patch Up an Old 3D Target

Moving Rabbit Target (video, below)



12 Fascinating Facts about African Archery

Source: "African Archery" by David Tukura, The Traditional Bowyer's Bible (Volume Three).

In ancient times and even in modern Africa, archery held a special place as the deadliest of weapons and the best of hunting tools, and continues to hold a high reputation. Even today the bow is so feared it is sometimes used by security guards in some African cities - partly for its psychological threat, and partly because many parts of Africa are famous for the accuracy of its archers. That is just one of the fascinating facts about African Archery. Below are 12 more...

Fascinating Fact #1.

Ethiopian archers during ancient times used footbows that were 4 cubits long (7 feet long) and fired arrows the size of javelins.

Fascinating Fact #2.

African archers were so feared as archers that they were often hired as mercenaries in regions surrounding the Mediterranean. The Egyptian word for the empire of Nubia was "Ta-sti" which literally meant "the land of Bowmen".

Fascinating Fact #3.

Ethiopian archers fought during the Trojan War on the side of Troy and the Trojans reportedly were overjoyed when their new allies arrived to help repel the Greeks.

Fascinating Fact #4.

During the 7th century A.D. Arab invaders called their African enemies the "pupil smiters" because the African archers were so adept at shooting the Arabs in the eye pupil.

Fascinating Fact #5.

In 1925 Saxton Pope was visiting Africa when he was outdistanced by a Wakoma archer using a heavy arrow. He switched to a heavier yew bow and used a light-weight flight arrow, but only managed to beat the Wakoma archer by ten paces. Afterwards he called a halt to the contest, as the Wakoma archer would clearly beat him easily using a lighter arrow.

Saxton Pope in Africa on a lion hunt.

Fascinating Fact #6.

The Liangulu and Kamba tribes of Kenya routinely hunted for elephants using longbows with over 100 lbs of pull.

Fascinating Fact #7.

Wambua, a famed archer from the Kamba tribe of Kenya, once shot an arrow at a target 50 yards away and then turned away and started walking before the arrow even hit it. His arrow, which was headless, hit the exact centre of the target - a perfect bullseye.

Fascinating Fact #8.

The Bassa tribe of Nigeria were famed for both their archery skills and tactics, having mastered two unusual techniques: (1)The Back-fire technique, which consisted of feigning a retreat and then twisting around and shooting back at the charging enemy. (2) The Shooting the Skies technique, which consists of one volley aimed skyward so it falls vertically at the enemy, and a second volley aimed horizontally at the enemy. The enemy then has a choice, use their shields to protect from the first volley coming at their heads and shoulders, or use their shields to defend their chests, bellies and legs.

Fascinating Fact #9.

In 1804 the Muslim Fulani invaded Bassa territory under the guise of a jihad (holy war), but really they were just there for slave raiding and to try to seize territory. While the Fulani tactics of horses and firearms did initially have some success, the Bassa fought back with ambushes and invented "string silencers" for their bows so they would be quieter. The Fulani raids continued for decades, but over time it became pretty clear the Bassa were winning and Fulani gave up and stopped raiding.

One type of ambush the Bassa used was to warn a village of an approaching Fulani force and then deliberately open the village gates so the Fulani could just ride in. Bassa archers would then conceal themselves on rooftops and lay in wait. After the Fulani forces entered the village, they would close the village gates and the archers could begin shooting the trapped horsemen. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Fascinating Fact #10.

In 1914 the British were on the losing end of a Bassa rebellion and tried to exact "a fine of bows and arrows" on the Bassa for revolting. The Bassa paid the fine, but simply made more bows and more arrows. Trying to disarm them via a fine clearly did not work.

Fascinating Fact #11.

The Zongulo tribe of Zwere traditional gives male infants a miniature bow to symbolize their hunter heritage. By the age of 7 they start shooting alongside other boys their age, shooting at moving targets is the very first archery lesson - done by rolling a melon at "top speed" across the ground. From there they graduate to shooting birds and rodents. As they progress they begin shooting at larger and large game, like antelopes, eland, impala deer, and buffalo.

Other groups have similar traditions of introducing archery at a very young age.

Fascinating Fact #12.

Archers still hold an important place of cultural significance in Africa today. While some groups still hunt with the bow, more industrialized regions hold dear to their ancestral roots and archery is a big part of that - being a symbol of strength, courage, freedom, ingenuity, and cultural pride. Much of the cultural phenomenon of archery in Africa is tied to the masculinity of men. Hence the saying:

"Without a bow you are not a man."

The idea of women archers is still a relatively new concept in Africa, a traditionally male dominated society. Many tribes believed that even letting a woman touch a bow or arrows would forever curse the items. That idea is slowly changing as more and more women in Africa are taking up the ancestral activity, breaking with traditions.


So Why the Interest in African Archery?

Anyone interested in bowhunting and/or survivalism should take note of African archery. Think of all the things I have mentioned above thus far:
  • Footbows for warfare.
  • Reputations for great accuracy that drives fear into their enemies.
  • Able to shoot great distances.
  • Able to shoot heavier bows for larger game, on par with the English yew longbow.
  • Amazing accuracy and confidence even at long distances.
  • A variety of techniques useful for warfare.
  • String silencers or dampeners.
  • Learning to shoot and to hunt from an early age.
  • Archers commanded respect.
Clearly such skills would be handy, as would the ability to cause your enemies to fear and respect the accuracy of your archers.

Imagine for a moment a confrontation between two rival groups. The leader of one group starts waving a gun around and making demands. Tension is high. Ka-thunk. The leader goes down with an arrow between their eyes. The archer is no where to be seen.

What should the one group do? Keep making demands? They are currently leaderless and there is an enemy sniper who is basically invisible. If a lieutenant stepped forward to continue making demands, what is to stop the sniper from taking out the new leader? Complete retreat or retreat to a more defensible position are the only logical solutions.

For hunting purposes, archery has been used for hunting for over 50,000 years. Firearms have really only become popular during the last 500 years. It would take another 49,500 years to even compare to the sheer number of animals killed by bowhunters over a period of 50 millennia.

And African archers are still bowhunting today, using traditional materials, ancient stalking techniques passed down through generations, and with a level of accuracy other cultures are often ignorant about. Clearly African archery is something worth studying for both bowhunting skills and for survival skills.


A Brief History of the Gatling Gun

In 1861, Doctor Richard Gatling patented the Gatling Gun, a devout pacifist, invented a six-barreled weapon capable of firing a (at the time) phenomenal 200 rounds per minute. When Gatling created his gun during the American Civil War, he sincerely believed that his invention would end war by making it unthinkable to use due to the horrific carnage and loss of life that would be possible.

Unfortunately that never happened, because within a few short years enemies were making their own Gatling Guns. At the least, the Gatling Gun’s power reduced the number of soldiers required to remain on the battlefield - and it increased the need to use cover. (Setting the tone for WWI when trench warfare became a must for maximizing cover.)

The Gatling gun was a hand-driven, crank-operated, multi-barrel, machine gun. The first machine gun with reliable loading, the Gatling gun had the ability to fire sustained multiple bursts.

The 1862 version of the Gatling gun had reloadable steel chambers and used percussion caps to ignite the gunpowder. It was prone to occasional jamming. In 1867, Gatling redesigned the Gatling gun again to use metallic cartridges – this version was bought and used by the United States Army.

Learn more about the history and evolution of firearms at:
theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/12/the-history-and-evolution-of-guns-as-told-through-pictures/


It's not about the bow, with Cameron Hayes

I particularly enjoyed watching the video further below which includes a few bowhunting / archery tips.

Cameron Hayes also has other archery tips, geared towards bowhunters who prefer to hunt with compound bows, available on his YouTube channel.

For compound bow archery lessons in Toronto visit CardioTrek.ca to book lessons. Compound bow not included, you will need to get your own, because the bow needs to be set to your draw length and preferred draw weight.

In the video he really emphasizes it isn't really the issue of what kind of bow you use, rather it is more important that:

  • You are happy with the equipment you are using.
  • He does recommend a longer axle to axle bow because they are more forgiving in terms of accuracy.
  • He also recommends using a bow string that does not stretch (or barely stretches, because technically all strings stretch a little).
  • That you practice regularly at double the distance you plan to hunt at. eg. 60 yards if you plan to be hunting at 30 yards or less.
  • That you practice regularly, in general - even if it is only one round per day sometimes, it matters more than you are still practicing out of habit.
  • He favours a heavier poundage than necessary because his goal is to have the arrow go right through the animal.
  • The archer should be able to pull their bow back straight - without using a upward or downward shoulder angle to pull the bow back to full draw. (Using a weird angle on the shoulder is bad for your shoulder.)
  • Practice often to shore up your confidence that when you do get an animal in your sights, you "know" it is going to die.


The Survivor Bow during a Nuclear Apocalypse

For fun I decided to Google the words:

archery nuclear apocalypse usefulness

And then I clicked image search. At the time I did this I got a number of different results, several of the images that popped up which were my own website - Project Gridless, proving that I have talked previously on this topic. Some of them were even photos of myself doing winter archery practice.

One of the other things that popped up frequently in the Google image search was the survivor bow made by SAS. Also known as:

The SAS Tactical Survivor Bow.

Unfortunately I have also shot the SAS Tactical Survivor Bow before, and I can tell you that it is a cheap piece of crap as far bows go. Yes, it is a handy little folding bow that is fun to shoot for practice - but I would not use it for hunting and I certainly would not use it during a survival situation. But the arrow rest on it is horribly designed and hurts its accuracy, the release is sluggish which hurts arrow speed (the company claims to get high arrow speeds on their website, but having shot their bows multiple times I would say that their claims are made up nonsense) and accuracy, and the ultimate result is a bow that is really only accurate at 15 yards or less.





Note - The 5th photo shown here is not the SAS Tactical Survivor Bow. It is the Primal Gear Compact Folding Bow, which suffers from many of the same design problems as the SAS. Having shot both bows, I can tell you they are both cheap and suffer a loss of accuracy due to poor design. I wouldn't recommend either of them as a survivor bow.


The next problem is the arrows.

The arrows that come with the SAS Tactical Survivor Bow are 2 piece arrows that screw together in the middle. This effects the spine of the arrows (the flexibility of the arrow) and also the FOC point of the arrow (effectively the centre of gravity of the arrow). Taken together these two factors makes the arrows less accurate.



The bow and kit sells for $199.95 currently, so it is cheap, so it is to be expected that the results should be similarly dismal, as cheap things are often dismally bad. Basically the bow is designed to be compact, but in doing so it has sacrificed accuracy with the horrid arrow rest, the sluggish limbs, the badly spined arrows, and FOC is off. That combination makes it extremely tricky to achieve any kind of long range accuracy with this bow. At 15 yards or less, it is accurate enough, but at 20 yards or more you would be better off using a different bow.

The SAS Tactical Survivor Bow does make a decent and solid beat stick however, so when in doubt just beat your enemies with it.

The SAS bow thus would be handy for shooting ducks, rabbits and small game if you can get close to them - but horrible at hunting any larger game where you have difficulty getting within 15 yards of the critter.

Another thing that comes up frequently is:

Compound Bows

Both in the traditional compound bow variety and also the Oneida hybrid compound recurves, like the two images below:

Hoyt Compound Bow

Oneida Hybrid Compound
Unfortunately there is a problem. Compound bows are very accurate, but they are also notoriously easy to break. Dry firing the bow, dropping it off a short cliff or out of tree, hitting a zombie/mutant/crazy person with it like a club, etc - anything like that will quickly damage the fragile cams (pulleys) on the compound bow and render it useless and make it very difficult to fix it.





Whereas the SAS Tactical Survivor Bow was very durable and not very accurate, the average compound bow is the opposite - accurate and easy to break. Don't believe me? Dry fire your compound bow a few times and see how easily it breaks.

The prices for compound bows are also quite expensive. A decent one costs between $300 to $600. A really nice one between $700 to $2500. They are all quite easy to break however and you will note that the warranties on compound bows only cover normal wear and tear, they do not cover things like being dropped from a tree and landing on a rock or being dry fired.

During a short term survival situation the compound bow will likely serve you quite well, providing accuracy as long as it not put through any durability tests. During the long term however a compound bow's durability is going to be tested again and again, and it eventually fails the test - often failing on the first whoops. Because stuff is bound to happen during a nuclear apocalypse or any other kind of apocalypse, that lack of durability is going to really matter.

During a short term survival situation the average compound bow thus beats out the SAS Tactical Survivor Bow, but during a long term survival situation the SAS bow wins because of its durability - but at the expense of long distance accuracy.

So if the SAS Survivor Bow and the average compound bow both come up short due to lack of accuracy or lack of durability, is there another kind of bow that is both accurate and durable?

Yes, yes there is.

The Traditional Recurve or Traditional Longbow

Not all bows are made the same, but some are definitely more durable and accurate than others. I will cite some examples.

eg. Any recurve or longbow made by Bear Archery, known for making their high quality bows which are exceptionally durable. Drop it, get it wet, leave it in a closet for 20 years and forget to unstring it, Bear Archery's products are notoriously durable and keep their accuracy.

There are similar manufacturers to Bear, like Browning or Ben Pearson or Blackhawk - many of them being companies that dated back to the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and continue to make bows today. Antiques of such bows are part of the collections of archery enthusiasts and still shoot as good today as the day they were purchased.

Left to Right:
1942 Ben Pearson Lemonwood Longbow, 20 lbs;
1965 Ben Pearson Collegian, 35 lbs;
2011 Bear Grizzly, 45 lbs;
1975 Browning Wasp, 50 lbs;
1967 Ben Pearson Cougar, 35 lbs;
1972 Blackhawk Avenger, 40 lbs.
For example, I have a 50 lb Browning Wasp from 1975. It is 41 years old but still shoots amazingly well and looks like it is practically brand new. I bought it on Amazon.ca for $100 CDN. It is very durable and has a thick lacquer on the wood to prevent water damage. If faced with a bear or similar large game, the 50 lb Browning Wasp would do the trick. It would be overkill on small game, but would still get the job done.

I also have a 45 lb Bear Grizzly I purchased a few years ago, basically brand new - made of "DiamondWood", which is basically a wood polymer that is immune to water damage. Variations of the Bear Grizzly have been made over the decades with different types of wood or wood polymer (the newest is called "FutureWood"), but the basic design has remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s. My 45 lb Bear Grizzly is perfect for shooting deer or smaller game. On larger game I better have good aim or else I might have to shoot it twice.

Between those two bows, I would have no problem shooting large or small game, rain or shine

Basically what it comes down to is that any of these traditional style recurves will serve you well both in terms of durability and accuracy. Their own downside is that you need to practice with them and learn how to do archery properly. That means that if you haven't figured out how to do archery yet, then you should probably sign up for archery lessons.

You can get a relatively cheap traditional recurve for $150 by purchasing a Samick Sage. I recommend getting 25 lb limbs to practice with and 45 or 50 lb limbs for hunting with. 35 lb limbs would also be good for hunting small game or bowfishing. Because it is three piece takedown it is easy to store and pack away. It is a way more accurate bow than the SAS Tactical Survivor Bow, not quite as durable but reasonably durable. If you want more durability then get a Bear Grizzly or a Bear Takedown.

Samick Sage
With Traditional Longbows (or Flatbows or Pyramid Bows) there is an added issue. Because the bows themselves are all wood or mostly wood, then you need to be oiling the bow regularly to prevent water damage. Traditionally people used animal grease, such as deer grease, bacon grease from wild hogs, but it is also possible to use other kinds of oils such as: Mineral oil, tung oil, linseed oil, etc. Note that not all longbows need such maintenance. eg. See the Bear Montana mentioned further below.

Longbows are, for the most part, pretty durable. You can drop them and under most situations they won't break. Run them over with a truck however, and they might survive or they might not. Deliberately try to snap it in two, well, that is your own fault. They're not indestructible.

It is also possible to get Two Piece Longbows, which come apart in the middle and that makes them easier to transport. They typically cost about $50 to $100 more than a normal longbow, but if you want something that is easier to transport that is certainly an option.



Longbows are harder to learn how to shoot properly compared to recurves, so I definitely recommend archery lessons if you want to learn how to shoot longbows.

If you are not sure what longbow to purchase, I recommend the Bear Montana. I have shot that model several times in the past and know multiple people who own that model of longbow and all love it. The other advantage is that because it is made by Bear, the wood will be either DiamondWood or FutureWood, which means you don't need to oil it like you would a normal wood bow.

Below is a photo of a man posing with his Bear Montana and the deer he took with it.


But wait! What about other kinds of bows? Like crossbows or horsebows (aka shortbows) ???

Crossbows are awesome. I love crossbows.

However I should note that compound crossbows (just like compound bows) break easily. Get a recurve crossbow like an Excalibur if you want a crossbow that is nice and durable. Super accurate, durable and easy to restring. In contrast if you damage the cams on a compound crossbow, it is basically garbage (hypothetically you could retrofit it to make it into a normal or recurve crossbow, but otherwise it is garbage). Also if the string ever breaks on a compound crossbow, good luck restringing it without a bow press.

Excalibur Axiom SMF Crossbow
 And as for horsebows/shortbows, well, there is a problem. Horsebows are great for shooting at enemies at close range, or shooting volleys at enemies who are either short or medium range. They are not fantastic for hunting as they are not well known for accuracy beyond 20 yards. Yes, you could still hypothetically hunt with a horsebow - but that style of bow is really designed for shooting from horseback at a target which is close range.

eg. Shooting at buffalo or bison while on horseback. Sure, that makes sense.

Trying to get near a deer and shoot it with a semblance of accuracy - ideally you want to be 20 yards or less. At 30 yards you will be pushing your limits of accuracy with a shortbow.

Now don't get me wrong. I also love horsebows. I would also love to own a horse and practice equestrian archery. It is just a situation that the design of horsebows are such that they come with a loss of long range accuracy.

Bear Archery does make smaller recurves like the Bear Kodiak Magnum, which are smaller and easy to move around with when surrounded by branches and twigs - but they come with a loss of accuracy at longer distances. My 1972 Blackhawk Avenger falls into the same shape and design - a shorter recurve that is easier to get around branches with, and it would be okay for shooting at a deer - but I would still try to stick with 20 yards or less with it. 30 yards would be pushing it. Ideally I would probably use that bow for shooting ducks or small game, and use the Bear Grizzly or Browning Wasp for larger game.

1972 Blackhawk Avenger, 40 lbs.

What about Firearms???!!!

Honestly, the whole problem with firearms is the issue of ammunition. Bullet casings you could reuse in theory and if you knew how to manufacture your own bullets, you would be okay. But the vast majority of people don't know how to manufacture their own bullets. In any long term survival situation, you will eventually run out of bullets.

Arrows on the other hand are reusable. And relatively easy to make your own arrows and arrowheads. You could even make your own longbows if you needed to. Archery, spears and swords would then become the norm until society figures out how to get itself back to normal and manufacture bullets.

For hunting purposes archery is also relatively quiet, whereas a bad shot with a rifle will scare all the other game away. A bad shot with a bow and you simply spooked one animal, you then retrieve your arrow and try again.

The usefulness of archery in combat situations with other humans also means you could hypothetically take out enemies quietly. Be too noisy and the enemy will hunker down and fortify themselves, thus ruining any element of surprise. That is a situation where you be better off throwing Molotov cocktails in there and smoke your enemies out.

What Benefits Does Archery Have Over Firearms???

#1. A Takedown Recurve Bow or Longbow is relatively light weight and easy to travel with.

#2. Affordable. Archery is cheaper than firearms.

#3. Versatile for both warfare and hunting.

#4. Less government red tape. You don't need a gun license to buy archery equipment.

#5. Relatively silent and deadly.

#6. Arrows are reusable and easier to manufacture.

#7. Less likely that people will try to steal your bow. A rifle however, that could easily be stolen by less than trustworthy traveling companions.

#8. Simple design, simple materials. Easier to repair too.

#9. Anyone who is a good shot with a bow commands respect amongst other survivalists. Garnering respect means you are of value as a hunter and as a warrior, whereas other people would be expendable.

#10. Knowing how to shoot a bow is a lifelong skill, even if no apocalypse ever happens. Although with Donald Trump running for president, anything could happen.

Donald Trump Archery Target
#11. Archery can be used to signal allies using whistling arrows or a burning arrow.

#12. Archery can be used for setting fire to enemy fortifications.

#13. Less likely your kids will shoot themselves or neighbours, compared to firearms.

#14. Learning bushcraft skills is handy for many survival situations, and you are more likely to learn those skills using archery than you are if you take the lazy route and focus on firearms.

#15. A bow never jams up on you. But a jammed firearm will be the death of you if it jams at the wrong time. A firearm can also misfire and hurt the user.

#16. Less damage to surrounding objects or to the animal. Ever shot a squirrel with a shotgun? Not much is left. But with an arrow there is plenty left to eat. Archery keeps collateral damage to a minimum.

#17. No gun control limits. You can own as many bows and arrows as you want. No government rules on making your own arrows or bows either.

#18. The typical archer over time develops a collection of bows, which means that in a situation wherein they meet other like-minded people they can loan out their bows and teach other people how to shoot - thus increasing the survival chances of your entire group so that they can all become hunters. Some of them might be limited to hunting smaller game, but having a variety of hunters who can hunt both large and small game allows a hunting group to increase their survival chances.

#19. An archer can always switch to shooting a firearm in a situation that demands it, but a person who only knows how to shoot a rifle will be confused as to what to do if they are asked to shoot a bow. Knowing how to hold a steady shot with a bow is a skill that comes in handy when shooting a rifle, but the skill doesn't translate as easily for someone who has never shot a bow before and doesn't know how to aim or proper archery form.

#20. Archery is the ultimate survival skill. For centuries the archer was the most feared combatant in warfare, and the most skilled hunter. Gunpowder may have given the average person with no skills an upper hand, but people with guns tend to be trigger happy and waste their bullets needlessly. An archer goes for one shot, one kill. Their goal is to make every arrow count.

Learn how to be really good with a bow, and every arrow should hit the target within a doughnut sized area. Roughly the size of the human heart. Get really good at archery and you can shoot even tiny moving targets at 20 yards.

Ontario Bowfishing Season, May 1st to July 31st

Bowfishing season in Ontario started a few days ago and in preparation I have been practicing with my bowfishing kit recently.

And for fun I also found some interesting Bowfishing DIY kits that other people have made or retrofitted.

Like the example shown here on the right, wherein the broke the container for the line and replaced it with a can instead. Which I found to be amusing.

Bowfishing Season in Ontario is from May 1st to July 31st - but you can only bowfish for carp, which means you need to be looking for carp in the shallows since this is their spawning season. Make sure your fishing license is up to date and you read up on the laws and by-laws surrounding bowfishing in your region of Ontario.

 Carp are quite large and somewhat resemble catfish, but without the giant whiskers.


Now if you have never done bowfishing before, there is a trick to it. The light refraction of the water makes the fish look like it is closer to the surface than it really is - which means you need to aim about a foot or maybe 1.5 feet lower than you normally would.


Below is more examples of Bowfishing DIY ideas, for both reels and how to make your own bowfishing arrows.







And if you want to go really old school, skip the reel and just use a really long and heavy arrow.


If you are looking for archery lessons in Toronto I recommend visiting CardioTrek.ca.

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