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.

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.

Bowyer Lessons with Mike Meusel, Part Two

During yesterday's bow making session we finished the tips and began working on tillering the bow. We had to do the tips first so the bow could be fitted with a tillering string, which in this case is made from fast flight bowstring and knotted with a flemish twist on one end and a bowyer's knot (aka timber hitch) on the other end.

Bowyers Knot aka Timber Hitch

Unfortunately the photos below also have the back of my head in the way. Oh well. You can see glimpses of my rather robust winter beard.

At present the bow is currently pulling approx. 35 lbs at 14 inches or approx. 38 lbs at 15 inches. Our end goal is for it to be pulling 35 lbs at 28 inches (or 38 lbs at 29 inches).




The trick to tillering is to get both top and bottom ends of the bow to be bending evenly - both near the handle, near the middle of the limbs and at the midpoint near the tips - but with zero bend in the tips. (A "whippy tip" reduces the speed of the arrow, whereas a stiff tip makes arrows travel faster.)

Thus tillering is a slow gradual process. We start by tillering to 3 lbs over our desired draw weight at 10 inches, and work gradually on each stage on keeping the bow bending evenly on both sides and in all the locations where it should be bending (and bending the proper amount). Once this is done it is a matter of slowly removing layers of the belly wood (ignoring the tips) so that the length of the bow bends evenly, checking regularly to make sure there is no spots which are not bending evenly and fixing those spots.

In the above example the flatbow-longbow I am making will have a bendy handle - which means when drawn back the handle also bends a tiny bit. When shot a bendy handle will have more "hand shock", but the bow also save on size and weight - which makes it faster. So there is a trade-off for speed in exchange for reduced hand comfort. Depending on how much bend there is the handle there will be more/less hand shock for the user.

Want more? Subscribe to Project Gridless or bookmark Project Gridless for more bow making tips.

Is Hunting more Ethical than Livestock Farming?

I would argue YES and NO.

But let me explain.

I have many vegan and vegetarian friends. Friends who are aghast that I am pro-hunting. For them they have chosen a vegan lifestyle due to often religious reasons and/or health reasons. So to that group of friends, the concept of hunting is basically a sin. They cannot comprehend it and see it as murdering animals.

However I am an omnivore. I like eating meat. I also don't have any emotional hangups about it either. I am pro-hunter and pro-farmer. I grew up on a farm in a community that frequently saw the comings and goings of various hunting seasons. As such I am quite accustomed to such things. To me, hunting, fishing and farming are natural ways to get food. And anything that is natural cannot be wrong.

I also don't believe in any higher powers. We die and it is just oblivion. I am not going to be reincarnated and punished for my actions. Karma is nonsense and superstition. No god either. Just oblivion.

Therefore I see nothing wrong with wanting to hunt and taking personal responsibility for where my food is coming from. If I buy my meat from a grocery store then the responsibility is out of my hands, as I was not involved in the killing or butchering of the animal. That is effectively lazy and shows a lack of responsibility for understanding where your food is coming from.

If someone were to give me a lamb, a cute little cuddly lamb, I would be faced with two choices:

#1. Eat it now (or soon), because I have zero interest in keeping a lamb as a pet.

#2. Raise it to adulthood and then eat it. Option 2 requires more work to raise it, but I get more meat as a result.

Honestly, I am leaning towards option 1. Lamb is very tasty. True, mutton tastes good too - and you get more of it, but it is a bit of a coin toss. It would be like asking me to choose between 1 lb of bacon and 2 lbs of pork chops, but I have to feed the darn pig to get the pork chops. I think I would choose the bacon in that scenario because it A. Tastes better and B. Requires less work.

So that lamb is probably going to be slaughtered and eaten. Poor little lamb. Why did you have to be so tasty and convenient?

Option #3. Raising it to adulthood and breeding more lambs is always an option I suppose, and then eating the older sheep / new lambs... well that would certainly be lots more meat, but also way more work. Not my priority unless I decide to deliberately become a shepherd.

Which brings me to the topic of livestock farming for feeding yourself (as opposed to selling the meat for money). I don't see anything wrong or unethical with farmers raising their own livestock, slaughtering / butchering them and then eating them. Makes total sense. They are intimately involved with the whole process and are taking personal responsibility for their own food.

Lets say I was a deer hunter and one day decided I wanted to become a deer farmer. My goal therefore would be hunt for and tranquilize deer, transport the sleeping deer to a fenced in farm built just for deer, feed the deer, give the deer a barn to sleep in during the winter, pamper the deer so they get nice and big... and eventually slaughter / butcher / eat them for my personal consumption (or my family's consumption).

True it is much more work that hunting the deer, but I would get way more reward for my efforts. And I have zero problems with ethics of deer farming.

Conclusions?

Livestock farming is not unethical.

Hunting is not unethical.

Because both of them take personal responsibility into where they are getting their food. However people who are lazy, get their food from a grocery store all of the time and never learn where their food really comes from and the process it takes to get there, then they have ignored that responsibility.

So when then do PETA / animal rights activists / vegans / etc always claim that livestock farmers and hunters are unethical?

Well to them they see animals as pets / companions / friends as opposed to a possible source of food. In truth they are both. A horse is both a companion and a possible food source. It is a duality.

Most animals however are not particularly friendly to humans. For the most part humans avoid eating animals we consider to be friendly: Dogs, cats, horses for example are often kept as pets and humans rarely eat them (although this varies by culture).

Animal rights activists also make a big deal about the whole "cruelty to animals" issue, claiming that farmers torture their livestock and are deliberately mean to them... And the analogy I am going to use here is the concept that "egg farmers are satan worshippers who torture their chickens in satanic rituals to get them to lay more eggs"... which is of course utterly false.

And why is that? Because there is nothing to be gained from torturing chickens. Happy chickens (hens) lay eggs. Unhappy hens don't lay eggs. So egg farmers have a primary goal of keeping their chickens warm, well fed and happy, which means they lay more eggs. Those eggs are then collected, sold and eaten. A few of them are sent to a chicken hatchery to be incubated and made into more chickens, perpetuating the cycle.

Now ask yourself, where is the torture or animal cruelty in that cycle? There isn't any. The eggs are unfertilized and will never become chickens. The chickens are warm, well fed and happy, which means they are laying lots of eggs.

Some chickens are eventually so old they stop producing eggs, so they are butchered for their meat.

And the butchering process is quite humane, because fear (which triggers adrenaline and other hormonal chemicals) will make the meat taste bitter. Thus the chickens are killed quickly and humanely so that they taste better. There is nothing to be gained by torturing the chicken before killing it, because that would just make the meat taste bad.

The same goes with hunting. A good hunter never lets their prey experience fear. The bullet or arrow kills them so fast that the animal is dead before it hits the ground. That way the meat tastes better. It also means the hunter doesn't have to track the animal over (possibly) long distances to try and get a second shot at it.

So again I don't see a problem here with the ethics of either livestock farming or hunting.

But the vegans do. And that is really a matter of opinion, not a matter of ethics.

Vegans are taking personal responsibility for their food, some even insisting on having organic produce which has not been exposed (directly) to pesticides. The problem is that organic food is often indirectly exposed to pesticides anyway, from neighbouring farms. But regardless, that is up to them to take personal responsibility for their actions with respect to food.

Farmers and hunters are doing the same thing. Taking personal responsibility for their actions with respect to food.

So what about the lazy people who buy their food at grocery stores, thus providing a living for farmers? Are they completely irresponsible? No. Because most of them have probably either visited a farm or seen a video of what it is like inside a slaughterhouse. So they at least have an idea of what is going on in there and yet still choose to eat meat.

Why?

Could it be because it tastes good and that weighing the options of either:

A. Eating meat and being happy about it.

or

B. Not eating meat and being unhappy about it.

They somehow decided to choose A, because happiness was considered to be more valuable to their own personal ethics, which means it comes down to the issue of freedom of choice.

Vegans obviously are unhappy with the slaughtering of livestock / hunting of animals, and they have chosen to exercise their freedom of choice by not eating meat. Not eating meat makes them happy.

However for us omnivores, the vast majority of humanity, eating meat does make us happy, and we have a freedom of choice to do so.

On the contrary however someone who comes along and says "No, you're not allowed to eat meat." or "You have to eat meat." that person is now behaving in an unethical manner because they are trying to rob people of their freedom of choice.

People have freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of choice - and those freedoms apply to their food choices and their thoughts / beliefs about what foods they should eat.

For example I choose to eat bacon and lamb. They both taste great and I have zero ethical issues with where the meat is coming from. Pigs and baby sheep, huzzah, give me more of that.

But what I do have a problem with is people asking me to watch a slaughterhouse video because they are vegan and trying to convince me to become a vegan too. To which I respond:

Why are you trying to rob me of my freedom of choice by trying to force me to do something I don't want to do?

It is my life. Not yours. Let me take personal responsibility in exercising my freedom of choice with respect to what I choose to eat.

Good day to you!

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