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An Archer's Guide to Stump Shooting

Okay, so since some people don't know what a stump is, lets first define that.

A Stump is the rotting trunk of a dead tree. A stump is typically so rotten it is falling apart.

Stump Shooting therefore is the act of shooting at rotting tree stumps. Ideally the stump should be falling apart so that you can pull your arrow out easily. (Shooting at a normal tree or trunk is a great way to either break your arrow or spend half an hour trying to cut your arrow out.)
Stump Shooting is excellent practice for hunting in a woodland area. You shoot at the stumps from a variety of angles, distances, and even elevations.

Below are a few photos illustrating what Stump Shooting involves.

Stump Shooting Tips
  1. Check to make sure what you are shooting at is indeed a stump. It would suck if it was a normal tree trunk.
  2. If you are new to archery, perhaps stick to shorter distances for now.
  3. If you are new to archery, perhaps use large colourful fletched arrows (aka Flu Flu Fletch) so you can find your arrows easily.
  4. Don't use any fancy broadheads. Field points are better / less likely to break. Why use your good broadheads on a tree stump??? That is just a good way to dull the blade or risk breaking it if you miss the stump and hit a rock by accident.
  5. Don't shoot near rocks if possible.
  6. When in doubt, aim lower.
  7. Aim small, miss small.
  8. Practice, practice, practice.
  9. Don't goof off or try to show off.
  10. Bring mosquito repellent. Little vampires will kill ye...
  11. Difficulty finding stumps? Find a forest that is a little marshy. Stumps rot faster if they are wet regularly.
  12. Don't use the same stump all the time. Instead, make a trail that goes to different stumps so you can walk around from stump to stump like it is a golf course.
So what is the Big Deal about Stump Shooting?

Well it is popular for many reasons.
  1. It is fun.
  2. It is challenging.
  3. It is great practice.
  4. You can bring friends.
  5. You can turn it into a contest.
  6. You don't need to buy a portable target.
  7. You get to enjoy shooting in natural surroundings.
  8. You can really challenge yourself with some interesting shots.

Ben Pearson Cougar #706 for Sale, in Toronto

For Sale

Ben Pearson Cougar #706, circa 1967-68. 35 lbs.

(In January 1969 Ben Pearson switched to a 4 digit model system and the 706 model became 7060, hence how we know this bow is from either 1967 or 68.)

Still shoots straight despite being roughly 50 years old.

A beautiful bow, good vintage bow for a collector.

Price: $140 CDN.

Email cardiotrek{atsymbol}gmail.com for more details.

Pick up in Leaside, Toronto.

Why am I selling? My wife says I have too many bows. I currently have 34. I need to sell 6 bows. The Ben Pearson Cougar is near identical to one of my other bows, the Ben Pearson Collegian. Plus I recently purchased a Ben Pearson Renegade... so yeah. Time to sell the Cougar since it is too similar to the Collegian.

How to Adjust the Draw Length on a Vintage Compound Bow

By Charles Moffat - September 2017.

Vintage Cams Vs Modern Cams

Since the compound bow was invented/patented in 1966, the term "vintage compound bow" loosely describes any compound bow that is not a "modern compound bow". However the line between Vintage and Modern is a bit vague and always moving, as time keeps hurtling forwards the definition of what is considered Vintage and what is considered Modern also keeps changing. For the time being however let us consider any bow built between 1970 and 1995 and any bow that uses older cam designs to be Vintage (this means it could be a more recently built bow that uses an older cam design), and any bow built during the last "while" with irregular designed cams that use pins to be Modern.

Below is an example of a Modern irregular cam design. It uses holes with locking bolts to adjust draw length. By irregular what we mean is that the cam is not round, but often is more oval, egg shaped, or sometimes might even look like the Millennium Falcon (like the one below).

Below is another example of a Modern cam which uses locking bolts. To adjust the draw length you lower the poundage of the bow first, then remove the bolt, move it over to desired hole (which is when a manual becomes handy), screw the bolt back in - and then raise the poundage back up to the desired amount. (Changing the bolt's location typically also effects the poundage, so it is best to set the draw length FIRST, then adjust the poundage.)

In this third example you will see bolt holes for both adjusting the draw length and also the draw weight. Definitely one where you would want the owners manual.

Modern cams in all sorts of weird shapes and sizes. Hence why they are so irregular.

In the event that lost your owner's manual and cannot find a copy of it online, here is a rough guide to adjusting it:

  1. Lower the poundage first to the lowest possible setting. This will make it easier to work with.
  2. If it is impossible to lower the poundage on your particular model, then you might need a bow press or to lock the cams in position so that you can relax the tension on the cables.
  3. Mark several chalk lines or marker lines on your cables to keep track of their original positions.
  4. When adjusting the bolts keep track of where the cables are being re-positioned to and whether the lines are getting closer to or further away from the cams.
  5. Test to see if the draw length is now the desired amount. This may require some Trial and Error because you are essentially guessing how much you think you need to adjust it to the desired amount.
  6. Raise the poundage back to its desired amount. Test again to make certain your draw length and draw weight are the desired amount. If not, repeat steps 1 to 6.

Vintage Cam Designs

There is not a lot of variety when it comes to vintage compound bow cam design. Most of them will look almost exactly the same, and within their simplicity lies a simple logic: Less equals More.

A shorter draw length equals more cable on the cam.
Simpler cam design equals more ability to adjust it yourself.
Less gadgetry equals more robust quality.

That last one is basically a reference to the concept that the more complicated you make something, the more easily you can break it. eg. Imagine if you lost the locking bolt for a modern cam. The entire bow could be rendered useless because you are missing that one little part. Furthermore, modern cams are typically made of lightweight alloys - which are more susceptible to damage due to falls, becoming bent, breaking, etc.

A so-called Vintage cam design however is more round and looks like the one shown on the right here, which unfortunately is not adjustable. This sadly is the case with some older compound bows, they have zero draw length adjustability.

Before proceeding to the steps below you first need to:
  1. Lower the poundage.
  2. Lock the cams or place in a bow press.
  3. Your end goal is to provide more slack to the cables so that you can more easily adjust its position.
 So there are basically only two types of Vintage cams.
  1. Those with Adjustable Draw Length.
  2. Those that cannot be adjusted at all.

Of the former, the most common design is for there to be 3 different draw length settings.

  • High - For shorter draw length.
  • Medium - For a regular draw length.
  • Low - For a longer draw length.
To adjust from one to the next you simply move the cable from one "canal" to the next "canal". If your adjustment leaves more cable on the cam, you have shortened the draw length. If your adjustment places less cable on the cam, you now have more draw length.

Less Cable equals More Draw Length
More Cable equals Less Draw Length

The three images below show what happens when you move the cable from one canal to the next.

Shorter Draw Length

Medium / Regular Draw Length

Longer Draw Length

Then just replace the cable on the cams in the correct position, reattach the bowstring to the cable Teardrops, readjust the draw weight/poundage back to its original desired point, and finally either unlock the cams or remove from the bow press (whichever method you used). Then test to make sure the draw length and draw weight is at the desired point. If you made a mistake you may need to go back and repeat the whole process.


This process is actually fairly simple. So easy that if necessary you could adjust the bow in the field with almost no tools (eg. possibly just some Allen keys).

If you have questions about adjusting an unusual style of cam (whether vintage or modern), send me an email via cardiotrek{atsymbol}gmail.com and I will be happy to write another blog post on the topic of adjusting your unusual style of cam. Please include photos of the cam so I can see how it is designed.

If it is just a simple question, leave a comment below.

Foraging for Food - Part Five, Foraging in the Winter

How to Forage for Food during the Winter, An Introduction

See Also

Foraging for Food - Part One, An Introduction to Foraging

Foraging for Food - Part Two, More Foraging Tips and Techniques

Foraging for Food - Part Three, An Introduction to Medicinal Plants

Foraging for Food - Part Four, A Cup of Tea

September 23rd 2017.

So "Winter is coming." With Autumn officially started and leaves falling, I thought it was a good time to revisit the topic on Foraging for Food and deal with the issue of how to forage for food during the winter.

First off, hopefully you began storing up food already, and continue to do so. Whether you gained that food via gardening, hunting, fishing, or foraging.

So lets go down the list of foods that you might be able to forage during the winter.

#1. Rosehips

This assumes you even have wild roses growing nearby.

Not only do rose hips provide a pop of color in the winter landscape, they’re also full of sweet pulp that can be eaten raw or boiled down for syrup, jam or tea. During World War II, British citizens were encouraged to gather rose hips to make vitamin C syrup for children. Rose hips have an herbal flavor that’s suggestive of roses without tasting floral. Just boil 12-15 of them for 3-5 minutes, smash them open with a spoon and let them steep for 20 minutes. Strain and serve.

#2. Watercress

While you might normally ignore this plant that grows on the edges of rivers or lakes, during the winter this is a possible source of food.

More flavorful than supermarket watercress, wild watercress actually tastes sweeter in winter. Even during the snowiest days of winter, watercress can be found growing in tight, bright green bunches near water. This delicate vegetable is very tasty raw, whether added to salads or used as a garnish on sandwiches.

Please consume it quickly after picking it, and always be sure to only pick it from bodies of water that aren’t compromised by pollution, including agricultural runoff.

#3. Cattail Stalks

No, not the tails of real cats. Cattails is a plant that usually grows in swampy areas. Also you are not looking to eat the the cat-like tail flower anyway, what you really want is the stalk.

The rhizomes and lower stalks are really the only part you want to eat. Cattail rhizomes are starchy and sweet, with a very mild flavor and scent, and they’re packed with vitamin C, potassium and phosphorous.

#4. Wild Onions and Garlic

Wild onions are hard to spot if you don't know what you are looking for. Practice finding them during other times of the year and it will be easier to do so during the winter.

Wild garlic and wild onions can both be found poking up out of the grass year-round, especially in more temperate regions like the Mid-Atlantic states. When you harvest either of these plants, you’ll be able to identify them by smelling the root.

The poisonous lookalike, daffodil, won’t have an onion or garlic smell – double check using photo identification.

#5. Burdocks Roots

While it is also possible to use burdock to make tea, what you are actually after here is the roots.

Known as wild rhubarb, burdock has large, woolly, heart-shaped leaves and reddish stems. The roots can get a little bit woody in winter, but a little extra boiling will make them tender and soft. They roots tasted like a cross between parsnips and carrots.

Add some fried clams and you have got yourself a tasty meal.

#6. Clams

Look in freshwater streams for these little beauties, packed with protein.

North America has approximately 300 species of freshwater clams, and finding them is as easy as running your gloved hand over the bottom of a creek or river bed. It’s of paramount importance that you research the types of mussels that grow in your area, because many species of clams are endangered and federally protected.

Try to only harvest mussels from pristine waters, and boil them thoroughly to kill parasites.

If you can afford to be choosy, the smaller and younger clams are more tender and tasty.

#7. Chickweed

A weed that can be found virtually all over North America.

Chickweed sticks around throughout the entirety of winter, even in cold climates. It has a tender, mild flavor with just a little bit of tartness, and it’s delicious even when raw. With its little star-like white flowers, it’s also easy to identify. Look for it in open, sunny areas, lawns or in your own garden beds, where it’s often ripped out without thought for its nutritional value.

#8. Acorn Flour

Much better to gather these during the Autumn, but it is still possible to find them during the winter.

The interior of acorns are white and sweet and look a bit like coconut.

Acorns have sometimes been called ‘the ultimate survivor food’, packed with fats and nutrition. Along with black walnuts, butternut walnuts, pecans, hickories, beechnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts, acorns can be gathered from the ground. They must be soaked in warm water to remove irritating, bitter tannic acids, and then they can be ground into flour - which in turn can be used to make bread, pancakes, etc.

#9. Dandelion Roots

Bright yellow dandelions are easy to spot in warm weather, but we are not looking for the flowers. We are looking for the roots.

Their roots are still underground, and though they’re best harvested in the fall, they can still be found during the winter. In warmer areas, you can still find their leaves, as well, though they might be rather tough. The roots are bitter, and make a good substitute for coffee.

#10. Pine Needles

Not really that good for eating, but if you are sick pine needle tea is handy.

The tea extracted from pine needles is very high in vitamin C, making it a great remedy for the common cold. It also contains vitamin A and beta-carotene. While most varieties of pine are safe, always make absolutely sure that you don’t harvest the needles from yew, Norfolk Island Pine or Ponderosa Pine, all of which are poisonous.

Special Note

I might do more posts in the future on the topic of foraging for food during the winter. This is actually a fairly short list of what is available out there.

Want to learn more? Subscribe to Project Gridless to get updates.

Happy Foraging!

Whistling Arrows - What is the point?

In the video above, available on Project Gridless on YouTube, myself and a random stranger demonstrate shooting whistling arrows - for fun.

Historically (or Traditionally, whatever) whistling arrows were used primarily to signal allies, which did serve a purpose at the time. The Mongolians and Tibetans also used "howling arrows" during wars in order to scare their enemies. Several thousand howling arrows coming towards their enemies would scare the bejeezus out of their foes and send them scurrying. Seeing comrades shot down by such arrows and then hearing one coming closer to themselves was a nerve wracking experience for the soldiers fighting against the Mongolians/Tibetans, and such soldiers would often suffer PTSD symptoms after fleeing the combat because of the fear the arrows had instilled in their damaged psyche.

Many other cultures used similar arrowheads too. Below for example is a Japanese Whistling Arrowhead.

Modern Whistling Arrowheads are pretty simple.

They are not even sharp, typically. Just a piece of hollow metal with two holes in the tip.

So what would you use them for?

Honestly, entertainment.

They are fun to shoot. That is it. They have no actual practical use these days. I suppose you could use them to scare off predators from your cabin, or even scare off trespassers, but that is it.

But if your primary goal was to scare off predators / trespassers, just get a big dog for your Off Grid home. And then put up signs that say BEWARE OF DOG.

Most trespassers would rather not get bitten and would avoid any area with signs that say BEWARE OF DOG (TRESPASSERS WILL BE MAULED).

Or just skip the dog and get the sign. Works too.

Either way, have fun shooting your whistling arrows. :)

Two compound bows for sale in Toronto

September 15th 2017.

Hello Toronto and people in the GTA!

So I have two compound bows currently for sale:

$80 - Daco Regency, circa 1988 (stabilizers not included)

$80 - PSE USA Spirit, circa 1992 - SOLD!

I already have two possible buyers for both bows, but for the sake of redundancy I felt I would advertise them on here too. Plus you know, extra content for the website.

I gained the above two bows because I was looking for old compound bows I could use for parts to repair other compound bows, but these two bows are in good working condition - so why not just sell them as is?

I also have 5 other bows that for sale, but I need to take photos of all them first before I start advertising that they are for sale.

If you live in Toronto and are interested in the above bows or any other bows I currently have for sale you can contact me by emailing cardiotrek{atsymbol}gmail.com.

September 22nd Update

So I sold the PSE USA Spirit a few days ago. So I am adding new photos of the Daco Regency now that the bow has been cleaned and polished.

Horses for your Off the Grid Home

Did I mention I really like horses?

I have been wanting a horse (I think) since the age of 5. Back when I used to pretend to be a cowboy and was surprisingly good at quick draws and twirling my toy gun on my trigger finger.

I learned to ride when I was about 12 at summer camp. We were given the choice of BMX bicycles or horses, and I already had a bicycle, so I chose the horseback riding lessons.

I came prepared with a set of cowboy boots borrowed from a relative, which I later outgrew as I got older.

Later in my teen years I bought a pair of cowboy boots - and was teased by bullies for wearing them, but whatever, I liked them anyway. Wore them for years until they were worn out.

As a writer, horses would often be featured prominently in my stories and books - mostly about knights and such.

Owning a horse farm therefore has long been a dream of mine. To me buying a horse farm and raises horses is the answer to the question: "What would you do if you won a lottery?"

Which is essentially a thought experiment.

If people would only do certain things if they won the lottery, the follow up question is supposed to be "So, why aren't you doing that right now?"

Which essentially comes back to the idea, if something makes you happy - you should go do it, regardless of whether you have the money.

My problem is that horses are expensive. Not just the cost of the horse itself, but the cost of feed, housing the horses, veterinarian visits, and so forth.

Land is expensive too. So owning a horse farm effectively becomes a two-fold problem involving money.

One of the ideas I have been exploring however is starting a horse farm and hiring someone to train people how to ride, while also offering archery lessons - and finally be one of the few places in the world which offers equestrian archery.

Equestrian Archery is pretty rare. Very few people do it globally. Hungary is quite well known for it, as is Mongolia. But many countries have basically lost touch with this particular skill which was once highly valued for both hunting and warfare.

And since it is a rare skill, but also exotic people would be willing to pay a premium to learn how to do it. (Typically the kind of people who could afford to buy a horse in the first place.)

So my dream of owning and operating a horse farm could become a reality, and I could pay for it for accepting archery students, students who want to learn horseback riding, and by teaching equestrian archery.

So how do I make electricity Off the Grid on a horse farm?

#1. Solar Panels on top of the Horse Barn to provide extra electricity during daytime.

#2. A Wind Mill for pumping Well Water through a filtration system

#3. Wind Turbines to provide electricity to lights and other amenities, day or night.

#4. Backup Power Battery System, so that the solar panels/wind turbines provide energy to the batteries and then store it for later when it is needed.

#5. If the property borders on a flowing river or lake, additional electricity could be made via a small generator (using a turbine, waterwheel or a tidal generator).

#6. Did I mention HORSEPOWER? In theory you could have horses walk in circles with a generator in the middle, complete with gears for extra speed on the generator since the horses are capable of providing significant power. This is not a new concept really, it has been around for a long time.

Interesting Factoid: It's a common misconception that one horsepower is equal to the peak power production of a horse, when in reality a horse on average is capable of a maximum of around 14.9 horsepower. By comparison, a human being is capable of approximately five horsepower at peak power production, but lacks a horse's stamina. 14.9 horsepower is roughly equal to 11.1 kilowatts. Thus in one hour, a horse could produce 11.1 kWh. The average American home uses 900 kWh in a month. Four horses, working only 1 hour per day, would produce 44.4 kWh - over a 30 day period that would be 1,332 kWh - which is more than enough for an average American household. At that rate, the horses could have two days off each week and they would still produce 951.4 kWh just by working 1 hour for 5 days per week. Factor in solar panels and wind turbines, and the horses could work even less.

Building Structures

I am a big fan of hand tools. Assuming that the property doesn't already have a structure that can be suitably converted into a horse barn, such a structure would need to be built. In which case, I am in favour of borrowing designs from Mennonites to get the building done. The beauty of Mennonite architecture is the following:
  1. It goes up fairly quickly. A team of Mennonites can build a barn in a single day. True it would take longer if it just me and some hired help, but it can still be done.
  2. The entire structure can be made using hand tools. No electricity required.
A second option is to buy a Prefabricated Horse Barn, like the one in the photo further below. Prefabricated buildings are made in a factory and then shipped to the location and then assembled. It is a cheaper and faster way to build structures by mass producing them in a factory, which at the same time maintains quality control, is not hindered by rain or weather conditions, and the construction workers don't spend half their time waiting for supplies or machinery to arrive, because all the supplies and machinery are already there in the factory.

A prefabricated horse barn from horizonstructures.com


So there you go, an inexpensive way to build a horse barn, a list of ways to provide electricity so that the property is off the grid (and you save money by paying zero for electricity and pay less property taxes for being off the grid), and a person like myself could potentially turn a profit by teaching archery, horseback riding, and equestrian archery.

On top of that you would also have the option of using the horses for transportation, for farming, for hauling lumber, and a variety of tasks requiring a little extra "horse power".

Hungarian Equestrian Archer Lajos Kassai

Trying to decide which Bow to Shoot on the 24th

I am going to the Toronto Archery Range on Sunday, September 24th and I am trying to decide which bow I want to shoot.

Namely the following two bows:

Left - Model T Jennings, Circa 1970.

Right - Black Hawk Chief Scout, 197??? (I haven't research it enough just yet to confirm an approximate age).

I also have a second problem... I need to make carrying cases for both bows, which means I need to work on my sewing skills - and find some fabric which is appropriate.

Both of these bows are really long compared to modern compound bows. They won't even fit inside a normal compound bow case. They are really long........ Great strives have been made in recent decades to make compound bows smaller and more compact.

In theory I could make one case for both bows - and just take both of them. But I think that is kind of silly. I will need to make two carrying bags.

To be continued...

Vintage Bows as Art Collection

September 11th 2017.

18 years ago I began studying painting at York University, what would amount to me spending 5 years studying the topic formally (and setting a record for being the BFA student to take the most studio credits).

With respect to "collecting" paintings, sculptures and photography I have always followed a Do It Yourself approach. I would never buy art pieces from other artists because I knew I could always just make it myself. Possibly even make a better version of it.

Anything that I did buy over the years, in terms of art collecting, was always something that I knew I could not make myself. Or at least not make without a significant amount of new training.

Things like pottery, jewelry, encaustic printmaking...

Encaustic is an excellent example. It uses hot wax to create images on fabric, and I had no training on making artwork using hot wax. I could make a similar image perhaps using painting, but it would not be the same thing, and since you could buy an encaustic print for $20 or $25, making my own version of something I saw on a print didn't make much sense when it made more sense to just buy the print.

During that same time period I also studied art history - enough that I effectively minored in the subject. This would later lead to me writing a number of articles such as:
"Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction"

"The Modern Car is a Work of Art"
The first article later went on to become something some university professors now have as required reading for their students. (As in, I wrote something in university that other university students now have to read as part of their curriculum. Haha!)

The latter article combined two of my interests, art and cars, in which I pushed the idea that modern sportscars, supercars and hypercars are essentially feats of beauty and engineering, comparable to a great work of art or a fascinating example of architecture. True, the car still gets you from A to B, sometimes in a luxurious fashion, but luxury doesn't necessarily mean it is aesthetically beautiful. Beauty in the business of auto manufacturing is essentially about making a car look fast, sleek, amazing, sexy, insert adjective here, etc - but they also need to make their car stand out and look UNIQUE - and that duality of  uniqueness and beauty is what makes it an art form.

And now back to the subject of archery.

Bows can be beautiful but they can also be ugly.

The modern compound bow is terribly ugly in my opinion. A jumbled mess of limbs, cams, cables and gadgetry. It would make a Futurist painter happy, but even they would have to admit the average compound bow is pretty ugly.

On the right: The 2016 PSE Full Throttle.

The Full Throttle is not designed to be pretty. It is designed to be fast. It is one of the fastest compound bows currently on the market, capable of shooting arrows at 380 fps.

And then they slap some camo print on it and it sells like hot cakes because the average person who buys a super fast compound bow like this doesn't really care about what it looks like, they only care about how fast it shoots and how accurate it is.

Which means that when it comes to the issue of beauty, you are not going to find any "art pieces" amongst modern compound bows. They are as beautiful as an utilitarian toilet.

No, if you want to see something beautiful you need to be looking at the vintage bows - which is why vintage bows are the bows that are worth collecting. Modern compound bows are essentially disposable. They break down eventually and you have to throw them out because they are not worth repairing. Hence the word disposable.

Compare that to a vintage compound bow from 1970s... made by the now defunct manufacturer "Black Hawk". Below are two examples of wooden compound bows made by Black Hawk.

Wood, beauty and craft rolled into one aesthetically pleasing bow. They are still compound bows just like a modern one, still capable of power/speed, but it is a bit like buying an antique sportscar like an old E Type Jaguar - you are buying it because it combines both beauty and function.

E Type Jaguar
And this concept of combining beauty and function isn't limited to bows and cars. It is also a popular topic in architecture.

Modernist Architecture - Ugly blocks of concrete in which you can see the methods the builders used to make the structure in the concrete. The form primarily serves its function as a building, it doesn't matter what it looks like. Common adjective to describe a Modernist building: "Cheap".

Postmodernist Architecture - Flowing Lines and Curves, potentially still made out of concrete but done in a manner so that you don't realize what it is made out of and instead are distracted by the beautiful shape and design of the structure. Common adjective to describe a Postmodernist building: "Interesting".

In terms of art history, modernism came first. People were obsessed with new building methods and realized that buildings didn't need to look good, they could basically just build a big ugly building out of concrete in a hurry and the big selling point was that it was really cheap.

Then postmodernism came along and decided "Hey, we are tired of seeing these big ugly buildings. Lets make something beautiful!"

Except in terms of the history of bowmaking during the last 100 years, people made beautiful bows first - and then over time various styles of bows became uglier over time.

Note - I have been picking on compound bows, so let me just state that I currently own 3 compound bows - and I repair them for other people. Not a lot of people know how to repair compound bows, so I feel I have the right to diss them on their looks if I want to.

Next lets talk about recurve bows.

On the right is a recurve bow made by the company "Bear", and with it you can see that the photographer has paid attention to framing their photograph with antlers and some arrows to create a specific kind of image: A Still Life.

Archers who own such bows take images like that all the time, because they recognize that the bow they are using is a work of art and they end up composing Still Life images of their bows as a result.

The history of artists making Still Life paintings is well documented. Feel free to go Google it.

Below are several more Still Life photographs of vintage recurve bows. The photos below are all photos I took myself.

1975 Browning Wasp
1967 Ben Pearson Cougar

1972 Black Hawk Avenger

Unknown Vintage Children's Recurve Bow, circa 1975

Below is one more Still Life from a few months ago, but I used a Bear Grizzly Static from 1949.

Still Life, Bear Grizzly Static in the Parking Lot while Waiting for the Wife - 2017
Now I should note that taking photos of a bow does not make it an art piece. It is ALREADY an art piece.

And the fact that there are people like myself who collect these bows as "objets d'art" only further entrenches the idea that these bows can be collected for their artistic value, in addition to their historical value.

Contrast this with modern Olympic recurve bows and you will note several things.
  1. People don't often take photos of their Olympic bows. They are kind of... boring and ugly. Sorry, but it is true.
  2. Olympic archers are more likely to have photos of themselves shooting, which means it is not so much a photo of the bow as it is a photo of the archer. The purpose of the photo is typically to either examine their form, or to promote themselves on social media. Social media after all is all about self gratification and "selfies".
  3. Olympic bows don't really have much historical value unless an Olympian managed to actually win something important with that bow in a particular year.

Historical Value

On the right is a photo I took of a Model T Jennings Compound Bow. I took the photo for a blog post I was writing about How to Unstring and do Maintenance on a Vintage Compound Bow.

So the photo I took was meant to be utilitarian for the purposes of the blog post, but the bow itself doesn't look half bad. In the photo it has been freshly cleaned, the bowstring waxed and the bow has been given some much needed maintenance.

Now I purchased the Model T Jennings for a reason. It is one of the first compound bows ever made, so to me it has historical value. I have dated it to circa 1970, 4 years after the compound bow was invented in 1966 - and 1 year after Jennings first started manufacturing the Model T in 1969.

The Model T is not a terribly attractive bow. Compared to a modern compound bow however, it is positively beautiful.

It is certainly not as beautiful as the Black Hawk compound bows mentioned further above, but it is not ugly either.

The real value to me about this bow is not that it is attractive so much that it belongs in a museum. This is Model T Jennings that is in near-perfect condition. I am tempted to never shoot it and hang it on a wall instead purely for its historical and aesthetic value.

I certainly will never be shooting it on any day when it might rain. Water could end up rusting the cables and cause the cable to snap where it means the Teardrop (there is no plastic covering the point where the cable meets the Teardrop).

Thus if I do ever shoot this compound bow I will only be doing so on days when it is not hot and humid, not raining, and I will be giving it regular maintenance if I do decide to shoot it.

I will also not be letting anyone else shoot it either.

And someday, quite possibly, I will open an archery museum and this will be one of the bows that are on display for its historical value.

It is not the only bow I bought purely for its historical value either. For example I also have a Roy Rogers Longbow (for children) from 1952. It is not a particularly interesting bow. It is not beautiful, it is just painted black. It isn't even that good of a bow. I bought it because it was a Roy Rogers longbow and because I felt it is something worth adding to my collection. Indeed, if it wasn't for the signature on the bow it wouldn't really be worth much at all.

Did I Miss Anything?

Now there are of course other styles of bows that I did not get to talking about here.

I only briefly touched on longbows, but there are also shortbows/horsebows (such as the Korean Hwarang), Japanese Yumi bows, and even crossbows - to which I admit, I think it would be cool to own an antique "stone crossbow" which shoots ceramic pellets or clay bullets.

And some of those might only have historical value, but others might actually be quite beautiful to look at.

Like the Damascus steel and gold recurve bow from the 1900s below which sold at auction years back for over $50,000 USD. Look at the fine details of the gold on the limbs. That is pretty impressive.


Not all bows are art pieces, just like not all bows have historical value. Some bows are just plain ugly.

But some - especially vintage bows - are both beautiful to look at and have historical value, and therefore are worth collecting and worth being recognized as art pieces.

Happy Shooting and Collecting!

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