Thursday, May 10, 2012

CB makes a bow and arrows

I fished the Fox on Sunday morning,  and although I didn't catch a single fish, it was a pleasure to be outside. My first wading trip was last Fall, and the majority of my wading trips have been in fairly cold weather (usually cold and rainy). This was one of the first times the water was pleasant, the breeze wasn't chilly, and I even rolled up my sleeves.

I saw a lot of wildlife- a couple of deer came to the river to drink, and seemed perplexed by me. Once they returned to the woods, I saw them watching me through the trees. Maybe if I'd caught a fish while they were watching it would have made more sense to them. I suppose just standing in the middle of a river does look strange.

Can you see the deer?
Later, in a different spot, I saw a bunch of adult geese with a many baby geese. I had no idea they were yellow when they were young- I would have guessed they were baby chickens if I didn't see them next to their parents. I wonder if they taste like chickens.

Geese and goslings (?)
A couple days later I fished the retention pond. The weather has been colder this week than last week, and the fishing has shut down for me. I managed to get one hit from a bass about a foot from shore- I reeled him in, and as soon as he saw me he simply opened his mouth and spit out the chigger craw. I didn't even hook him! That was one of the more crazy fishing experiences I've ever had. That fish was determined.

A few days ago I finished the amazing book "The Mindful Carnivore" by Tovar Cerulli. I think I might write a formal review of it, but not today. My summation of his thesis is that no matter what we do as humans, we hurt other living things, and there is no way around it. Even growing vegetables requires at the very least the killing of insect pests; apparently many farmers regularly kill deer to protect their crops.

The author went from being vegan to hunting because he wanted to face the death necessary for his sustenance head-on, without disguising it behind layers of plastic and styrofoam or words like "free range" or "organic." I'm no hunter, although I do occasionally keep fish I catch and cook them. I could relate to much of what Tovar wrote. This book was a great account of his journey from veganism to meat-eating, and his great respect for nature and all the life around him.

After finishing the book, and not wanting to go fishing due to the lack of action and colder weather, something possessed me to try and make a bow and arrow. I promise it has nothing to do with "The Hunger Games." If anything, it's more related to my current obsession with outdoorsy-ness. I also just wanted to see if I could.

I found some downed branches, took them home, cut off the bark with a knife, made notches for the bow string, for which I first tried using monofilament fishing line. I have a lot of it laying around, and now that I pretty much use braided line exclusively, I didn't mind using a bunch of mono for my bow. As you could probably guess, the line snapped fairly easily. I found some twine we had laying around, and using a "slip knot" (which I just learned) I was able to tie the line to the bow. I wrapped duct tape around the handle to prevent splinters and whatnot, and put some around the twine to assist in holding the notches in the arrows.

Then I took some sticks (which I thought were straight but are obviously quick crooked) added some cardboard for the "feathers" (don't know the archery term) and whittled the points down so they weren't completely blunt.

What I had was this:

Believe it or not, it works... kind of
And it works! By the time I finished everything, it was dark. This morning before I headed out to work I tried shooting my new arrows. I propped up a cardboard box, and was very surprised by the power of my new bow and the arrows I made. I was able to put arrows through two layers of cardboard from about twenty feet!

Aiming is difficult, and where the arrows end up is anybody's guess... I'd never shot an arrow before yesterday, except of course in Wii Sports. I really liked it there, which suggested to me I might like the real thing. I figured instead of investing money on something I might not enjoy whatsoever, why not make my own and satisfy my urge to make stuff from scratch in the process.

What have I gotten out of this exercise? If the zombie apocalypse comes, and I find myself in a forest with a knife and some twine, and maybe some cardboard, I might be able to construct my own bow and arrows. If I'm lucky I might confuse the zombies enough to allow for my escape.

Also, this might be an activity worth pursuing with some store-bought gear. Then I can be just like Katniss.


  1. Chris,
    The little feather things are called fletchings. learned something new today. :)


  2. Hey Mr. Caveman. There are a lot of books out there that will teach you everything you know. I have a shelf full of them. Heard the other day that there are over 4,000 edible plants out there of which we eat but a handful. Milkweed, if you get them when they're barely a foot tall, cook them up like asparagus. Dandelions, all kinds of uses for them. And on and on.

    When I started hunting, I was determined to get a deer with a Kentucky long rifle, black powder, a friend gave me on. Worked out well. Now I've got good with long bows and ones with a slight recurve. Takes a little more skill than compound bows.

    If you ever get a headache while out in the woods, peel off the bark of a willow tree and chew on the inside layer. That's where aspirin comes from.

    The one thing you have to watch for are all the plants out there with hallucinogenic properties. You'll be found wandering around the woods in a stupor.

  3. Yeah Ken- I've been learning about some of those plants, the edible kinds; I've yet to eat dandelions but next time I find some that are unlikely to have pesticides on them, I'm grabbing them and eating them.

    Next I need to learn tree identification, and animal track identification...

    Which plants have hallucinogenic properties!? Might be an experience worth blogging about! Mostly kidding...


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