After about 50,000 years ago Human culture started to change at much greater speed in what is known as the ‘Great Leap Forward’. Humans, inter alia, started to bury their dead, made clothing out of hides, and developed better hunting strategies. ‘Better hunting strategies’ included the invention of the bow and arrow. During this pre-historic period our cavemen-like ancestors made the bow and arrow from wood and flint to hunt for dinner and to protect their property.
As human culture further developed, better weaponry and hunting methods replaced the bow and arrow to some extent. However, it did not phase out completely, but its use was limited more to archery.
Modern bow hunting was popularised again in the U.S. in the 1920s when Dr. Saxton Pope published a book called “Hunting with the Bow and Arrow”. In the 1950s, affordable, high-quality bow hunting equipment was developed that furthered the popularity of the sport.
Modern bow hunting hasn’t changed much from the original concept except for the equipment. Today, bow hunters can choose from a variety of bows, arrows and arrowheads. Types of bows include:
• Traditional bow — Also known as the longbow, it is the most basic of bow designs. The bow is straight until it is strung, then it curves.
• Recurve bow — This is more powerful than a straight bow and generally is not used with any type of mechanical devices.
• Compound bow — A series of cables and pulleys reduce the amount of force needed to pull the string back. This is the most popular bow today.
Arrow shafts can be made of wood, aluminium, fibreglass, carbon and a carbon/aluminium combination.
Scouting the area in which to hunt and understanding the prey is very important. By recognising game signs, and understanding the lay of the land, will be a good indication where to set up. If unfamiliar with the area, it would be advisable to ask local hunters where to best bow hunt.
In most cases, one of three methods to hunt from the ground may be considered:
• The still method: moving around slowly before standing still for periods of time while waiting for a target to arrive;
• Stalking method: locating a target and then moving into position for the shot;
• Glass method: searching for targets with scopes or binoculars before moving on to stalking.
Depending upon resources, a hide or tree stand may be used. These are useful in getting above the hunting area to ensure a better view of the target area and more time to prepare for shots.
Baiting is to strategically place a pile of food near the hunting hide or clearing in the hope of luring a target into close range. It is seen as useful for precision and accuracy, which are especially challenging in bow hunting.
Concerns have been raised that baiting gives the bow hunter an unfair advantage. Bow hunters, on the other hand, feel especially strong about baiting. To obtain a clean, quick kill, they maintain, which is revered in the world of ethical hunting, a bow hunter must hit the target in a specific manner. Without baiting, it would be more difficult to get close enough to ensure the clean kill. Bow hunting is a challenge as is, but if baiting was to be eliminated from the sport, it could completely die out.
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