Many preppers invest a lot of time and money into food storage. I have seen and read many instances where some folks have been able to accumulate as much as 50,000 pounds of food. Although this is admirable, and a good way to prepare, I tend to lean towards an old saying that says: “If you bring a boy a fish, you will feed him for a day. If you teach a boy how to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime.” Having a good supply of food is never a bad thing, but in a post- apocalyptic world you create the best chance for your long term survival by being well rounded in your ability to produce food. Obviously in the case of some type of infrastructure breakdown, you will no longer be able to head over to the local hunting store to pick up ammo, arrows, cover scent, etc. So it’s best to begin learning the hunting skills you’ll need in that environment now. Because it is more silent and will protect you from others hearing the shot in a way a firearm can’t, bow hunting should be a skill on every preppers list of ways to be prepared.
Let’s start off with the bow itself. Most modern day compound bows are built to last with only one exception: the string. Learning to tie a bow string is easy and something that you can prepare to do on your own if need be. The basic tools you’ll need to accomplish this are a bow press, string, serving, and a serving jig. These items can cost you as little as $250 if you shop in a cost efficient way. Now that you’ve gone and bought these items, how do you learn how to string your bow? Well, the way I learned was to go to my local pro shop and ask to volunteer my time at their store in exchange for learning this skill. Big chain stores probably won’t be very willing, but small local outfitters are generally glad to help you learn this skill. In my mind that’s a good trade!
Now that you have learned how to tie your string, the next thing to consider is arrow and broad head selection. Forget about arrow speed and all the other selling techniques in this modern fast paced society. Durability is your best friend as a prepper. When shopping for arrows and broad heads you’ll need to look for combinations of these two items that will get you more than one meal. I personally prefer to buy the Carbon Express Terminator arrows with G5 Montec broad heads. I choose these items for three reasons: durability, durability, and durability. Since I made this switch, I have killed two deer with this same arrow/broad head combo; and they are still in good enough condition that I will be nocking this same arrow this fall for a third deer kill. I chose carbon arrows first and foremost because they are durable, but, unlike aluminum arrows, they won’t dent or bend which can affect flight. I use the G5 Montec broad head because it has fixed blades. This is good for two reasons. One is that there are no moving parts that you would have to replace like on a modern mechanical broad head. Two, because it is a one piece design, it can be re-sharpened. So as you shop for these items, keep durability in mind.
Last is scent protection. Sure there are all kinds of cover scents, scent controlled clothing, and attractants out there. Unfortunately those things probably won’t help you if there is no store to buy them from. So what should you do? Well, for a long time now I have lived by the campfire hunting method. Since electricity most likely will not be a luxury that we will have in a post-apocalyptic world, fires will be in use for many reasons. Because of this the smell of a fire will permeate the air. This will work to your advantage. Before you head out to hunt, stand by the fire so that you too will smell like the smoke that animals will become accustomed to smelling. This will make you virtually invisible to the keen sense of smell that most game possess. Now go ahead and cross scent free clothing and cover scents off your list. For attractants, you will need to be extra careful as you field dress your kill. If you don’t already know how to identify a critters bladder, take a little time to familiarize yourself with game anatomy. Now, when you go to field dress your food, it’s a good idea to have a little bottle or container on hand to harvest what urine is left in the bladder. Attractant scent problem solved.
With these simple concepts you can give yourself the peace of mind to know that if something were to happen to your food stores, you will still be eating well and saving your bullets for the “zombies” that may be after your supplies.