In addition to a teepee, the somewhat larger Indians naturally also need a bow and arrow. In this article I describe how to build a bow and arrow quickly and easily from materials available in our nature.
The hazelnut bow
We build the bow from a branch of a hazelnut bush. Hazelnut is particularly suitable, since one usually finds long straight branches with such, which are well suitable for a bow. In addition, fresh hazelnut branches are very flexible despite high stability.
What you need for the bow
- Branch from hazelnut bush
- Rice strong string z.B. parcel string*
- small saw
*Amazon Affiliate Link
Find a suitable hazelnut bush
First you have to look for a suitable hazelnut bush, from which you may also saw off a branch. If you don’t have hazelnut bushes in your garden, you can often find them at the edge of the forest or in small wooded areas near bodies of water.
Once you have found a shrub, you choose a suitable branch. This should be as straight as possible and have a diameter of about 20 to 25 mm (a little thicker than a thumb). The larger the bow should be, the thicker the branch must be here. Our bows have a length of about 100 cm. Since the branches are usually quite long, you can also build 2 bows from a single branch.
How to make a bow from hazelnut
Once you have decided on a branch and cut it with a small saw, you should remove all leaves and small branches. Now you can saw it to the desired length (here about 1m). Then a notch is sawn into the branch at the top and bottom (about 3-5 cm from the end).
Then you take the parcel string and cut it about 10cm longer than the ground. Now you tie them tightly into the notch on the thicker side of the branch. At the other end we make a loop that just fits over the branch.
Now the bow must be stretched. Just press the branch so hard on the ground that it bends so far together, so that you get the loop over the branch. You can also see this in the short video.
Ready is the Bow – was not so difficult, or?
The arrows from reed
The arrows we make from reeds. Dry reed is particularly suitable due to its lightness and therefore good flight characteristics. In addition, the arrows are relatively harmless.
What you need for the arrows
- Dry reed
- Possibly. small drill or screwdriver
Where to find suitable reed for the arrows
Reeds can be found everywhere near water (rivers, streams and lakes). It is important that this is as withered, dry and stable as possible. This is best found in the spring before the new green young reed grows up. Older, withered reed can also be found all year round at the water’s edge. With older reed, however, you must make sure that it is not soft or rotten. When you have found a reed, choose the straightest possible tubes and cut them with a knife at the bottom. When cutting and transporting the reeds, be careful not to crush them or break the tubes.
Build arrows from reeds
First remove from the reed all loose, withered leaves, so that only the inner tube of the reed remains. Now you cut off a straight piece of about 60 to 80 cm. Here you should cut the reed so that both at the upper, as well as at the lower end, a stable ring is located.
Cut a small notch on the thicker side of the branch. On the thinner side you stick a piece of a bottle cork, which you have best pre-drilled – from a cork you get 2 to 3 rings for an arrow. Due to the weighted arrowhead the arrow keeps its direction and is not blown away by the wind. The arrows can either be pierced completely or the tip can be left blunt by only pre-drilling about half of the cork and putting it on the arrow.
Alternatively, you can use a small piece of a fresh elder branch. These are soft in the middle and can therefore easily be put on the arrows. As a child, I used to weight the arrows with it. However, it is now discouraged, because the bark of the elder is slightly poisonous.
Ready is the Arrow.
Shooting bows and arrows
Finished bows and arrows
Now, before you try out the bow, find a large open area where you can be sure that you will not endanger people or animals or damage any objects. Children I would only from approx. 8 years of age and only let him shoot with such a bow under supervision.
Are you sure that all this is taken into account: Hold the bow in the middle with your left hand, put on the arrow, pull back and let the arrow whiz through the air.
In the beginning, from my point of view, it is the most fun to simply shoot the bow as far as possible on an open area. 20 to meters should be easily doable with such a bow.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the ground, you can of course set up a target or tin cans. With a little practice and with very straight arrows, you can hit a canned shot even from 10 meters.
Shelf life and storage
Bows made of hazelnut as well as arrows made of reed are unfortunately not eternally durable.
The bow works best when it has been cut as fresh from the bush as possible. After a few weeks or. months it dries out and breaks. By cool, dark storage, one can extend the life span somewhat. In addition, the bows dry out much faster when they are carved. So I would recommend to leave the bark as completely as possible on the bow and not to treat the bow further.
The arrows on the other hand, break very quickly and you have to be careful not to trample on them. With extensive use, a point can also break once or the arrow splits when stretched too tightly over the tendon. Therefore, it is best to prepare several arrows at once. Moreover, they must be stored in a dry place, otherwise they may rot.