Survival Bow - Who should consider owning one? March 17 2017, 0 Comments
A Survival Bow is not a new concept, but what is new is the compact folding survival bow of which the SAS Tactical Survival Bow is one such bow. It was designed specifically to fit inside a backpack, store and protect takedown arrows during transport, last a lifetime, yet still be powerful enough to bring down game such as large deer, antelope and even boar.
Over the past two years I have read many a forum where there is some healthy (and at times not so healthy) debate surrounding the modern compact folding survival bow and what its practical use really is versus among other, takedown recurve bows and compound bows.
This will be the first of a number of articles related to the concept of a survival bow, but I just wanted to cover who should consider owning one and why, so that you the consumer can be better informed when it comes to making a decision for buying a bow that really suites your needs.
Two of the biggest criticisms I read online about modern compact folding survival bows are:
1. They can't be much more than a gimmick right?
2. Why not buy a real bow?
In order to answer these two questions we need to look at the fundamentals of what a bow is expected to do and that is luckily pretty simple. A bow in its bare essence is expected to accurately deliver an arrow to the point at which the archer is aiming with enough force for the job it is being employed to do. Whether that is on the Olympic archery range or stump shooting in your favorite part of the woods, that is what a bow is supposed to do. Pretty simple right.
I think the problem comes in with expectation of the reader. If the reader is wanting to shoot a half inch grouping and is used to a $2000 and upward bow with sites, stabilising bars, shock absorbers and all that other fancy equipment often seen at pro archery shoot, then he will naturally ask the two question above.
If he is a big game hunter on the hunt for an African Hippopotamus then he is going to expect some serious kinetic energy which is only going to come from a high powered compound bow and he may also ask the questions above.
But then there is a whole other world of archers out there, each with different expectations and needs from an archery bow, but the one thing remains true to all of them; they want a bow that can "accurately deliver an arrow to the point at which the archer is aiming with enough force for the job it is being employed to do."
The SAS Tactical Survival Bow is one such bow when used for hunting. Over the years I have received amazing feedback from my customers who send me photos and videos of their hunts. With wild boar, blue wildebeest weighing upward of 550lbs, deer and more, this bow does what a bow is supposed to. It delivers and arrow with enough power to the point of aim. It is therefore no gimmick and certainly is a "real" bow. Maybe not to the elitist snobbish archer who cannot get out of his own head no matter what he is looking at because his bow will always be better in his mind, but it certainly deserves it place in the archery world and that is what we are talking about today.
So now let's take a look at what survival bows are good for.
The modern survival bow was built with two needs in mind; compactness and durability. So naturally people who are looking for these two elements would be looking at two archery industry segments; takedown recurve bows and the modern survival bow (modern compact longbow).
Let's look at the differences between these two types of bows in terms of pros and cons.
The takedown recurve bow is a concept that is well established in the archery world. It is known to be accurate, fairly compact and a number of accessories have been designed to work with such a bow. On the other hand, it is not a very durable item when stuffed into a backpack and even then, with the curved limbs they are certainly then not considered compact when one considers what other equipment one may want to pack in as well. Another two cons of the takedown recurve bow is that one still has to find a storage solution for arrows if you are backpacking and you need tools to assemble the bow.
Modern survival bows are a concept that has only started to take off over the past 5 years or so. They are relatively unknown and are as stated above often open to naive comments from people who have never actually shot such a bow. What they do have going for them though is that they are extremely robust, very tough and are extremely light and compact. They require no tools or maintenance and are build to last a lifetime. And to boot, they are actually rather accurate.
The SAS Tactical Survival Bow is a 60" longbow, but is only 21" long when in storage mode, 2.5" wide and only 1" thick along the main part of the riser which makes it easy to fit even into 1-day packs. What more is that it stores the arrows inside of the riser giving a package that takes up almost no space at all in comparison to a takedown recurve. It shoots more than an acceptable enough grouping even up to 30 yards to hunt with. One needs to consider the fact that nearly 80% of all whitetail deer are harvested at a distance of under 15 yards in the US. So 30 yards is more than enough in most hunting areas.
I have done loads of hunting in my lifetime, but my first ever hunt in Kentucky on a WMA with a crossbow was what made me realize just how useful such a weapon can be. Season had just opened and I was ready to go. I had scouted a great spot for deer earlier that month at the back of the WMA where people seldom go due to the long walk in and out and when entering the area I saw a large group of wild turkey. I spent a few hours laying up on them and about an hour before sunset ended up shooting a nice female. Happy with my hunt I wanted to exit the woods, but realized I would most probably mess up another hunter's day by leaving just before sunset. The problem was that I was 2 miles into the WMA so had no choice but to wait it out.
So I ended up setting up in a natural ground hide at one of the forked deer trails I had scouted earlier that month. "Why not?" I thought. Improbable, but lets see what happens. Low and behold just before sunset out walks a 6 pointer. Knowing my freezer still needs filling I took the shot; placed just above his right elbow as he faced slightly away from me. Perfect! He ran about 50 yards and I found him after a brief wait just were he entered the underbrush and fell.
This is where it got interesting. I now had a turkey, a deer, a small backpack and a crossbow. What followed until past 1am that night will be an experience I won't easily forget. I had to drag that buck with a turkey and a crossbow slapping me around my knees for 3 miles up and down the muddy tracks of that WMA until I got back to my vehicle. It was during those hours that I just wished I could put both the crossbow and the turkey inside my backpack, but I couldn't. I had to do it the old fashioned hard way.
It is experiences like these that let one realize that all the people who naively criticise a compact, folding bow, have actually very, very little real world experience when it comes to hunting and tactical activities. There statements about, I would rather just use a compound bow in a survival situation shows this perfectly and for the reasons my story above shows. Struggling through the woods with a big heavy object in your hand as you try to do other activities is just not practical. After 1-2 days you would ditch your bow if you were on the move and never had a camp setup where you could leave your bow.
Imagine a tactical survival situation where you are then also carrying a rifle for self defense? Yes you could arguably use it to hunt with instead of a bow, but that may not be wise in terms of noise disciplines or conserving your ammo.
So yes, the survival bow has a very specific market of people it caters for, but who knows, maybe the concept will take off like the once ridiculed compound bow did. It all depends how much one is willing to try out new things and experiences.
So, to answer the question, "who should consider owning a modern survival bow," the answer lies in what you want to use it for. Here is a list of reason why we believe you should consider owning one:
You are needing:
A bow that is compact and can fit inside a backpack or other small compartment.
A bow that is easy to transport when on foot, a bicycle, motorbike or in a vehicle full of people or other equipment.
A bow that is durable and strong and can handle a fair bit of abuse.
Something that can pack away before and after your hunt so you can move quickly to and from your hunting area.
A backup bow for when your compound bow has a mechanical failure out in the field on a remote trip.
I am sure there are a number of other reason why someone would choose to buy such a bow and therefore it would probably be fair to assume that in future these modern survival bows will start assuming a different name once they start to become more and more widespread in the archery world and can fall into their own category of what they truly are, a compact longbow.
I hope this article has given you some insight into whether this is the right kind of bow for you and that it helps you to make your decision a little easier.
Till next time!