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PostHuman
07-28-2010, 09:51 PM
What is a reasonable period of time it might take for a single person to prepare a crude, but functional bow and an arrow or two out of saplings and branches in a forest, assuming they are carrying some sort of string and a cutting instrument. I watched a few youtube videos, but they generally cut over some of the more time consuming parts.

alleycat
07-28-2010, 09:55 PM
When I was a kid we used to easily make a bow out of the small branch of an elm (the wood is nice and springy). It was really just find the right limb, notch it, and string it. I don't remember making arrows, so I can't help you there. The elm made a fairly serviceable bow . . . although I don't think I'd want to hunt grizzlies with one.

Drachen Jager
07-28-2010, 10:06 PM
It takes at least a few weeks to make something you could really use to hunt with. The wood has to be properly cured.

http://www.primitiveways.com/sapling_bow.html

Is that the kind of website you're looking for?

PostHuman
07-28-2010, 10:57 PM
The character crafting the bow is alone in a dense forest and hungry, with an injured leg and hoping to nab a squirrel or rabbit for dinner, but experienced in this sort of thing.

I've seen a few videos where it appears they make a sort of "survival bow" by tying a few branches together and they begin using the bow almost immediately after they complete it, without curing the wood.

Perhaps an entirely different sort of weapon or even some sort of snare trap would be more realistic? Can you hunt a squirrel by throwing rocks?

Here is a link to one of the videos I saw on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izuo-45rVNs

Warning: the link contains PAN FLUTE MUSIC ;-)

Chase
07-28-2010, 11:00 PM
As Jager (the hunter) said.

At Flaming Arrow, a '50s boy scout camperee location in Montana, Benjamin Yellow Fox supervised bow and arrow craft. While shaved lengths of wood cured close to smoldering embers, arrows were fashioned from willow shafts, split bird feathers, and chipped flint. I used chokecherry branches for my bows, and they cured amazingly hard. Tip: notch the ends before curing while the wood is soft.

Arrow bindings and some bow-laminations were with thin threads of animal fiber Mr. Yellow Fox called sinews. Bowstrings were cotton string waxed with candles. To me, the exacting work and applications of band-aids seemed to never end for five days, but in that time, bows and arrows were fashioned that worked well enough to stick some arrows in hay bales from twenty feet.

I hope some of this activity and time frame are helpful to your story.

TheIT
07-28-2010, 11:01 PM
Maybe a sling or slingshot with rocks as ammunition might be easier to make?

Nivarion
07-28-2010, 11:20 PM
The time consuming part of a serious bow is the curing. A temporary bow can be used though. It will dry out and break before too long though.

If he's sprained his ankle a snare would probably be better. I've caught rabbits in them, they are easy and quick to tie and you don't have to move but to check them afterwards.

I've also tried getting squirrels with a rock but they're crafty little suckers. They move quick if they know you're there, and they make a point of knowing. I only ever got one and I wouldn't have gotten the calories out of him I had to expend to get him.

Drachen Jager
07-28-2010, 11:40 PM
The character crafting the bow is alone in a dense forest and hungry, with an injured leg and hoping to nab a squirrel or rabbit for dinner, but experienced in this sort of thing.

Snare is his best bet then. Can be made from a boot/shoelace and far more likely to net you supper in one day. You CANNOT make a bow suitable for hunting anything in a day, you'd be better spending your time throwing rocks at random animals hoping you stun one.

More realistic still, he should just be happy with eating some plants. Find a good book on edible plants in the region in question.

PeterL
07-29-2010, 12:00 AM
The character crafting the bow is alone in a dense forest and hungry, with an injured leg and hoping to nab a squirrel or rabbit for dinner, but experienced in this sort of thing.

I've seen a few videos where it appears they make a sort of "survival bow" by tying a few branches together and they begin using the bow almost immediately after they complete it, without curing the wood.

Perhaps an entirely different sort of weapon or even some sort of snare trap would be more realistic? Can you hunt a squirrel by throwing rocks?


Rabbits and squirrels can be knocked down or killed with a thrown stone. Snares wil also work for them. If someone knows how to make a snare and has a suitable piece of string a snare can be set up in seconds. Snares also work nicely for birds. There isn't a lot of meat on a little bird, but a few of them a day would be a living.

Making a useful bow depends on a lot of factors including what kind of wood is available and what kind of shape it is in. Using green wood for a bowwould not result in a usable bow. Suitable dead wood would make something useful, but it wouldn't be much better than throwing a stick, because it would not have a lot of power.

Drachen Jager
07-29-2010, 12:34 AM
Anyone serious about just surviving wouldn't bother with serious hunting or trapping unless they knew they were stuck in the woods for the long haul. Maybe if this was happening in the winter half of the year, the rest of the time "dense forest" as you put it is remarkably rich in sustenance if you know where to look. Some animals can be caught without a serious hunt, snakes can be whacked with a stick (that's the traditional method I believe), any kid knows how to catch a frog or a turtle, there are berries and roots which can provide most of what you need to get by. If the guy knows his stuff you should do some research on what he might eat in the region you've picked out, get a good survival manual that covers that area.

Canotila
07-29-2010, 10:01 AM
If he's got access to any kind of a stream nearby, building a fish trap is extremely easy and effective.

http://www.wilderness-survival.net/food-4.php

Anaximander
07-29-2010, 11:42 AM
A rough but serviceable bow can be made pretty quickly if you know how; maybe ten, twenty minutes wandering about in your average woodland to find a good piece (might want to cut that down if he's injured, but he may not find as good a piece) then ten minutes, twenty to remove it from the tree. The shaping can take a little while, but the stringing is pretty quick (couple of Honda knots and a quick test-draw) so you could have a bow inside a couple of hours. If you skip the shaping and just use a springy branch, then you can use a thinner piece that can be removed from the tree faster, and the shaping only takes a few minutes. It'd be less powerful though, so maybe worth doing the split-and-shape method. Arrows a little while, but for quick-and-dirty survival work you can just use sharpened straight sticks, which takes however long it takes to find something straight enough (depends on what grows bin that type of forest) plus about three minutes to whittle points onto them. They won't be brilliantly accurate without fletchings, but that takes ages, and at close range it doesn't matter too much. Without curing, the bow won't last long, but if he's a decent shot he should be able to bag something before it splits.

It's a fair bit of work for an injured man, though, and walking around finding something to shoot will be tough for him. Might be a better idea to make a sling (bootlaces and a scrap of cloth, maybe from a handkerchief) and wander about setting snares. They'd give a much better chance of catching something on way less effort, and if he sees something then he has the sling. Hit a rabbit squarely with a stone from a sling, you have a meal.

I'd suggest reading Lofty Wiseman's book on survival, and/or googling for a copy of US FM21-76, the field manual on survival, with good stuff on hunting and snares.

quicklime
07-29-2010, 09:47 PM
Snare is his best bet then. Can be made from a boot/shoelace and far more likely to net you supper in one day. You CANNOT make a bow suitable for hunting anything in a day, you'd be better spending your time throwing rocks at random animals hoping you stun one.

More realistic still, he should just be happy with eating some plants. Find a good book on edible plants in the region in question.


+1; if you want him eating in a few days, plants mainly, if you want him eating meat, then snares/deadfalls/things slow enough to catch, like frogs and turtles

there are many other tricks out there, a book like Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness survival is full of things like bone fishhooks, but your guy would be better off getting out than wasting that sort of time if possible, and to get to the point of a bow/fishing/etc he's in for a couple weeks or more