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Hunting With the Longbow
by Saxton Pope
From: Outing, Vol. LXXIV No. 1, pp. 26-27. April 1919.
Illustrated with photographs
Part 1 of 3

Two Californians Prove That Even Big Game Can Be Brought Down With the Old English Weapon

WHEN you were a boy you shot a bow and arrow. Every boy does that if he gets a chance. It is just as natural as it is for him to play hide and seek, ride a stick horse, or play any primitive game. The childhood of the world imitates the progress of human development. Every boy passes through the stage of barbarism.

Your bow shooting was only play, and not very accurate or effective, so you have formed an idea that all archery is more or less a futile diversion. Therefore, you won't believe me when I tell you what really can be done with the bow.

Probably Will and Maurice Thompson were the first white men that did any extensive hunting with the bow and arrow since the days of Robin Hood. They have recorded their happy experiences in a book, quot;The Witchery of Archery,quot; printed in 1876. Since that time some few Americans have used the bow for more than target shooting.

In the past four years W. J. Compton, Arthur Young of San Francisco, and I have hunted with this weapon quite regularly. When we are not hunting, we are practicing archery, at least once a week. We have become fairly expert in shooting. Early in our experience we had Ishi, the last Yana Indian, as a hunting companion.

Starting with weak bows and target arrows, we have progressed to the use of heavy hunting bows pulling as much as eighty pounds. These are made of Oregon yew, and are the height of the man that shoots them. They have a range between 250 and 300 yards, although the most effective shooting is done within 100 yards.

Our hunting arrows are made of three-eighths of an inch birch dowels twenty-eight inches long, feathered with turkey feathers and having either a blunt head or a sharp, triangular steel point one inch broad and one and a half inches long. The blunt point is made by inserting a round-headed screw into the end of the arrow and binding it with fine wire, soldered securely. The steel heads are either set in a haft which fits over the arrow shaft, or have a tang an inch long which is slotted into the arrow and bound with wire. We carry about three dozen shafts on a hunting trip and only lose about half of them.

The bow string is made of 50 to 75 strands of Irish linen, or shoemaker's thread, with a loop spliced at the top and bottom. It is heavily waxed.