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Hunting With the Longbow
Part 2 of 3

The blunt arrows we use on small game such as squirrels, rabbits, and quail. We have killed scores of these, shooting at distances of from 10 to 50 yards. It is no uncommon thing for us to kill a quail or a squirrel up to and past 50 yards. It is true that we miss many shots, but then, an arrow hardly scares the game. We may get another try at it.

On our last hunting trip a cock quail flew up on a pine limb 54 paces off. Mr. Compton let drive at him and hit him in the breast, spitting him on the arrow with a dead center shot.

In one day we killed twenty ground squirrels with the bow. Everybody who has hunted gophers knows that they are not easy to hit. One of these was hit at 56 paces. The last five were killed with five successive arrows.

Some rabbits we kill while running, and once in a while we make a very lucky shot at birds on the wing, but as a general thing our game is standing. Accuracy with the bow is necessarily much more difficult than with a gun. We estimate that it is about the same as pistol shooting with the average man. Up to 60 yards, when we are shooting right, we can count on a nine inch bull's eye every second or third shot. At 100 yards we could hit a man nearly every time.

On our last hunting trip, Ferguson, our packer, was unfamiliar with the bow, and quite skeptical. To show what could be done, Compton called his attention to an isolated bush about the size of a dog 180 yards distant. He let drive three arrows at it, and every one stuck in the bush. I will admit there was a big element of luck in that. On the same trip Compton shot at a coyote 164 yards away. The first arrow fell short; the second arrow made a whistling noise and the coyote seemed to hear it way up in the air. He looked up, then ran a short way to the left, looked again and ran to the right, then turned tail just as the arrow struck the exact spot on which he stood a moment before.

Both Compton and Young are expert rifle shots, but in spite of the difficulties and primitive weakness of the bow, they prefer it to firearms. Two years ago Compton killed a deer with the bow at 75 yards as it ran down a steep hillside. He had to lead him by 10 yards, but when the arrow struck it drove to the feather through his chest and shoulder. The point on the other side stuck out a foot. As the deer ran through the bush it snapped off the arrow. About 200 yards down the gulch we found him dead.

We have killed five deer with the bow. Arthur Young shot a little buck while running, the arrow entered back of the shoulder and emerged under the chin. When he picked up the arrow there was hardly a trace of blood on it. The deer ran less than 150 yards, and died of a pulmonary hemorrhage.

Arrows seem to cause more bleeding than bullets. We keep our points very sharp by filing them, and the wounds they make are very clean cut. If a cavity is struck, it is practically always fatal. If a flesh wound is made, very little damage is done. It is a clean wound and heals readily.