SHTFPreparedness may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
The ability to hunt for your food is an important skill for any prepper or homesteader. Hunting is a great way to kill time and just knowing that you have that option for securing food is a huge confidence builder.
But, you might not want to waste bullets or give away your location while doing so. That’s where a bow can come in handy. This post will discuss the pros and cons of different bows and tell you which is the best type of bow for survival.
3 Types of Bows for Survival
There are 3 popular types of bows that you can use for prepping or homesteading, crossbows, compound bows, and stick bows. Pay attention, because the difference between a crossbow and a stick bow is quite dramatic.
Most people are familiar with the concept of a crossbow. It’s like a bow mounted on a rifle stock and combines traits of both. Modern crossbows are the most technically complex archery platform on the market. They are also the easiest to learn how to shoot.
Crossbows have several advantages over compounds and stick bows. These weapons are more powerful and capable of shooting at much longer distances. You can mount a scope on a crossbow to improve accuracy and shoot from a rest, making it even easier to make quick clean kills.
Another huge advantage of crossbows is that they are easier to handle for elderly folks or people with disabilities.
There are also several downsides to crossbows in survival situations. First, crossbows are heavier than any other type of bow which makes them less than ideal for carrying in tight spaces or on long movements. They are also ungainly to maneuver around in the woods.
Another issue with crossbows is that they are harder to repair and to find parts for. Some crossbows also require special presses to perform maintenance.
Bottom line, crossbows aren’t the best type of bow for survival in a true SHTF scenario but can be a decent option for homesteaders.
Compound bows are the most common type of bow used for big game hunting in the USA. Modern technology has made these bows more accurate and easier to shoot than ever before.
There are several advantages to compound bows. They are more maneuverable than crossbows and can shoot further than stick bows. Compound bows are powerful enough to take down any North American big game animal. For general hunting, the compound bow is a great weapon.
However, there are plenty of downsides. As with crossbows, compound bows require special tools and knowledge to perform maintenance. You can’t use homemade arrows for a compound bow unless you want to run the risk of them blowing up and severely injuring yourself.
Bottom line, compound bows are a great hunting weapon but not the best type of bow for survival in a true SHTF scenario.
Getting into bow hunting with a compound bow can a lot of fun for homesteaders but the limitations around maintaining a compound bow make them an impractical survival weapon.
Stick bows are the quintessential archery platform. When we say “stick bow” we are referring to any recurve or longbow.
Truth be told, there are very few archers left who are proficient with these bows and they are the toughest to learn how to shoot accurately.
That’s too bad.
In our opinion, stick bows are the best type of bow for survival without question. Their simple nature makes them light, maneuverable, and easy to maintain with no special tools. You can also make your own arrows for stick bows, which is an option you don’t have with a compound bow or a crossbow.
The downside is that stick bows do limit your maximum effective distance. This is because your arrow speed is much slower with a stick bow than with a compound or crossbow.
However, they are way more versatile than compounds and recurves. For example, you can “stump shoot” with a stick bow for practice, which you can’t do with other types of bows.
If you aren’t familiar, stump shooting is basically just where you walk through the woods and shoot at any random targets, stumps, dirt mounds, etc. If you tried to stump shoot with a compound or a crossbow you would destroy or lose all of your arrows due to high-speed impacts and deflections.
Stick bows are also the best type of archery equipment for small game hunting. It is possible to hunt small game with a crossbow or compound but you run an extremely high risk of damaging or losing arrows.
Similar to stump shooting, stick bows allow you to take shots at small game without fear of losing or damaging arrows if you miss.
Bottom line, the simplicity, and versatility of stick bows make them the best type of bow for survival in a true SHTF scenario. Just don’t forget that they are harder to learn to shoot well.
Our philosophy for choosing the best type of bow for survival isn’t very complicated. We like simplicity above everything else. That’s why we strongly encourage anyone in the market for a survival bow to look at stick bows.
Recurves, longbows, and other survival specific stick bows beat compounds and crossbows where it counts for SHTF situations. They are easier to maintain, repair, and find arrows for.
Not only that, they are more versatile in the woods than any other type of survival bow. Stick bows give you the option to stump shoot for practice as well as hunt both small and big game.
Even though we prefer stick bows for survival, they aren’t the end all be all. Crossbows are a good option for elderly individuals or anyone with shoulder issues. Personally, we have a lot of fun shooting compound bows. Check out Bow Logic to learn how to get into bow hunting with a compound bow.