Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

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Ruinar Hrafnakveðja
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Ruinar Hrafnakveðja » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:25 pm

Straelbora wrote:On this subject, I have a very nice long bow, but am thinking of getting a small hunting bow.

Any suggestions on style and source?


I always have had a passion for traditional reflex bows. They pack more punch with less length. I don't own one myself, but a friend has a Turkish Bow from Alibows (https://www.alibowshop.com/product-page/turkish-bow) and he loves it. It's quite short but you can get it weighted up to 50 lbs at 28". I've been thinking about getting one for trekking, mostly because the usefulness of a spear as a walking stick and bear deterrent cannot be understated but a bow is a crucial as a survival tool. And I definitely agree with Greg's strategy of continuously striking from a vantage point and then slipping away :)
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Straelbora » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:27 am

Ruinar Hrafnakveðja wrote:
Straelbora wrote:On this subject, I have a very nice long bow, but am thinking of getting a small hunting bow.

Any suggestions on style and source?


I always have had a passion for traditional reflex bows. They pack more punch with less length. I don't own one myself, but a friend has a Turkish Bow from Alibows (https://www.alibowshop.com/product-page/turkish-bow) and he loves it. It's quite short but you can get it weighted up to 50 lbs at 28". I've been thinking about getting one for trekking, mostly because the usefulness of a spear as a walking stick and bear deterrent cannot be understated but a bow is a crucial as a survival tool. And I definitely agree with Greg's strategy of continuously striking from a vantage point and then slipping away :)


Nice size, not too ornate, and nice price. I may look into this.
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Elleth » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:42 pm

My stance on the decision to choose one over the other, bow over spear, ultimately stems from the description of Aragorn as a traveler and Huntsman....


Aha! Greg, I just figured out your secret! :mrgreen:

Not secret so much I suppose - just that I wasn't grokking what you were doing.
Normally I don't have a sword: just my longknife at most, often just my belt knife if anything at all.

Today for the heck of it, I through on a sword on my way out the door, and everything clicked.

Bow alone, you're constantly aware of how easily you can be overrun.
Blade alone, you know you've no way to respond to something more than a few paces away.
But bow in hand and sword at the waist, each covers the other's weak spots so completely that it's a totally different experience.

Hunh... guess I should have realized that. Better late than never. :P
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Greg » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:06 am

Elleth wrote:Today for the heck of it, I through on a sword on my way out the door, and everything clicked.

Bow alone, you're constantly aware of how easily you can be overrun.
Blade alone, you know you've no way to respond to something more than a few paces away.
But bow in hand and sword at the waist, each covers the other's weak spots so completely that it's a totally different experience.

It's an interesting feeling, isn't it? You don't really think about it, but there's an instant sense of "I'm armed" that's different from one or the other alone.

There's a thought process that goes with it. Take this 'for instance': As a part of that, I almost mounted my Seax scabbard facing my right arm instead of my left, several years back when I wrapped it. I was pretty keen on how quickly I could draw it with my right hand immediately after firing an arrow, without dropping the bow, but I decided against it on two grounds:

1) If I fire and then have to draw a blade, there's pretty well no chance I'm going to be able to fire again until after the engagement's over, or if there is a brief respite. I'd much rather have a sword in hand at this point.
2) If I'm already going to have sword in hand after I cease firing, I'd much rather have extraneous blades available to my left hand from this point on. If my sword is bound...say, buried in the edge of a shield or held to the ground by an opposing weapon, my unoccupied hand is within effortless reach of a heavy Seax to bash them away with OR an impossible-to-follow knife that can be slipped up between some ribs from even as close as grappling.

I'm not a combat expert, though I study it. I'm not yet trained to a point that I'd like to be...but what you're discovering is a slow process of stepping down in range, from a distance to point blank. I wouldn't advocate more than three blades on your person--that's getting into overkill--but much like Ursus's array of tools, there's a different tool for every range from an effective bowshot down to grappling that makes the solitary traveler-and-huntsman scenario a viable combatant in its own right, something that otherwise is hard to reconcile historically. Archers were archers, and useless at close range. Foot soldiers can be overwhelmed by archers or cavalry aside from judicious use of polearms. How does someone traveling alone get the job done?

There you have it.
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Leahcim » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:16 am

To resurrect a post from a bit ago...

Typically in my woods I get between 10 and 45 yards shots.... Shooting Trad at our wooded 3d shoots I think our stakes are setup between 10 and 35 or so....

To add to what's already been said... As far as what to pair a bow with or what kind of bow ... Man... That's such a personal skill thing... As a troop yes you would have more of a dedicated mix, as individuals your going to see a different approach from each individual depending on his strengths.... And also not all bows, spears,swords are the same ......

Good example..I am a useless swordsman... Period.... I don't carry a sword at all.. I carry a short hunting spear (actually a 5 foot iron shod staff tapered at the top for a socketed spear head which happens to be my main camp knife) unless it's war time then I do carry a winged hewing style spear... My main camp knife,a camp hawk and since my ranger is influenced heavily by Rohan I carry a Crimean Tatar bow... Between this shorter (53" with an easy 32" draw)but EXTREMELY efficient bow and a shorter hunting spear It doesn't feel cumbersome in the woods and I am honestly ready for any type of killing necessary...


Greg wrote:historically. Archers were archers, and useless at close range.


Going to argue this bit a little... Historically Archers where pretty highly trained soldier that had to do it all..... They wasn't armored but every archer carried a short sword, or an arming sword, or an axe and knew how to use it extremely well...

We have this romanticized vision of ranks of archers lofting volley after volley of arrows into an army at long range... And this really isnt how they operated.. yes.. volleys was a thing... But most of the archers was shooting in the flat range of the bows 30-60 yards or so.... And aiming at specific soft targets... So had to be prepared to go hand to hand
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Odigan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:25 pm

Leahcim wrote:Going to argue this bit a little... Historically Archers where pretty highly trained soldier that had to do it all..... They wasn't armored but every archer carried a short sword, or an arming sword, or an axe and knew how to use it extremely well...

We have this romanticized vision of ranks of archers lofting volley after volley of arrows into an army at long range... And this really isnt how they operated.. yes.. volleys was a thing... But most of the archers was shooting in the flat range of the bows 30-60 yards or so.... And aiming at specific soft targets... So had to be prepared to go hand to hand


"Historically" is a long time. And while there were variations over the centuries that more or less support one view or the other, overwhelmingly Greg's take is the more consistent one. In the Classical era, archers were considered auxiliaries, and this status changed little through the Medieval period, with the bow being very much considered a peasants' weapon. These were not individuals trained, equipped for, or expected to engage in direct melee combat. While they did invariable carry some sort of secondary weapon, this was almost exclusively for personal defense or to finish off the wounded after an engagement. In other words, if archers ended up in melee combat, something had gone very wrong, and they weren't fighting for the army, but for their lives. Instances like Agincourt which are often cited for the archers using their mallets to attack the French also take place when the enemy is already routed and/or there's nothing left to lose. Otherwise, if arrows remain available (and with hundreds of thousands, there usually are), the archers would continue to reposition as able to harrass the enemy.

Even in the case of mounted archers, their aim is to employ distance and mobility to control enemy movement. In this way massed archery is used something like landmines, creating areas of denial or funnelling the opponent to or from a point of engagement. And again, as light cavalry, horse archers could not be expected to withstand a charge of heavy cavalry. On horse or on foot once mobility is lost and range is closed against dedicated infantry, archers are practically speaking, doomed.
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Greg » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:30 pm

On horse or on foot once mobility is lost and range is closed against dedicated infantry, archers are practically speaking, doomed.

Much like the one significant weakness inherent in the Spear, actually. Once the effective range and standoffish characteristics have been passed and the spearman forced to choke up on the haft (if even able), he is reduced to an ineffective shadow of what he is capable when at length.

Good discussion!
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