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

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

Postby Elleth » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:16 pm

I got out for an hour or so of stump shooting this afternoon and got reminded again of just how limited a bow in the forest can be.

Now that I finally understand what it is that I'm doing when instinct shooting, I can pretty reliably hit a slightly-less-than-torso-sized stump at around 20 paces most of the time - most of my misses are misjudging drop with my fairly low poundage bow. (I imagine the warbow shooters won't have that problem).

Past that 25-ish yard range though... I've noticed that I really don't have that many options. The furthest clear shot I *really* can get - unless it's straight along a cleared logging road - is about 25-30 paces. Perhaps a bit more on an old logging trail, but elevation changes and the tree understory make that a dicey proposition. Once off the trail, there's lots of underbrush just waiting to knock an arrow offcourse. This is a pretty typical shot:

merf-stump-shooting.jpg
merf-stump-shooting.jpg (73.75 KiB) Viewed 850 times


I'm curious what the conditions are like where you guys are tromping? Not prepared ranges I mean, but where you hike. Even if you can't bring a bow, I'm sure your eyes are still gauging things.
What kind of shots are actually available to you with a bow? Do you think a real Ranger in your environment would carry a bow as a fighting weapon, or would it be largely superfluous?


As an example, for me:
Terrain: varied hills- some steep climbs, but mostly gentle slopes.
Vegetation: mostly young (10-20 yr) hardwoods, with one area of more open pine forest
Farthest uninterrupted range: 270 yard (+/-) hay pasture, with grass growth up to 3-4' high depending on time of year. (really slows walking and makes finding arrows next to impossible, so I don't shoot there except in early early spring)
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Iodo
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Iodo » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:02 am

Interesting topic, my archery exsperiance is limited to target shooting at a club and as you probably know already, I can't carry a bow as part of my kit because of UK weapons laws.

However, that aside, I know my favorite ranging woods exstreamly well and can answer your question:

Since I'm not familiar with the performance of the kind of bow's your using I'll answer the range question according to what I would get if I was to take my bow ranging. (26Ib Hoyt Satori with aluminium arrows, shooting traditional so off the shelf and no sight)

Terrain: mostly steep hills.
Vegetation: Varied between different patches as it's artificially planted forest. Forest is almost all pine with a little dense natural woodland. Between patches of forest there are meadows and above the tree line, open moor land.
Farthest uninterrupted range: Open moor land, unlimited (except for hills and depressions which provide easy ambush sites), highest plants are gorse bushes (about 4 feet). Meadow, largest size about 300 yds, grasses reach 3 feet towards end of summer. Finding arrows in both would be near impossible.
In forest: In the older more open woodland I might be able to get 30 yds. In the younger more recently planted dense woodland I would be lucky to get 15 yds.

Would my bow be an effective weapon on an average range for me?
I would say yes, almost half my time would normally be spent on on open ground where an enemy approaching could be seen for quite some time. In the most open of the forests I still think 30 yds is enough for a bow to be an advantage. However in the younger denser woodland, which I usually avoid unless absolutely necessary, it would be rendered totally useless. If weapons laws allowed it I would probably carry a bow.

Next time I'm there I'll try to get some photos of typical terrain.
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Greg
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Greg » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:26 pm

20-35 paces is a good estimate.

I try to think in terms of *effective* range, not just accurate range. It's the same thought process as hunting. If I can't reliably hit a spot the size of a lid from a jar of peanut butter, I'm too far away to take a first shot at an orc in a line. The first shot has to count. It has to effectively/ethically slay the orc/deer, etc. Morals don't actually come into play with Orcs, but effectiveness sure does!

That thing about poundage you mentioned...we had a chat about that on our trek this past month. Odigan has a fair amount of experience with trying warbows and such at events and among acquaintances in the past, and noted that heavier poundage in English longbows served the same purpose that heavier poundages do in modern archery...slinging a heavier arrow. The range of the bow doesn't really change...it's the force at impact at that distance that's increased. Modern traditionalists shoot r/d longbows or recurves upwards of 60# to maintain speed behind heavier arrows, not to increase speed out of the gate. The speed of the arrow should be plenty to make a fairly straight shot at twenty paces due to being well-matched to the bow. Lighter bows, lighter arrows. You may be having this issue not because your bow is light, but because you're shooting some heavier points and/or shafts.
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby TaylorSteiner » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:45 am

Me too. About 35-40.
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Ursus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:24 am

I’d say 40ish maybe a bit north of that if I’m really on that day but likely much less.

I live close to the Illinois River. Much of the land around here is largely flat field country with a healthy amount of undergrowth in the timber. In some areas closer to the river it’s a downright tangled jungle.

As a devout warbow shooter I tend to agree with Greg and Odigan on the matter of impact over range. Many of my arrows are between standard wood arrows and traditional warbow shafts in weight. It’s the traditional shafts that hit home the hardest though for weights sake I’ve reduced mine to lighter versions. That said I do think a warbow can gain a bit more distance depending on the arrow but at a dramatic loss of accuracy and impact of course. I’ve hit standing targets with mine at 60 yards with no small amount of luck but if you can drop a running orc at those ranges you are a better bowman than I’ll ever be and I’m glad you are on our side.

Much depends on which bow I’m carrying as well. Most of the time it’s my warbow but if it is my shorter pack bow my entire method and form of shooting changes. With the warbow the anchor point is very low as I draw straight down my jawline past the angle of my jaw. With this and the form needed to draw it I do not aim other than looking at the target and allowing my body to adjust instinctually. With my little pack bow the anchor point is higher and I tend to sight down the shaft since I can only draw it to my nose due to its short draw length.

As a whole I’m a swordsman/close combat specialist that can pull a cord as well as any so yes it is a valuable part of my kit. Do I plan on the enemy lacking the reaction skills to let me get off more than a shot or two before things get personal, not really.
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Elleth
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Elleth » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:37 am

I'm sure you gentlemen are right about the heavier poundage bows managing these shots better. Between drop, loft time, and power: even the 45-50 pound bows I can manage seem rather marginal.

I try to think in terms of *effective* range, not just accurate range. It's the same thought process as hunting. If I can't reliably hit a spot the size of a lid from a jar of peanut butter, I'm too far away to take a first shot at an orc in a line. The first shot has to count.


That's rather the cause of my musings. Given that "accurate bow range distance" seems so close to "just a few breaths of closing distance" I'm starting to wonder whether a bow's worth carrying at all - at least for some of us.

It's so iconic though. :mrgreen:

Edit... come to think of it, I think the question isn't "whether the bow is worth carrying at all" than "whether the bow is practical for a single person."
The mixed spear-and-bow small group sounds like an entirely different question, where each covers the weaknesses of the other.

So related question: if you were going alone into woods where orcs might roam.. assuming you could put whatever on your belt but had room for only one in your hands: bow or spear?
Or is that the wrong question? Maybe Ursus (and WETA/Viggo) are onto something with that "packed little bow for creatures, but generally depend on something long and sharp?"
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Elendur Amloth » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:18 pm

We've experimented with a combination. I've found that a bow and sword or a spear and sword are manageable but not so much bow and spear as both of your hands are being used to carry for the most part. I love the spear as a weapon and we practice with it probably more often than with the sword. It seems that from Tolkien's description of the Rangers of Ithilien that all had swords but there was a mixture of bows and spears:

'Two had spears in their hands with broad bright heads. Two had great bows, almost of their own height, and great quivers of long green-feathered arrows. All had swords at their sides, and were clad in green and brown of varied hues, as if the better to walk unseen in the glades of Ithilien. Green gauntlets covered their hands, and their faces were hooded and masked with green, except for their eyes....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
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Ursus
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Re: Woodland archery - what's the longest shot you get?

Postby Ursus » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:16 pm

Elleth wrote:So related question: if you were going alone into woods where orcs might roam.. assuming you could put whatever on your belt but had room for only one in your hands: bow or spear?

Or is that the wrong question? Maybe Ursus (and WETA/Viggo) are onto something with that "packed little bow for creatures, but generally depend on something long and sharp?"


I would still say bow for hunting sake number one.
And number two would be that if I decide to get the jump on two or three orcs I’d rather use the advantage of being able to thin the herd before making close contact.

For what its worth I truly do favor my big bow and often praise it on the forum but “in world” I would consider it more something I would carry to augment a groups striking power. As an often singular traveller I am usually content with my small Weta inspired bow and quiver.

The reason I’m often not pictured with it is that I just don’t like wearing my gear over my cloak. Also I don’t have a desire to take my smaller arrows the direction I did with my warbow arrowbag and so often end up taking the big bow along instead. When I do take the small bow I switch my pack over to a style very similar to your bedroll/snapsack setup and just deal with wearing thing atop the cloak.
"Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters – but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy."

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