How To Make A Deer Hunting Bow

Need to know how to make a deer hunting bow? Well, probably the best and easiest bow for the new bowyer, a person who makes bows, to make is the primitive North American native flat bow. The flat bow is not only relatively easy to make, if one takes their time, it is also a very effective hunting weapon.

Tools needed to make a hunting bow will include:

  • Mallet
  • Large knife or machete
  • Medium knife
  • Various length bow strings
  • Dry straight limb or post

The process to make a hunting bow goes like this:

  1. Select your wood.  You want a straight thick limb or post, which is very dry. If you use a live limb you will have to wait for it to dry to work it. Hickory, ash and osage orange are generally considered some of the best woods to use.
  2. Split and select a quarter of your wood.  Use the large knife to split the wood into quarters. Split it in half and then split each half. Use the mallet to help tap the blade down through the wood. Select the quarter which is straightest, twist, warp, crack, and blemish free, including knots.
  3. Mark out and create handle area. Mark the center of the stave for the handle. This will be the thickest point of the bow front to back from this point on. When selecting this area you want to make the back of the bow, or the flat front part of the bow which faces the target, from the center most part of the wood. The belly or part that faces the archer should be from the outer layers of the wood.. So basically the front of the bow will come from the pointy end of the "pie" shaped quarter.
  4. Rough out your bow.  Using your large blade as a plane and draw knife rough out the general shape and form of the bow. You will want to flatten the handle width wise a bit, and then flatten the limbs in thickness side to side. Taper the limbs in width starting at a wide point near the handle and ending near the tip of each limb. Basically what you want here is a thick but formed bow shape when you finish this step. On tip is that you want to make the back of the bow from the first annual growth ring.
  5. Create string notches.  Use your smaller knife and cut a notch or groove around the tip of each limb for the bow string to fit into.
  6. String bow.   Use a long string and string the bow. You want a string that just makes a slight bow shape in the stave.
  7. Tiller the bow.  This is the thinning of each limb. Use the large blade and small blade to slowly, and we stress slowly, plane down the limbs. You want to tiller from the belly side of the limb. Take very small fine curls and work each limb alternately and in equal amounts. Work a small bit at a time on each limb. Do not work one limb excessively before the next. Occasionally pull back the bow to check draw weight and to insure that both limbs are flexing exactly the same.  When the desired draw weight is achieved stop tillering.
  8. Finish bow.  When finished tillering you can final sand and finish the bow in the manner of your choosing. You can stain it, varnish it, and decorate it according to your tastes.
  9. String the bow.  You are now ready to string your bow. Remember that the flat bow should not flex more than half of its length, so pick the string accordingly.

You have now made your hunting bow, enjoy and use it.  Do not worry if the first few attempts end in failure. Bow making is an art form as well as a skill, and takes some time and patience to perfect. But the end result is worth the effort.

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