Bows and Arrows were made using the natural resources and raw materials available to the Native Americans. They whittled bows from tough wood or bone and shaped them into a curve. They made arrows with a sharp stone head and lashed feathers to the arrow to make it fly straight.
What type of wood did the Indians use for the bows?
For the bow string, Cherokee men once used a strip of bear intestine stretched and twisted into a string. It was not the only thing used, but to them it was the best material, Grayson said. The skin of an older fox squirrel can also be used to make a string, as well as groundhog skin.
Bows and arrows have been around for a long time. Longer than the history of the Native Americans. Current theories suggest it was invented somewhere in Africa about 70,000 years ago based on prehistoric points that might be arrowheads.
American Indians made bows with wood from the osage orange tree. Today, osage orange is still a popular wood for bows.
Plains bows are commonly made of ĉaŋsuda (ash), ĉaŋpá (chokecherry), or watʾéyaga (juniper) in the north, and osage orange in the south.
Bows required both patience and skill and the process started with a straight sapling, or horn of a buffalo. The horns would soak for days and when pliable would be straightened and cut. They would then be layered with more horn strips to create the right size, balance and strength.
The Dakota Indians also used cord made from the neck of snapping turtles. Occasionally, plant fibers, such as inner bark of basswood, slippery elm or cherry trees, and yucca were used. Arrow shafts were made out of shoots, such as dogwood, wild rose, ash, birch, chokecherry, and black locust.
An Indian, therefore, mounted on a fleet and well-trained horse, with his bow in his hand, and his quiver slung on his back, containing an hundred arrows, of which he can throw fifteen or twenty in a minute, is a formidable and dangerous enemy.” The hunter’s ease and ability to discharge arrows rapidly was a clear
People in Africa invented hunting bows and arrows, probably about 64,000 years ago. Some of the earliest arrowheads come from South Africa.
However, broadly speaking, a native bow would max out at 50lb draw weight and have a maximum range of 150 yards (perhaps stretched to 200 yards for a good archer with an excellent bow).
As 1830s and early 1840s Southwestern traveler Josiah Gregg put it: “The arms of the wild Indians are chiefly the bow and arrows, with the use of which they become remarkably expert…at distances under fifty yards, with an accuracy equal to the rifle. ”
Bows were on average 50 lbs draw and a superb 50 yard range with the accuracy of the shots rivaling that of a rifle.
Bows and arrows were one form of hunting implement. For example, simple bows were used for smaller animals such as birds, and larger bows were used for hunting caribou and muskox. The Inuit created a variety of arrows, depending on the available resources and the types of animal being hunted.
Size and Shape Matters. Myth Number 2: The smallest arrowheads were used for killing birds.