Fishing, Hunting, & Trapping

How To Make A Hunting Bow: Complete DIY Guide

Bow and arrow
Andrew McKay
Written by Andrew McKay

The way many begin hunting is usually with a gun, but for those of you who wish to use a bow, you are at the right place as we go on to explaining how to make a hunting bow. Whilst the majority of hunter discover the enjoyment of hunting and enhance their skills, they usually look for a variety of ways to recall the early excitement. Bow hunting is a brilliant way to challenge yourself, as this is experience is really different to hunting with a gun.

Many hunters rapidly find their thrill especially when they go through the experience of being so close to their prey using a weapon that is silent. Whether hunting is your true passion or just something you prefer for those boring days, you must be familiar with building your very own equipment.

Importance of creating your own hunting bow

As you may know hunting is one of the most popular activities for people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. If you want to know how to hunt, you first of all must be familiar with the tools for the trade. The most popular tools used for hunting are a bow and an arrow. You may have come in touch with such equipment in general and sporting stores, which may seem a little expensive.

Alternatively, even if you do not visit such stores, you may be stranded on a desert or merely in your back garden with the passion of creating your very own hunting bow and arrow. The good news is you can do this with a relatively small amount of bucks and some spare time on your hands.

Making a hunting bow

Making your very own hunting bow is a lot less difficult than what you may expect. There is no need for you to be an expert or a master with DIY in order to create a functional hunting bow you can use for recreation and hunting purposes.

When starting, you need to consider the different types of wood, which are:

  • Yew
  • Bamboo
  • Willow
  • Lemon

All of these woods are perfect to use for a hunting bow and you need to ensure the one you choose, measures roughly a yard in length. This must be free of any coils or knots. A recommending tip is to make sure the wood is dry, but not so much that it reaches cracking point once bent. An important tool you will need for the entire process is a knife, which is sharp. Be sure to sharpen that pocket knife before commencing the project.

The first step to make a hunting bow is to begin with the natural curve of the wood. All piece of wood have this, but it may be easier to spot on some than on others. This is the most important bit as you don’t want to be carving it on the wrong side. If you do this, the bow will snap within the first use.

Wooden bow

Once you have distinguished the curve, you need to carve the wood into a shape similar to a boomerang. The middle should be fairly larger than the ends of the stick. E.g.) it the middle’s thickness is one inches, then both of the ends need to be close to ¾ of an inch. In order to assure the duration of your bow, it is best to wrap a tight strip of wet leather around the centre and let this dry in natural form. Due to this, the bow will receive its additional sturdiness and will also push arrows at a superior speed.

Once the shape has been carved, you need to tie the string. There are a variety of strings you can use for this purpose, such as:

  • Hemp
  • Fish line
  • Linen
  • Nylon
  • Dacron
  • Kevlar

Once you have selected the string you wish to use, it is required you wax this in order to promote durability and to provide protection against natural wear and tear. You then need to carve a cut towards the ends of the bow and ring the string around both ends. Your string needs to have a taut appearance, and not one that appear loose and floppy.

The hunting arrow

That’s it, or is it? Well it is called a hunting bow, so what happened to the boy? Our hunters bow is nothing without arrows, which is why you need to make the arrows that will fit inside the bow. These shouldn’t be too long as they will break. The arrows can be long sticks as it is both of the ends, which causes them to fly.

Arrow for bow

One of the ends needs to be facing out, which will be fitted with a steel arrowhead. In order for your arrows to have an optimal flying experience, you can always attach a couple of feathers towards the end that is closer to you.

Still, if you decide to go pro and want to try arrows specially created for hunters by specialists, take a look at our article on the best arrows for hunting.

Creating a hunting bow in your backyard

If you wish to make your hunting bow in your backyard, all you need is the following:

  • Machete
  • Hand axe
  • Draw knife
  • Rat tail file
  • Wood rasp
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenters pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Bow string

If you have the tools listed above you can begin the method of building a bow. The list above is a bare bones list and if you have additional power tools you feel comfortable using, then you can do this by all means.

Bow making

Listed below are the steps of making a hunting bow in the comfort of your back garden:

  • First of all, you need to select a tree. The majority of woods will work, but those with a slippery bark hickory works the best for a fantastic first time bow. The tree you select must be four inches in diameter straight with a couple of knots. You can then cut the tree down and cut the straight section six feet long. You must let this season for about six months.
  • After six months have passed, you can then peel off the bark using a draw knife. You need to choose the side that is the straightest and cleanest to lay your bow out on, using the pencil. The layout should be similar to the following: 4” handle section in the centre and 68” long. For the hickory, you must leave the limb wide or make this one and ¾” wide.
  • The machete and hatchet should be used to cut away wood that is not needed. The wood rasp may also be used for adding fineness for your work. Once the profile is cut-out, you then have to thin the limbs down. These need to be marked out so they are ½” thick than their complete length. The handle section must be left 2” thick. Again, the axe, machete, and wood rasp must be used to shape the limbs.
  • After the rough shaping is done you need to place one bow limb towards the floor and press against the handle. You need to look accurately to see whether the limb bends consistently. This process should be repeated with the opposite limb.
  • Finally, when both limbs are equally bending, you can use the rat file in order to cut the notches towards the tips in both limbs. This is the nock. You should attach the string to both nocks and look at this from the side. The limbs need to bend in an even manner towards a near semi-circle. If this is not what you see, then you need to scrape the wood from the harder limb. You should continue to do this until the limbs bend in an even manner looking like a semi-circle when threaded.

How to make an arrow for a hunting bow

Now that you have made your hunting bow, it is time to move on to the arrow, as a bow is incomplete without an arrow! Making wooden arrows with a traditional-style is an effective and easy procedure. Before modern arrows came into practice, accurate arrows were made using readily available materials.

Once upon a time, famous characters like Robin Hood were even found creating their own arrows from natural materials found in the growing forest. You can make wooden arrows by following the simple steps below with the need of using only basic tools, patience, and a little time, which will lead to an amazing tremor of homemade arrows.

The things you will need for this are:

  • String
  • 30” tall straight wood sprigs
  • Knife
  • Feathers

Firstly, you need to choose and cut a young sprig without any knots or branches with a straight section of roughly 30”. Then you need to use the knife in order to create a point on the end of the arrow shaft. After that you need to notch the other end of the arrow shaft using a knife; allowing the arrow to come into contact with the bowstring. And lastly, you need to cut three bird feathers down the center following the spike. The three half feathers need to be attached to the arrow shaft near the end that is notched. These need to be spaced evenly around the arrow with the string.

Making feathers for the hunting arrow

Making arrows for the hunting bow is an important factor to consider as these help the arrow stay in the right direction and move with extreme speed in the direction you shoot. Feathers are used on the base of an arrow in order to make is spin during flight; making it more accurate. If you are able to use bird feathers or have extra feathers, then you can use these. Alternatively, if you do not have these, then you can use heavy paper (card) for this. You may also use plastic as an alternative to paper – card.

You need to take the material you are using and cut triangles out of it. The triangle should feature legs about one and a ¼” by one three fourths inches (the legs refer to the triangle, those that aren’t opposite the right triangle). You need to glue these triangles to the base of the arrow, taking the second longest side near the base roughly an inch away from the bottom.

The triangles must be spaced out evenly around the border of the arrow. You then need to cut a little nick into the center of the base of the bow where the string sits into. Without this nick, it would be difficult to shoot the arrow.

Feathers for the arrow

Follow this simple procedure and there is no reason to why you cannot become an expert with creating the hunting bow.

Still, now that you’ve become an expert in building a bow, you may need some tips to help you hunting with the tool you created. If so, we have a great set of tips and tricks for bow hunting that you should know.

The bottom line

Now that you know how to create your very own hunting bow, it is time to get started. You surely need to get that practice in and get out there in order to experience everything for real. So, if you’re not familiar with the practice, take a look at our tutorial on how to shoot a bow and arrow and learn it step-by-step.

Have a brilliant hunting experience and encourage your family and friends – who also love the sport, to do the same!

Bow shooting infographic

Every hunter needs to make their own tackle because if he is unable to make or repair it, he will be unable to shoot for long. Even though target arrows, bows, and feathers can be brought in sporting stores, a true hunter must know how to make their very own bow and arrow. The truth behind manufacturing your very own bow and arrow is the fact that you appreciate them more this way.

However, it does take many attempts before creating the perfect bow and arrow, but you must know that practice makes perfect. A beginner may find his first couple of bows will be failures, but it won’t be long until he is shooting them! You only realize the true dedication and passion behind hunting once you put in that time and effort to creating that bow and arrow. If it’s made by you, you will also respect it more, not forgetting to mention feel like a true professional at the same time.

About the Author
Andrew McKay
Andrew McKay

Andrew McKay is a seasoned hunter and fisherman from Anchorage, Alaska. Andrew thinks that he is the luckiest person in the world, as he lives in the most gorgeous place in United States and does what he loves to do. As a member of Alaska Professional Hunters Association and International Hunter Education Association, he is always looking for the ways to improve his skills and to teach people around him.

  • RJ Araneta Magbuhos

    Can we really use bamboos for the bow? I think it will break just on the first use. But I really want to try hunting with a bow and arrow :D

  • The bamboo is one of the most flexible and resistant natural materials in the world so, yes, you can use it to make a bow. However, you must know how to choose the right length, width and state of the bamboo to avoid any accidents.

    • Andrew McKay

      Bamboo has been used for over the years to make fine bows. It is tough, straight grained, very flexible, and easy to work. It is used for backing on many traditional laminated bows. This bow is neither fine, nor traditional, nor laminated; but it is quick and easy to make.

  • Kevin Hill

    Just a few more tips to add: Used seasoned wood or wood that has been dried and stored in a cool, dry place for at least six months. Some insist on using wood that has been seasoned for at least one full year. Also read more about adding sinew-backing on your bow (deer backstrap sinew, deer leg sinew, and etc.) to improve performance, durability, and prevent breakage.

    • Andrew McKay

      Most people prefer hickory or yew for bow making. Between the two, a yew bow is known to hold greater depth and is capable of storing more energy. Experts suggest that yew is the best for longbows.

  • Andrew McKay

    You can make the best hunting bow by learning the basics, and have the correct material and tools.

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