While many hunters spend time hunting down the latest and most complicated hunting bows, some hunter prefer the simplicity of a self bow. A self bow is made from a single piece of wood with a string tied to it creating a D shape. In spite of its simplicity, a self bow can easily achieve the draw strength of fifty pounds.
Self bows are very common and can easily be purchased from retail suppliers. Because self bows are minimal in nature, the only additions generally seen on self bows are horn nocks on the ends of the bow and built-up handles. The simplicity of the design has many do it yourselfers cutting wood to create their own self bow.
DIY self bow makers feel that their bows are not just mass assembled products, but created true works of art and ingenuity. This makes each bow a one of kind. There are advantages and disadvantages to this and it makes self bows less predictable, but a skilled archer learns to become attuned to the unique properties of his particular bow. The sign of a good self bow is that the bow remains fully balance at the full draw position. The limbs should be as symmetrical as possible and stay in shape at full draw.
Hickory, pecan, osage, and yew are ideal woods for this type of bow. Materials like bamboo and red oak are not suitable because they cant handle as much compression. Shooting a self bow requires patience and practice and even the most seasoned archers must constantly sharpen their basic skills. There is a growing community of hunters who have found hours of pleasure in the back-to-basics primitive nature of hunting with a self bow.
Nate Davey, owner of 4D Outfitters, called me up out of the blue and asked if I was up for a management hunt. Well, 45 minutes later I turned into his gravel driveway. Nate’s property is a little slice of hunting heaven nestled right up to the Fort Parker State Park.
Randy (Nate’s guide) and I quickly climbed into a two-man tree stand. Nate sat 100 yards to our front, hidden in the trees, to watch the action. It didn’t take long. Within 15 minutes I heard twigs and branches breaking, followed by the deep guttural grunt of approaching feral hogs. 3 hogs came in at first. As they emerged from the trees I came to full draw with my 60 pound Martin bows, anticipating a quick shot. Another dozen followed within seconds. They approached from behind me on my left and stopped to feed on corn 17 yards to my front. It took some work to not put a pin on one of the two boars that easily weighed over 250 pounds. I could see their cutters curling up the sides of their upper jaw. I had to remind myself why I was there…culling.
While Randy began recording I picked out the cull, a pretty red 50 pound meat hog and had already been at full draw for 30 seconds or more. Little Red would not give me a good shot. A second good cull trained around the outside of Little Red. He was a beautiful little piebald and I told Randy, “I’m going to take the piebald.” Randy was ready, but that little piebald wasn’t. He would not offer me a shot either. Now, after being at full draw for well over a minute, I saw little 50 pound red hog with some piebald spotting train around the right side of the feeder. I whispered, “I’m gonna’ take the red one on the right. Are you on him?” Randy whispered his reply, “yes.” That little red piebald stopped for a moment and sent him a slick trickbroadhead that passed through both lungs. I asked Randy, “Did you get the shot?” Randy looked confused, “I thought you were going to take the piebald?” I must have had a look of horror because Randy instantly began apologizing. I told him to stop. It wasn’t his fault. He simply had not heard my whisper when I changed to the third hog.
We tracked him along a great blood trail through the briars to where he lay 30 yards from where I had shot him. What a great hunt. Nate has a spectacular place in 4D Outfitters. They are located in Mexia, TX have very reasonable rates and comfortable lodging. Randy is a first class guide. They both made me feel like family. It ain’t the Ritz, but it is first class all the way!
My name is Terry Ellsworth, I’m 46 and grew up in Erie County PA. I started bowhunting in 82 and shot my first deer with my bow in 83, it was a button buck that stalked from across an open field that had a electric pole in the middle of it for cover. I’ve have been addicted ever since and bow hunted every year since. I’ve taking many whitetails, 1 muley 3×3, 1 calf elk and 1 turkey . In 2000 I met a guy on a bowhunting chat room from Illinois and have been going there almost every year since. In 06 I took an 8pt it was my first from IL and every year i go and see lots of bucks. I also have bow hunted 5 times in Colorado, in 91 I shot my muley buck still in velvet that was the second trip there. My brothers and i took my father with us so he could go fishing . We never take guided hunts its all DIY . It’s really a great feeling of accomplishment. In Sept of 03 in Colorado my friend and I shot 2 calf elk, 2 minutes apart, while standing a few feet apart. Mine was at 15 feet, his was 25 yards. Then in November I shot a 11 pt whitetail that scored 135. I seen him at about 9:30 am and grunted him in, and guessed him at 25yds but shot under him and he walked away. At 2:30 he came back and I shot him at 20 yards. I sat all day waiting for him. In 06 I went gun hunting on the last day of PA season with a friend of mine there was 10 inches of snow and ice on the creek. I shot a 8pt across the creek and had to take my boots and socks off along with my Rivers west to cross the creek to get him. Then do it again to get him back across. My friend could not believe what he was seeing. That was my first buck with gun since 78. In 07 I had a friend from Arizona in to go hunting and on the way in we split up and on the walk in I shot a 11pt that scored 136 and had to cross the same creek to get him out but didn’t get wet this time. My greatest accomplishment is staying married to a great lady and putting 2 girls through college.