A History of Longbows for Hunting

Archery has always been a popular sport, and longbow archery may be the purest, most basic form of the sport that exists. From pre-history through to modern times, some form of archery has been present in most cultures and practically all continents, but it wasn't until relatively recent history that the longbow came to be.

Longbow archery, which is also known as the English Longbow, and is also called the Welsh Longbow (which is a type of tall bow developed for archery), is a powerful type of bow that was developed during the medieval era, which occurred between 500 - 1450 A.D.

The longbow is a tall bow, standing well over 6 feet in length if placed on the ground, and has been used both as a weapon of war and a weapon for hunting by the English, the Scots and the Welsh. The longbow was particularly effective for the English during the 100 Years' War (1337 to 1453) against the French. And the longbow served those who used it well for a large part of the medieval era, well into the introduction of the classic and powerful crossbow, which uses compounding technology to make for a more powerful weapon.

The classic longbow from centuries ago was made of a wood called yew, while ash and other strong and flexible woods made a good longbow as well.

Using a process that often takes as long as four years, the longbow's structural wood pieces were painstakingly dried then gradually shaped and curved to for maximum efficiency and strength for arrow launches. This process can be shortened considerably by wetting the wood before final shaping, but classic longbow purists insist taking this shortcut by wetting can result in a much weaker longbow.

The draw weight (the force required to pull the bowstring back into launch position) for the classic longbow can be quite high, as some require up to 160 lb. (pounds-force) at a 30-inch draw length.

Maybe that's why ancient pictures of longbow warriors show the men as well muscled and strong-looking, as they would have to be very powerful to effectively use an ancient longbow!

Modern longbows typically require 60 lb. at around 28 inches draw. Of course, along with a much easier draw force comes a much shorter arrow trajectory - the arrows will travel less distance from a modern bow.

While there aren't any records of arrow shot length for the classic medieval longbow, experts estimate its range could be as great as 249 yards, given perfect conditions. In contrast a modern longbow can travel about 200 yards maximum. It's no wonder that the modern longbow will shoot an arrow a shorter distance than that of the ancient weapon - consider the difference in draw force, 160 lb. vs. a mere 60 lb. for a modern weapon.

Traditional archery involves such bows as the longbow and the recurve bow. Bows of both varieties have been found dating back to 2000 BC. It appears that the longbow was more prevalent in northern Europe and the recurve bow was more widespread in southern Europe and east from there all the way to Japan.

The modern compound bow can attain a heavy draw weight by using relatively little physical strength compared to traditional bows by the use of a set of pulleys or cams, however still many people prefer to use traditional bows. People appear to want to get back to the origin of archery.

Longbows are very simple implements, traditionally made from one piece of yew or ash. Recurve bows could also be made from one length of wood, but more often, the tips would be made from wood and horn or bone. Remember that the tips of a recurve bow point to the front when the bow is unstrung.

Because of the recurved tips, a recurve bow is more powerful than a longbow weight for weight or inch for inch, but recurve bows are typically fairly short, so the standard longbow is much more formidable than the average recurve bow.

However, both models of bow take quite an amount of bodily strength to draw them to full power and hold that draw to take aim.

Modern longbow archery is alive and well, thanks to ancient hunters and warriors developing and refining this very important weapon.

If you’re considering purchasing a longbow there are some things you should consider. Longbows have been around for many centuries and are one of the simplest bows that are available today. With strong roots in England, these bow were used for hunting and also for military campaigns for hundreds of years. A longbow is obviously long as its name suggests, but just how long? Usually a longbow will be about as tall as the person using them. The do not offer a large recurve like a "recurve bow" and from the side they resemble the letter "D" in the alphabet.

Most often longbows are made from a single piece of yew wood, which is a soft wood that can easily be damaged or marked. What you will find when looking for a longbow is that each one has a distinct feel and although two models may look quite similar, they will shoot differently. Look for a longbow that is lightweight and don't let its nimble look fool you, as these bows are powerful. For men, a longbow with a draw weight of about 30 to 50 pounds, while women will want to look for a 20 to 35 pound draw. Those that choose to use a longbow will have to settle on a style or form of using a longbow properly or results will be poor. Because longbows do require a fairly high degree of skill to shoot accurately, it might be a good idea to take some archery lessons to improve your form and accuracy.

Longbows can be purchased in many different sporting goods stores and hunting stores, but for the best quality longbow made just for you, consider having one custom made. If you're a serious archer, you won't mind paying the extra money to get a longbow bow that is made just for you from quality materials and by a professional.

If you would like comprehensive advise to which bow is best for you, please contact Combat Australia today!