Hunting with Bow and Arrow: The Epitome of Rewilding?

Having your picture taken while poised with a bow and arrow drawn seems to be a cliche among rewilders. As though hunting with a bow and arrow is the epitome of rewilding. I’ve always found this frustrating, for several reasons.

First, bow and arrows are more of a weapon of warfare than of hunting. Arrows are ammunition for multiple targets. An Atlatl and dart is designed to be a hunting tool, and is still probably more efficient at it. A skilled hunter would only need a single arrow, not a quiver. There is a great video by Atlatl Bob about this.

The second reason I hate this bow & arrow picture as the ultimate of rewilding is that it is part of this fake masculinity.

The third and most important reason, is that like all primitive skills, it distracts from the philosophical meanings of rewilding. Reducing it to a superficial action. Civilization was built by people who hunted with bows and arrows. That doesn’t make you a rewilder. There is a faux-cool look.

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What kind of epitomical picture do you propose replacing such a cliche with?

Hahaha. Perhaps, a controlled burn? Planting a seed? Maybe it isn’t possible to capture the essence of rewilding in a single photograph. But if we are to use one image, the bow and arrow has so many other connotations that it seems to distract more than to root someone in the authentic experience of rewilding.

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Planting a seed sounds good. In many respects. I love that idea. With a basket showing many more…

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How about an Image of a person with their bow and arrow, with a game animal that they have taken? Do you think that is an accurate portrayal of rewilding?

I agree with you about your main points. I would like to see more of those folks showing some dedication to archery, and learning to hunt successfully with there bows, and choosing to dedicate themselves to the hunt. I have hunted most of my life, and my journey has taken me from Hunting with a rifle, to a compound bow and finally to a primitive bow. To me, hunting is essential to my personal rewilding. Had I never been interested in hunting, I would never have found my way to the concept of rewilding. I cannot thrive without meat. I have lived for a few months only on wild gathered vegetables, and to be honest, I found it extremely difficult without meat, as I could not maintain the energy level required to feed myself on a diet comprised only of plants. That being said, I think hunting with a rifle is just as valid as hunting with a bow, but it does require a dependence on industrial technology that manufactures the rifle, ammunition ect. I believe hunting with a handmade bow is as important to rewilding as gathering and eating edible plants. With the concept of rewilding as a transition culture, its important to remember that in the present time, it is important to follow laws. Atlatls are Illegal for hunting big game in Oregon. One can’t do much rewilding from jail. To address the point of a skilled hunter needing only one arrow… in an actual hunting scenario, this is not the case. Even a skilled hunter misses a shot from time to time, or a follow up shot is required to humanely dispatch game. Imagine if I were on a two week hunting trip in the mountains, and I missed a shot with my single arrow. Without more arrows, my hunt would be over, and I would have to return to my home, or base camp, to get another arrow.

I enjoy this topic, and I can be useful as being the voice of an experience archer and hunter.

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Thanks for asking. With your post, and going over this topic again, I think I can now express why I liked the seed-sowing idea so much.
The image of sowing a seed, or maybe an acorn from a basket full of acorns, tells me about the start of a long and slow process. A process that requires time, faith and dedication, a process referring to both the growth of trees as well as that of the sower. A process that one cannot speed up. An image that creates space for dreaming and imagining those trees grow. And it wouldn’t surprise me if it made people wonder why anyone would ever do that. Qualities that I find in rewilding, too.

While I recognize the personal growth, dedication, love and much more that you as a hunter may experience in your relation with nature, I do wonder if any hunting images would instill (yearnings for) those same experiences as strongly in someone who has a different approach of or opinion on hunting.
For me, they just don’t challenge the “I want it now”-mindset enough, I guess.

I don’t and can’t hunt at this point in life. As much as I value all life, not just animals, I can’t bring myself to kill something that makes cries out audibly. I cry enough just picking an onion. :confused: While I agree that archery is definitely a misrepresented “primitive” stereotype, I also believe the most efficient weapon is whatever we have the most draw to. That is what we will find most need of in this present incarnation.

Perhaps I’m a little defensive over this topic; my boyfriend/husband is an archer, and his passion for archery dates back to childhood. His given name even means “bowman”. As for the bow being more of a warfare than a hunting weapon…Humans are animals, thus by definition, warfare is technically just an extension of hunting our own species. And quite frankly, the human population does need reduced more than any other species. :stuck_out_tongue: Cannibal hunting season please?

The bow also has a symbolic meaning in many cultures, or at least it used to. Even the sound of a twanging bowstring is sacred in the Shinto faith. Actually, and we could be wrong, but my boyfriend and I believe the advent of stringed musical instruments might be related to the invention of the bow. Confirm or deny, anyone? Either way, he has more to say on this topic. If only he would make an account.