Primitive Archer

Main Discussion Area => Arrows => Topic started by: trail walker on December 25, 2017, 08:10:12 pm

Title: Native American arrows?
Post by: trail walker on December 25, 2017, 08:10:12 pm
Ok so i have been a little paranoid about something for a while  and i need some opinions before i go nuts. So in reading the account of Ishi  making arrows and several other sources nowhere have i found that the Native Americans spined there arrow shafts to exactly mach their bows. It seems like they take the time to make the arrow and then use it. :o , It has always confused me that so much attention is payed to arrow spine. So if i am reading correctly (you tell me) they did not wast tones of time making and rejecting shafts. So now the question i lay to you, how did they compensate?

did there alternative arrow releases change things?
shorter arrows?
Would they just get in closer to the animals?

Please i would love all the input i can get. I am a little scared this topic could start WW3, but like i said i have been going nuts!
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 26, 2017, 05:12:15 am
I doubt that primitive man spined arrows as we think of it today but feel the spine of each shaft by flexing then getting them close. On my primitive arrows I only check spine to find the stiff side so I know how to line up the arrow. Stiff side goes against the bow. Many shoot and cane arrows are tapered at least slightly fo that helps plus, on mine I make them 30" for my 26" draw. I think the extra length helps the arrow get around the bow.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: bjrogg on December 26, 2017, 05:58:39 am
Anything I say here is just purely a guess. I have absolutely know knowledge of how the natives did or didn't spine shafts. I suspect like Pat says in that some makers could feel the spine fairly well and had a pretty good idea from feel what would or wouldn't match a bow well. I also suspect they became familiar with the materials they were using they probably had a pretty fair idea from physical size and weight. I also suspect that just like today some makers were more fussy than others and had a deeper understanding of how length, point weight, stiffness and weight F.O.C. Effected their arrows flight. It seems to me in my uneducated but unbiased opinion that many different levels of skills would have been scattered around the world.
Bjrogg
PS I also suspect some arrows didn't fly well and were discarded or tried with different bows.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: DC on December 26, 2017, 07:35:20 am

PS I also suspect some arrows didn't fly well and were discarded or tried with different bows.

+1
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: trail walker on December 26, 2017, 08:25:22 am
ok that makes sense. how off does an arrows spine have to be to throw you off badly at like 40 yards?
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 26, 2017, 09:29:58 am
By 40 yards the fletching has time to straighten the arrow out. At 10 to 20 yards spine is more critical I think. Most of us are hunting archers and 40 yards would be a very long shot.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: bjrogg on December 26, 2017, 09:59:09 am
I agree with Pat, its those real close hunting shots that you need a better tuned arrow for your bow. When I bareshaft I do it close. I like my arrow to straighten out it's flight in five yards or less. I'm sure there are much better shots than me on here but I think most guys Hunting are usually trying for that 15 yard or less shot without the animals knowing before releasing. At least that's my goal.
Bjrogg
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 26, 2017, 04:19:52 pm
In England and Europe where war bows are shot 100, 200 300 yards they don't spine their arrows at all.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: StickMark on December 26, 2017, 04:29:54 pm
Wish some ethnographer had interviewed about 500 to 1,000 Native Americans and wrote what they did regarding archery and hunting.   
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: dieselcheese on December 26, 2017, 10:03:19 pm
I had to reread Ishi's process of making arrows, and no where in there can I find mention of anything resembling a spine test or even a flexibility test. 
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 27, 2017, 05:34:42 am
If your life depended on your bows and arrows I guarantee you would be able to determine which arrows would shoot properly from your bow without a spine tester. Spining arrows is a relatively modern situation in the 12,000 history of archery, probably less than 100 years in practice.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Silver John on December 27, 2017, 06:30:42 am
Help clear something up for me.  Pat said he puts the stiff side of the arrow against the bow. When you flex an arrow, the inside of the flex is in compression and the out side of the flex is in tension.  Which is the "stiff side", compression or tension side?
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 27, 2017, 06:51:44 am
The up side that has the highest spine value.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Silver John on December 27, 2017, 02:25:52 pm
Thanks.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: loefflerchuck on December 27, 2017, 08:12:03 pm
Maybe I can have some short bow shooters with short draw -24" back me up on this. A short bow with a short draw can handle any arrow as long as the spine is stiff enough. So a 23.5" arrow shaft with a 70# spine will still shoot well from a 50# bow. Other than that I would think if your mind was always on your game and bow and you had idle hours in the day to work on arrows. You would see what arrow shot best from your favored bow and mimic that arrow over and over. I understand same size shoot shafts don't have the same spine. No doubt they knew this too.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: trail walker on December 28, 2017, 07:12:21 am
ok, thanks guys that helped clear some things up. :)
do you think that having the 9 - 12 inch flechings on the short plains bows might have been to stabilize the arrow within that 10-20 yard mark? because even though they didn't always hunt from horse back, when thy did they would need the arrow to stabilize in like 20 feet or less right?
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 28, 2017, 07:55:17 am
I think the surface area is what helps straighten out the arrow and not necessarily the length. A 9"x1/2" arrow vs. 5.5" by 3/4". I haven't done the math so it's just a guess.
 Some folks bare shaft tune their arrows. If a bare shaft flies well from your bow the fletching only helps when a broadhead is used.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: trail walker on December 28, 2017, 08:49:45 am
amount of surface area makes sense Pat B, but why go do you think to the trouble of making the feathers longer then? because if you have 1 arrow fleched with 10 inch skinny feathers with the same ones you could do 2 arrows with 5 inch wide ones?
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: bjrogg on December 28, 2017, 09:09:08 am
Trail Walker this is just a guess, but I suspect a nine inch fletch cut from 3/8 to 1/2" would be quiter than a 5" fletch 1"to 1 1/2" . Just st a guess though. I do know tall fletch is noisy
Bjrogg
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 28, 2017, 09:11:13 am
With Native arrows tradition probably plays the biggest role. With modern man, personal preference rules.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: txdm on December 28, 2017, 10:27:27 am
From Ishi in Two Worlds , I don't recall any mention of how accurate Ishi was from great distances, but many examples noted how stealthy and patient of a hunter he was. This gave me the impression that his shots were within a relatively close range with 40-45lbs bows.

I haven't learned if the same is true for Eastern woodland tribes, yet.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: JW_Halverson on December 28, 2017, 10:38:03 am
amount of surface area makes sense Pat B, but why go do you think to the trouble of making the feathers longer then? because if you have 1 arrow fleched with 10 inch skinny feathers with the same ones you could do 2 arrows with 5 inch wide ones?

Ok, to broaden your questions, why did Siouxan people use long and low fletching when Cherokee peoples used full feather two fletch?  I am going to hazard a W.A.G. and say that "style" had a lot to do with it.  That and tradition.

Boy howdy, did you ever hit a sore point with me!  It really is a pity that ethnography is a modern concept and came into the picture very late in the game. There is so much information that would come in handy from medicinal plants, to philospophy, to culture, to food ways, to technology, etc....we are often left guessing because while much was stamped out, quite a bit was simply abandoned along the way as well. We often forget that culture is never truly static, it is dynamic and ever evolving, too.

Wish some ethnographer had interviewed about 500 to 1,000 Native Americans and wrote what they did regarding archery and hunting.   
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: DC on December 28, 2017, 11:08:17 am
Just thinkin' out loud. If you had feathers that you could only get one fletch out of why not use the whole feather. If a little is good a lot must be better, right.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on December 28, 2017, 12:33:26 pm
DC, fletching steers the arrow with drag. Ideally you want as small of feathers as you can get away with and still get good arrow flight.
 I sometimes make 3 and 4 feather tangential fletching using whole 4" feathers tied around the shaft, with the inside of the feather facing up.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: DC on December 28, 2017, 01:15:22 pm
I was trying to think like a Native would have, they may not have known all that stuff. Longer feathers would straighten flight quicker but at the expense of cast. For hunting they may not have cared about cast.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: JW_Halverson on December 30, 2017, 09:39:12 am
I was trying to think like a Native would have, they may not have known all that stuff. Longer feathers would straighten flight quicker but at the expense of cast. For hunting they may not have cared about cast.

And when hunting bison, they were on horseback, inside or alongside the herd, shooting at very close distance (sometimes measured in feet).
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: SixRabbit on January 04, 2018, 09:01:40 pm
Ishi used hazel shoots for arrows. I've made 5 arrows from hazel. They were not matched by weight, spine, diameter or even perfectly matched by length. I was still able to shoot tight groups at 10 yards.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Pat B on January 05, 2018, 05:03:48 am
I agree SixRabbit. Most of my hardwood shoot and cane arrows are like yours. If they shoot well at hunting distance they go in my quiver.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Jim Davis on January 06, 2018, 04:02:10 pm
In the 1960s, early '70s, arrows were sold as "for bows up to" some poundage--35, 45, 55 etc.

No one even used the term spine before the 1920s and then they didn't mean only stiffness. The term came to it's current meaning sometime after the mid 1930s, when Klopsteg and Hickman and their fellow experimenters were threshing out the concept.

Howard Hill is said to have shot a new batch of arrows to see which ones went where he wanted them. The ones that didn't, he broke so they wouldn't get mixed in with the good ones.

With no spine tester, Horace Ford set a record in the York round in 1857 that was not beaten until 1943! Spine, swine, wish his score was mine, to hark back to Charlotte's Web.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: Black_Water on October 27, 2018, 08:50:00 pm
 I know I'm a little late to reply but my 3 tribes are all within regions of discussion I've seen here, Klamath (Californian) Apsaalooké ( northern plains bordering the sioux) Chiricuaha Apache (Southwest sometimes southern plains). Through the older members of my family oral tradition has consistently shared the motif that you just find the arrow shaft that shoots best and when you find it you look for as many similar shafts on that same plant or shrub etc. and that there is no specific science to it. You sort of just go by instinct and what feels trustworthy. As for long fletching on plains style arrows I cant speak for every one, but the men on my grandfather's side (apsaalooké) just said that the fletching was long to account for the lost height and that you didn't want the fletching to be to tall because in the majority of cases the arrows are designed to pass through your prey and if the fletching was tall then it would likely break or get ruined. As for the southern style like the cherokees and others I havent had as much experience so I cant answer why they kept the fletching tall.
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: jeffhalfrack on October 28, 2018, 04:07:26 pm
Hmmm good question,,,,,,but we still are finding artifact arrow heads all over the place,,,looks to me they shot a lot ,,,I'm just sayin,,sorry I have no answer jeffw
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: RandallH on November 06, 2018, 06:45:17 am
Is there a rough figure of how many arrows have been found so far? It would have to be in the thousands, right?
Title: Re: Native American arrows?
Post by: DC on November 06, 2018, 09:45:38 am
Arrowheads have been found in the millions I would imagine. Arrows rot, not so many of them I'll bet.