Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Bows in reenactment

The subject of using bows was something that when I was involved with reenacting the French and Indian war caused quite a few strong opinions. To sum up the arguments on both sides:
Pro the bow
Woodland Indians used bows - to not use them is historically wrong and misleading. There is plenty of precedent for the safe use of bows in reenacting in the Dark Ages and Middle Ages - why not the SYW? Rubber tipped and backward flighted arrows are standard and there doesn't seem any harm done.
Against the bow
It's dangerous and would result in problems.

I'd be interested in what people thought about this subject.


  1. I would like to see more bow use in living history, but I think to use the bow in battle reenactments would be more dangerous than the present use of guns.

  2. Having fought in battles reenacting the middle ages time frame, i have been in battles with archers and crossbows, durring my 20 years doing this i have seen major changes in the safety rules from when i started. The arrow heads have changed from simple blunts to sofistcated specialty heads. While bows are HC for the 1750's + I see no safe way to use them in a battle that dose not use armor. The steel helmets used in SCA combat have face protection that blocks any projectiles over 1" dia. The current combat blunts are 1 1/2" dia. The bows used are limited to 30LBs draw weight. I can tell you that even fully armoered those blunts will leave a bruse. Against an unarmored person they could be seriously injured. At the very least all participants would have to wear helmets and face sheilds. This would not be PC for the F&I war period. I would have to aggree that the use of bows in battle would be too dangerous and should not be considered.


British Grenadiers at Fort Ticonderoga 08 or 09

 Pic by intercomcr on Flickr