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This Is Where We Stand

The first archer carried a bow for survival. The weapon served in both defence and offense against enemies; it supplied food. His descendant, sheltered by the relative safety of the city, relies on bookish education and social skills to live. The first archer endured harsh conditions and lived only as long as he skillfully deployed the complex set of survival arts passed to him by his teachers. This is not conjecture: we have only to read of the Otztal Iceman to appreciate the fickle and hostile nature of the environment our forbears faced.

Ozbow is about Traditional Archery. It is dedicated to the unbroken line of archers stretching back into antiquity from whom we derive our knowledge, be that skill in the hunt, or in the simple pleasure of making some or all of our own equipment.

It is a site for those who feel our modern world has taken away some things that were essential. The embrace of technology has entailed a loss of everyday 'handiness'. We easily cope with electronic gadgetry that confounds earlier generations, yet lack familiarity with the simple things that once attached humans to the cycle of life: lighting a fire, catching a fish, crafting a bow from a wood stave, tracking animal sign, taking responsibility for a death that, through proper use, sustains life.

While not dismissing the modern forms of archery related to the compound bow, we choose to carry on the traditions of simple stick and string, use of modern materials notwithstanding. The compound is a formidable weapon, with its own delights in the hands of a devotee, and we extend a warm welcome to non-traditional archers and bowhunters. However, the focus of this site is away from the technology and mechanization of the modern world, and towards that of our past.

It is also about a concept that can seem elusive, and - perhaps consequently - is not discussed as often as it might be: Hunting Ethics. We believe this may be helpfully defined as a code embraced by the hunter who always endeavours to effect a quick, humane kill. It is the belief of the hunter who hunts to experience an intimate connection with nature. This hunter is largely disinterested in 'trophies' and the act of killing has no attraction in isolation from the hunt itself. It is a code further in evidence when the killed animal is used for food, clothing and other non-wasteful ends.

Much is made of the threat posed to bowhunting by various groups, but Ozbow believes both the greatest danger, and the only salvation, lies with bowhunters themselves. By our actions we are known.

We will endure, as those who passed their knowledge to us endured. We will continue to live the life that is our heritage, and in part, our hope for the future. We will pass on our skills to our children, our friends, and all those who ask. Taking our own place in the line of forbears we will ourselves, forbear.

This is where we stand.