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How to carry compound bow on horsback?
I have been saving my coins and am going on a guided hunt in the Wyoming wilderness for elk in September of 2019. I want to know the best way to carry my compound on horseback so that it is protected. We have a 30 mile pack in besides the daily rides out to hunt once in camp. Thanks in advance for all that may comment. gottoohunt
Bow sling but all options are a rodeo waiting to happen
In the panniers of a good pack horse is the safest way.
There's no good way on the horse your riding on that I've tried.
If you're not an experienced rider on a familiar horse, try not to do this. If you are an experienced rider on a familiar horse, there is no easy or comfortable way. I've tried scabbards, backpacks, in-hand, slings ... most make riding very un-centered and uncomfortable for me and the horse. It's doable, but never ideal . Try the scabbard if you can -- it wins "Best of the Worst" prize for me.
I have been hunting off of horses for a long time and the best way I have found is........I took a strap off of a carry bag, the kind you can adjust. I cut it in half and put Velcro in the middle so it will hold together with strong Velcro but it will come apart if something goes wrong and you don't get hung up. I put some clip on's on each end, I " sling it over a shoulder " not over your head and push it behind me with the back of my arm.... adjust it as needed. That gives you one or both hands on the reins and you can grab the horn if you need to. We hunt in some very steep, nasty country every year and I have never had a bad experience . A lot of guys will tell you that they would never hunt on a horse while carrying a bow ....if you have GOOD horses and know how to ride and control a horse it is the way to go !!! If you put your bow in a pannier you risk the chance of the horse hitting a tree with it. The key to hunting on horses is....GOOD, IN SHAPE, BEEN THERE DONE THAT HORSES AND KNOW HOW TO RIDE/CONTROL A HORSE !!
Arrows in a tube packed in the panniers. Two heavy socks over the sight housing with a rubber band holding them on. Bow in a sling over my head and one shoulder, back behind me.
amazon.. trail-max guardian bow scarab
Looks good in a catalog but the one I had just like that one in the pic was a PITA . That horse doesn't know that's a high dollar bow he has on his side. If you never get off a wide trail it is ok but once you leave the trail all bets are off. I bought a new saddle bag made out of the same stuff that scabbard is made of and on the first ride it got destroyed from having to go between trees that weren't wide enough for all of us. You can pull your leg up out of the stirrup and get it out of the way but that scabbard is going to stay put and get pulled through what ever the horse goes through. Elk live in rough country !!
Horses love to rub up against trees. If it’s a add pannier then go for it. Otherwise I hold it in a sling and the reins in the other. If I need a quick exit strategy the bow comes with me. If you’ve seen a horse wreck you know that everything in the path is a broken, mangled mess. I don’t want my bow anywhere near that.
I’ve spent a lot of time on horses so this might not be the best for everyone.
I wore my backpack with the bow strapped to it on my goat hunt. The only thing that I had to watch out for was ducking under branches. The bottom of my pack rested on the back of the saddle so I did not have the weight of the pack on my shoulders. Horses are constantly rubbing against against trees so I would be leary of a scabbard on the side.
Bow Scabbard from Trail Max. I buy from Outfitters Supply. They gave 2. Buy the good one. The ultimate way to carry and protect your bow. Good for not poking your horse in the ass with site pins too!
maybe I would use a scabbard if I was riding through a treeless desert on flat ground. otherwise not a way in the world I am going to surrender control of the bow to an animal that will be banging it into every tree, brush and snag on the mountain and has the potential to go over on his side and crush it. you have ot be able to maneuver the bow as you are riding, to keep it out of harms way.
Bou believe me it’s the way to go. You hang it rearward and keep a knee over the front. Having a bow In your hand or hanging from your neck on a sling is NOT the way to go. In a dicey situation I bet you’d rather have more control over your horse and have the bow secure in a nicely padded scabbard.
I have a few good bow sling horror stories.
A Kuiu bow cover modified with a sling for me.
Several years ago in prep for a CO elk hunt via horse, I bought the better of the two scabbards.
After talking with the owner of the guide service, they strongly suggested I not use the scabbard. Horses (as I've learned in the Yukon) like to rub against trees as they walk.
I never used the scabbard on a horse, but it's in my truck, behind the seat and is used for storing my bow each hunting season.
Mule - I have got just as many bad horse scabbard stories. I would Never scabbard my bow when traveling through forested areas. Unless there is a high likelihood of riding up on an animal, I would use a sight with a dovetail mounting option that enables the sight to be removed and quickly installed. Sight is stored in the pack while riding. Same goes for the stabilizer and quiver. Arrows are in a tube attached to the pack. Bow is slung over my shoulder making it easy to steer through trees. If you are walking through an open prairie, a scabbard would work better. When walking through trees, use the sling method.
Here's a picture of mine on my back. I learned quickly that the arrows need to be in a tube and strapped to the side. This picture does not show it but the bottom rests on the back of the saddle so it is not touching the horse. I really didn't have any trouble with overhead obstacles....i just had to lean my whole body forward when I ducked instead of just my head
I have used both scabbards and slings. On short trips scabbards are ok, but for long hauls I've had bad luck. Seems to put stress on everything, I've snapped stabilizers, frayed bow strings/cables, sites pins have been jarred or something always seems to work lose.
I've settled on bow slings. I put it over my head with my left arm through so it rides primarily under my left arm against my body. I generally hold the reins with my right hand any way, and I still have use of my left.
Now I'll admit it's not the best situation if you ever have a horse that decides its rodeo time. But I still feel I have enough freedom of movement to exit if needed or settle him down in the saddle.
Have the guide/outfitter hand your bow up once you've climbed in the saddle, or if you're on your own, find a tree limb to hang it from you can ride up to once you're on the horse. I've tried climbing on with it over my neck. It can be done, but it's not easy...
I control my horse every step of the way. I’ve ridden many of them that like to rub trees. If you push off of the tree with your hand it throws them off balance. Do that a few times and they start to go around them. I’ve see so many arrows laying on the ground with sharp broadheads sticking up, broken site puns etc. That bow resting on the saddle is a rodeo waiting to happen. Adjust a scabbard properly and it does a great job. I look at carrying a bow when riding the same as texting and driving.
Bow sling for me. Strapping to a pack is a disaster when ducking under low hanging limbs and branches. A scabbard is a disaster on narrow trails. Not only does the horse love to use your bow as a wrecking ball against trees, if your leg/knee is under it, you are in for a long and painful ride.
For daily rides in timbered country, personal preference is a Primos sling cover on the strings and cams, with the carry strap removed and left at camp, good sight cover, and the bow held in my hand at all times while on the horse. If the ride was strictly on open tundra (rare), I might sling the bow on my back or side.
For long pack-ins, the bow in a cheap & light but durable hard-case (Plano type) sitting on top of the loaded panniers on a pack horse.
Agree, only rode in my hands. 10 miles in the wilderness with a week to hunt the last thing I need is a bow in 3 pieces or the horse going AWAL with my bow along for the ride.
Mule power is spot on. I put at least a hundred miles a season on with bow stored in scabbard. If attached properly they work extremely well. Never have had an issue with damaging any bows.
Wrangler and Mule Power, same results here. Scabbard worked flawlessly.
That pic of the Hoyt carbon is what you don`t want to do in the woods....if your horse takes you under a limb, you are going to duck....and then you bow and arrows are going. Tubing the arrows works and then sling you bow so it fit up under your armpit parallel with the horses back. You can use your arm to deflect any branches and if you lean slightly the bow will be in the middle of the horse....right behind his head and neck. That`s the safest place to be on a horse. A scabbard can work but I would remove the quiver and tube the arrows.
I would ask the outfitter how he prefers bows to be carried. He's probably seen it all.
+1 jdee There are horsemen and non-horsemen and the horse always knows which is in the saddle. Since I am in the latter group there is no good way to carry a bow other than in my hand and with boots on the ground.
I have a non-horseman friend who took two months of riding lessons before a guided hunt just so he was comfortable sitting on a horse. He said it was money well spent.
I've always used a sling but after reading this thread I'm going to try a scabbard
If you haven't spent time in the saddle, go take some lessons! It will be worth your weight in gold! Horses know immediately if you can ride or not and some can be pretty tough to handle. I was on my buddies horse and for the first 10 minutes he liked to see how many branches he could slam me into. this was on an eight hour ride, once we got it/ him straightened out, we got along fine:) As for the bows, we had them on top of his pack mules panniers, that mule would follow him anywhere and was incredibly sure footed! also, if you don't/ haven't ridden very much, I would invest in some really good bicycle shorts to wear under your pants. they will eliminate a ton of chaffing and you will be much more comfortable!
While not perfect the scabbard is the way to go.
If you want to fool a horse into thinking you know what you are doing try these two simple things. First do NOT let him eat on the trail! That is their first test of who is going to run the show. As soon as they try it give a short quick pop of the reigns. Don’t slack either do it every time!
And stare them down. With eyes on the sides of their head they don’t have to turn their head much to be able to see behind themselves. If they see you’re sight seeing they will try conducting another test of your manhood. Instead I look them right in the eye and say “That’s right knucklehead I have me eyes on you!” After awhile they say screw it this guy owns me.
On real long rides I have always used a dovetail bow site system. Take off the site put it in a horn bag ( a bag with two loops, handles that go over your saddle horn) take off your bow quiver put in bag , along with release arm guard and tools. I use a soft leather bow scabbard ,( can be attached as gun scabbard in front of you or behind your leg if you have a good horse. If your horse is a problem put bow on top pack of the best pack horse( attach to pack with bow pointed towards horses head and tail. put arrows in two hard arrow cases ( the small ones) with handles mount same as bow on two packs in case one is damaged . Its always a bad idea to have a large pack on the clients back or have a client with a bow slung over his back he is tied to it in case of a bear in trail, horse falls , horse rides over a yellow jacket nest, another horse wreck crashes into the clients horse. Always have bow in a Primos type of bow sling that covers the cams and bow string, even inside the leather scabbard. A broken string or bow cable spells trouble on a hunt. Your binoculars rain gear and riding gloves can also be kept in the horn bag on your saddle. Hope this explains a few of the problems on a horse back hunt.
Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions. I have been horseback most of my life, just never carrying a sharp string weapon. I will do some testing with a old throw away bow between now and the time I have to leave for the trip. I like the scabbard idea but know that most horses do like to rub you off on tree trunks along the trail and that could be a disaster on my bow. gottoohunt
If you let a horse do that you deserve it. If I see a guy on a horse carrying a bow I automatically assume he’s a flatlander and probably took his mattress home on the roof of his Lezbaru while him and his husband held it down with their hands out the windows.
Apologies in advance I’m just in a mood tonight. Lol On the other hand if you were offended well.......
I have to say that packing a takedown longbow is a breeze.
Set up with a tube side quiver, I take the bow down and slip it in the quiver with my arrows. Take a couple extra bowstrings in the quiver pouch just in case I fall and cut one on a rock. Take the broad heads off and put them in a hard case in a saddle bag because I really don’t want a train wreck with broadhead tipped arrows! Tie the tube behind the saddle and off you go.
Takes less than 2 minutes to put the bow together and put broad heads on.
No sights, arrow rests, pulleys, stabilizers, harnesses, etc. to deal with.
Amazing how difficult compounds are to deal with. Can’t believe anybody can actually hunt effectively with one of those contraptions!
Treeline how true! I’ve been wanting one for years.
The 2-piece slip apart like black widow works better than the three piece type of bows. No limb bolts to lose!
Here is the bow and quiver I took on a 12-day horseback trip up in NWT.
It also is much easier to throw in a duffle/backpack for the airplanes - one less checked bag fee!
I do like the newer style take apart system from Black Widow without the L bracket much better.
How do you spur your horse with a big scabbard between your spurs and your horse. When I use my horses for hunting we go hunting !! not just on trails. Need to be able to fully control him . A good horse works off leg pressure and spurring. A trail horse just walks up the trail and just about any one can sit on one and get to camp. Riding a horse to hunt is a different thing altogether. Again, I'm talking about being off trail, on game trails or just riding up the side of a mountain cutting your own trail where you need to be in control not walking up some beaten down trail that the horse walks up 100 times a year.....Big difference !!
jdee, My use of a bow scabbard has been on several sheep hunts and I assure you, much of the time was spent off trail in some of the nastiest terrain in the lower 48. Spurs may not reach the horse, but there is no problem exerting plenty of leg pressure. There are several ways to carry a bow on horseback, this is what worked best for me. I had a friend have a rodeo when an outfitter handed him his bow after he was in the saddle. The horse blew up and at the end, there was a broken bow and an injured friend. Horse wrecks could happen just as easily with a scabbard, there would just be less Broadhead tipped arrows lying around. Randy Ulmer used my bow scabbard during his Wyoming sheep hunt years ago without incident and that guy is a little more particular about his equipment than most of us. I'm not trying to argue which method is best for the thread owner, just stating what has worked for me. Ultimately he will decide what method to use and I wish him luck. Thanks, Ron
What he said. In Montana it’s mostly trail riding. The Forest Service actually prohibits off trail riding in the Bitterroot. But in Wyoming I’m all over the map. A little leg pressure does the trick. If I need more I slap the reigns over their hind quarters and off we go. I don’t wear spurs. The only ones I own are on my steel horse.
I did a sheep hunt this year and the outfitter used a bow scabbard. It was mounted toward the front. The day I shot my ram the horse gave us a rodeo (His Name was buck go figure) when crossing a rocky draw. I was just putting my foot in the stirrup after walking him accross, when he decided to start bucking. He went out of sight thru some trees and it sounded like my bow fell out in the rocks. We got to the horse and he was standing there like nothing happen. My bow was fine. Without that scabbard my hunt would have been over. It was exactly like the green one bigdog21 posted a picture of above.
I am around horses every day of the year, my wife rides, my kids ride . I just spent 3 days at the Odessa , Tx Sand Hills Stock Show& Rodeo with the horses . I live next to a wilderness and ride horseback in it all year long in ROUGH country and every time I have an elk or deer tag I am riding with my bow and the best way I know of is hanging off my shoulder. I can maneuver it or toss it if needed but I have never really been in a bad situation with it . I’m not trying to argue with anyone I just love hunting on horseback and talking about horses and hunting ......that’s how I do it .It gives me both hands and both feet to stay in total control. It’s all good.... Cowboy up !!
Toss it! Haha.
I wish I lived next to wilderness . Now I’m jealous.
Bow scabbard. I’m not a fan of the softer green ones. The brown ones are stiffer.
My partners and I have put thousands of miles in them over the years. Best 80-100$ spent. Exactly zero damage or out of adjustment errors in the scabbard. Although I have busted sights and rests falling when hiking tired and in the dark.
30 miles in Wyoming sounds like deer creek or ishawooa trailhead. I suspect if you are headed with an outfitter up there he has capable horses.
Ride the horse. Don’t just be a passenger and you will not have trouble bouncing off trees.
"maybe I would use a scabbard if I was riding through a treeless desert on flat ground. otherwise not a way in the world I am going to surrender control of the bow to an animal that will be banging it into every tree, brush and snag on the mountain and has the potential to go over on his side and crush it. you have to be able to maneuver the bow as you are riding, to keep it out of harms way. " - bou My thoughts exactly, but then again on my two Canada hunts we were busting serious brush. Although I'll never hunt on horses again (a whole 'nother story!), here's what worked for me (YMMV): A bow sling with a long stabilizer so I could cup the end of the stab in my hand. This took some of the bow's weight off my shoulders and helped me control the bow, i.e., steer it around the branches we were busting through. Again: YMMV. No single method works for every situation.
Yea toss it....... We were going up the side of a wet , steep grass hill one day and my horse stepped on a big flat rock that was covered with dirt and grass and started to slide down the hill on it he ended up falling on his side and slid about 30 - 40 feet down the hill. I pulled my leg out and tossed my bow to the side knowing full well that as soon as he got stopped he was going to get back on his feet no matter what me or my bow was doing. Not really a bad wreck that kind of stuff is bound to happen if you are in that kind of country long enough. If the bow had been in a scabbard it would have been toast I'm sure.... 1250 pounds of Quarter horse on top of it..... Bow was good to go and we kept hunting. If things ever go bad it gives me the option to toss the bow out of the way and maybe save it from destruction ...not slam it down... and get things under control. Works for me.
I have done the same with no ill effects. Had a primos sling over the cams and cables. We were side stepping a beaver pond area and the horse stepped in a hidden beaver run and fell over sideways. Pitched the bow into some swamp grass. Broke the carbon frame on my Kuiu pack when we landed. The bow was fine. Wouldn't use a scabbard. Just my two cents.
You have to admit that’s a once in a million miles incident. If it’s not I’d be replacing the horse not my scabbard. In most cases control your horse and you will be controlling your bow. Most rocks are visible as are other hazards.
Mule Power, that was an epic response lolololol
“If you let a horse do that you deserve it. If I see a guy on a horse carrying a bow I automatically assume he’s a flatlander and probably took his mattress home on the roof of his Lezbaru while him and his husband held it down with their hands out the windows. Apologies in advance I’m just in a mood tonight. Lol On the other hand if you were offended well.......”