Modding a recurve bow to make it quieter

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YouTuber Survival Lilly has tons of information on how to build a survival camp in any conditions. In this video, she mods a commercially available recurve bow for stealthier hunting.

It's all done with beaver puffs, velcro and cotton. In case you're not familiar, beaver puffs are a lot like those fuzzy microphone wind screens and are available at most sporting goods sellers.

I'm waiting for the collabs between Lilly and the Primitive Technology guy!

How To Silence A Recurve Bow (YouTube / Survival Lilly)


Beaver Puff:


It is a good basic instruction, but I am not sure “modding” is the best word for using normal accessories in the manner for which they were designed.

Also, the ones I have seen at archery shops are made from nutria. They should call them rat puffs.


What is it that makes a nutria seem more similar to a rat than a beaver, to you? I would have said the opposite. The tail, maybe?

The tail is a not-inconspicuous difference. Beaver pelt also has much thicker underfur.

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Unlike bullets, arrows do not generally travel faster than the speed of sound. An animal with good hearing and quick reflexes could be startled by the sound of the bow and move in time to dodge the shot.


“Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.”


You say they ‘could’, but do they?

I mean bow hunters, presumably, use the current, only slightly louder, method at the moment. I assume they are reasonable successful at this, otherwise they would do something else. And yes, maybe the animal does have super hearing and starts to move, but doesn’t that just impact the tenderness of the meat? You will still hit.

Against humans though, I would see this as a massive advantage.

Everyone I know uses a string silencer or dampener. Most compound bows come with them, probably because of the difficulty in restringing.
My bow is a Bear Takedown, which I bought years ago because of Deliverance. In that film, Burt Reynolds also used string silencers.


Flag everything; let mod sort it out.

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A couple inches of movement could easily be the difference between a hit and a miss if you’re hunting small game like squirrels or rabbits. Even for larger game the goal is to hit vital areas precisely as possible so the animal goes down relatively quickly and painlessly.

I just do archery for target practice, not hunting, but I understand that bow silencers are pretty common for those who do hunt.

Outside of Hollywood and comic books nobody really uses bows to hunt human beings. If and when the number of archery-related deaths ever starts to approach the number of gun-related deaths then perhaps we can discuss what kinds of regulations might be appropriate. In the meantime the image of these devices falling into the hands of ninja assassins seems a bit sensationalistic.


The bow in question was particularly loud, due to having hollows in the riser that essentially acted as resonating chambers (something the manufacturer ought to have corrected…). This isn’t a matter of a new method or anything - it’s just a modification to an annoyingly loud bow to bring its sound more in line with typical bows.


Based on a quick google of something like “bow hunting noise”, it seems like reducing the noise of one’s bow is a very common concern among bow hunters. Apparently what will often happen is that an animal will start to bolt at the sound of the shot, and still be hit - but now instead of a clean kill, there’s a wounded animal suffering a slow painful death, and possibly endangering the hunter.


No, every bowhunter I know uses string silencers, without exception. I haven’t hunted in a long time, but I use the rubber band type silencers not the natural fur ones. They work about the same as far as I can tell with my craptacular hearing.

Bows aren’t cannon. You need to precisely hit a specific spot or you may well have to spend hours tracking an unnecessarily suffering animal. If the animal merely lifts its head to listen, that can be enough to ruin the shot.

In my admittedly limited personal experience hunters are much more aware of the suffering that meat eating entails than supermarket shoppers are, and hunters are willing to make the extra effort and expense to limit that suffering. I am sure there are many exceptions, but that’s been my experience.

Nah. Humans are nearly deaf compared to deer!

Edit: Scooped by @dragonfrog!




You can use those; but the adorable squirming is murder on your accuracy.

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how does a beaver puff differ from a dead cat?

It’s probably because of the recent suppressor thread leaving wounds raw.

No biggie.


That’s a logical conclusion, but the whole place is a bit flag happy lately as well.


I mean, the animals supermarket shoppers buy almost certainly underwent considerably less suffering than the prey of a hunter.

Well, for mammals. Avian slaughter is usually… unsettling.