Full Guide To The Caddo Bow And Arrow (With Measurements)

This article explores the Caddo bow and arrow. We will take a look at the Caddo bow used by the Caddo tribe, the arrows used, and how archery was used in the Caddo tribe. So, before we begin we will take a short look at what the Caddo bow is and what it was made from.

And from there we will break down the Caddo bow in detail, with relevant drawings and measurements provided.

So, what is the Caddo bow and what was it used for?

The Caddo bow was made from whitewood or bodark wood. This was a common material used to make Native American bows. The Caddo bow was 42″ in length and just 1″ wide at the bow handle. Making it a very slim bow. As with most other Native American bows the Caddo bow was decorated on the back of the bow with lines and shapes of carrying colors. The Caddo tribe used their bows for hunting and occasional warfare with the colonies and other Native American tribes.

Now, that we finished the summary of the Caddo bow. Let’s continue with the brief overview of the Caddo tribe and then proceed to the main breakdown of the bow and arrow used.

Who Were The Caddo Native Americans?

Caddo is a term used to describe a large group of people who shared the same culture and spoke more or less the same language. They inhabited modern-day territories of U.S. states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and parts of Texas.

Today, the federally recognized tribe has its headquarters in Oklahoma.

Now, that we discussed the brief overview of the Caddo tribe, or better yet, the Caddo culture (since it was more than just one particular tribe). Let us move on to the Caddo bow itself.

Breakdown Of The Caddo Bow

The Caddo bow was a self bow made from whitewood or bodark. It was rather short at just 42″ in length. And for a selfbow also very slim. With the bow handle being just 1″ in width. While the bow was made from either bodark or whitewood. The bowstring was made from animal sinew or plant fibers.

The Caddo Bow

Above you have an accurate drawing of what the Caddo bow looked like. Courtesy of Encyclopedia of Native American Bows and Arrow that you can get on Amazon by clicking here. As you can see the Caddo bow has drawings on the back of the bow, which follows a similar theme to Native American bows of the area.

The colors used on The Caddo bow are: red, blue, yellow, and green. And as you can see the colors were used to draw interesting geometrical shapes. I could not find any practical reasons as to why it was such a common occurrence in Native American Archery to draw on the back of their bows. It was simply done to a great extent.

When it comes to the bowstring the Caddo Native Americans used animal sinew for the bowstring. Again, a common material in bowmaking among the Native American tribes. Given that they tried to live as harmoniously with nature as possible it makes sense they tried to use every piece of the prey they captured.

Now, that we finished with the Caddo bow let us proceed with the Caddo arrow, its dimension, and what it was made from.

The Breakdown of The Caddo Arrow

Caddo Arrows

The arrows the Caddo Native Americans used measured between 22 ¼ and 22 ¾ inches. Arrow shafts were made from dogwood. As with the material that they used to make the bow the reason they used dogwood is, that it was plentiful in their immediate surroundings.

The fletching on the arrows was made using immature bald eagle feathers and some arrows had turkey tail fletchings. These were wrapped with sinew. While some other tribes glued the feathers and then wrapped them around with sinew.

I found no records of what the arrowhead was made from but given their closeness and established trade with the colonies it is safe to assume they also started with flint arrowheads and then upgraded to iron arrowheads.

How They Shot The Caddo Bow And What Thes Used It For

Male members of the Caddo tribes shot the Caddo bow using the technique of instinctive shooting.

So what is instinctive shooting in archery?

Instinctive shooting in archery is a way of shooting the bow where an archer simply points the bow and arrow towards the general target and releases it. Through repeated practice, the archer hones its instincts and can achieve a great deal of accuracy.

Things that distinguished instinctive shooting in archery from other more standard forms of shooting
is the lack of an anchor point on the archer’s face. And of course, that instinctive shooting is normally done at short distances.

The members of the Caddo tribe trained from a very early age on the use of the bow. So, by the time they reached adulthood, they managed to achieve very good accuracy with their bows.

Which they used often when hunting and fighting with other tribes or European powers.

In Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read this article on the Caddo bow and arrow. Hopefully, you learned something new. And if you wish you can continue learning by visiting our next article on the Native American bow the weird-looking Penobscot Bow.

Hands down, the most unique Native American bow ever.

Or continue down the line in our series on Native American Bows by checking out this article on the Seneca bow.

Take care

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