An effective trap, or a bad idea?
There are plenty of survival traps out there that are both reliable, time-tested, and perhaps most importantly, legal. Then there is the bow trap, otherwise known—perhaps humorously—as the self bow. It functions very differently than most of the traps in common use today because it actually works by firing a projectile—in this case an arrow—to fatally wound or kill small game outright. Now obviously there are a number of issues with this kind of trap, such as the fact that it is not guaranteed to be fatal. Since the trap can’t very well aim itself, the arrow may strike the animal but still not cause a mortal wound. Secondly, the trap has no solid method of retaining the animal, even if a rope should be tied to the end of the arrow. Lastly, the trap is also very dangerous to humans.
That’s why they would likely be considered a booby trap, which are illegal in many, many places.
That doesn’t mean they’re ineffective. The bow trap still exists today because it was useful in the past, and some small tribes still allegedly use the bow trap to hunt wild hogs. Properly built and with the right materials, the bow trap can be surprisingly powerful—even though it is not meant to shoot long distances.