From the 1911 Boyscout Manual


September 20, 2009, 11:46 AM
I don't know if this has been discussed before. If it has mods feel free to close/ delete:

The modern hunting gun is an irresistible weapon of wholesale murder, and is just as deadly no matter who pulls the trigger. It spreads terror as well as death by its loud discharge, and it leaves little clew as to who is responsible for the shot. Its deadly range is so fearfully great as to put all game at the mercy of the clumsiest tyro. Woodcraft, the oldest of all sciences and one of the best, has steadily declined since the coming of the gun, and it is entirely due to this same unbridled power that America has lost so many of her fine game animals.

The passage was showing a comparison to archery, as archery was deemed:

The bow is a far less destructive weapon, and to succeed at all in the chase the bowman must be a double-read forester. The bow is silent and it sends the arrow with exactly the same power that the bowman's arm puts into it--no more, no less--so it is really his own power that speeds the arrow. There is no question as to which hunter has the right to the game or is responsible for the shot when the arrow is there to tell. The gun stands for little skill, irresistible force supplied from an outside source, overwhelming unfair odds, and sure death to the victim. The bow, on the other hand, stands for all that is clever and fine in woodcraft; so, no guns or fire-arms of any kind are allowed in our boy scout camp.

I am curious. I don't think there is such a division today. But I think it explains some odd ideas about conservation that I run across from time to time.

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4v50 Gary
September 20, 2009, 11:50 AM
by Sir Baden Powell, founder of Scouting.

Then when your rifle has gone off, don't throw up the muzzle in a hurry, but do like all old scouts, continue to look along your sights after firing to see how much you have jumped off your aim in firing, and try and correct it next time.

Shooting at a fixed target is only a step towards shooting at a moving one like a man. Firing at moving objects is, of course, more difficult, but more real, because you will not find a deer or an enemy as a rule kind enough to stand still while you shoot at him, he will be running and dodging behind cover, so you have to get your aim quick and to shoot quick.

The very best practice for this is always to be aiming at moving objects with your staff, using it as if it were a rifle.

Aim first at the man, then moving the muzzle a little faster that he is moving, and fire while moving it when it is pointing where he will be a second or two later, and the bullet will just get there at the same time he does and will hit him.

September 20, 2009, 12:03 PM
Given that this was 1911, I find this passage fascinating as well:

The old scouts, our own pioneers, very often had to use the rifle and the hatchet and the implements of war. However, those days have passed, and we are living in a non-military and peace-loving age; and the glory of it is that, whereas these men took their lives in their hands and by dint of rifle and sword did their part in helping others, our modern civilization gives the Boy Scouts of America an opportunity to go out and do their good turn daily for others in the thousand ways that will benefit our American life the most. Sometimes they will have to risk their lives, but it will be in case of fire or accident or catastrophe.

Many Boy Scouts would go to Europe to defend the aristocracy in the "Great War" that claimed more lives in Europe than any previous war.

September 20, 2009, 12:18 PM
Interesting. It sounds like the Scout leadership was influenced by the Altrurian/Utopian ideals that were being spread in the early part of the 20th Century. I've read Scout manuals from the 1950's and 60's which are comparable to army soldier skill levels I and II in the areas of woodcraft.

September 20, 2009, 12:28 PM
The gun stands for . . . sure death to the victim.Isn't that what you want (when hunting, at least)?

September 20, 2009, 12:33 PM
Sir Baden Powell, founder of Scouting.

In 1910 Boy Scouts were organized under Colin Livingstone into a national organization. Whereupon a dramatic change in doctrine took place.

September 20, 2009, 02:31 PM
I won't rag on the BSA.... But I'll never hop in a canoe with another BSA alumnus...
Diving 20 feet into 40 degree salt water to retrieve a dumped rifle and revolver cured me of that...

Despite the inherent flaws.. Todays BSA does allow for firearms instruction..albeit only single shot...probably a safety/liability issue...


September 20, 2009, 02:49 PM
I have a bunch of old scouting manuals, recall that was POST Civil War, post Spanish American was and PRE WW1, there were a LOT of Utopian/Theosiphists running around promoting do good legislation like the temperance movement and pacifism. Scouting was deeply involved in local churches at the time and this likely reflects that attitude.

You really can't take a quote like that out of conext of the time.

Oh yeah, and marksmanship was my FIRST merit badge.

September 20, 2009, 02:59 PM
So. . . a gun is a weapon with no finesse and barbaric by nature since it is only used to deliver, "wholesale murder". . . . which means one COULD assume that a bow, being the much more clever weapon, is a testament to how well woodcraft can murder with much more finesse. Man. . . the Scouts sure have changed since I was there. On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, to murder with my woodcraft skills, with much more finesse. . .

September 20, 2009, 03:11 PM
You really can't take a quote like that out of conext of the time.

In truth all quotes are out of context of the time. But certainly this quote is telling:

There is no country in the world less warlike than ours, and no country in the world that more potently argues for universal peace.

The manual, while addressing various wars; completely ignores the quite recent US Army genocide campaign in the Phillipines less than a decade previous. In fact the treatment of all of the wars is quite telling. The manual ignores history and pretends that the US can do no wrong and instead focuses on instilling patriotism.

I think the break with reality by focusing on a false idealism was what promoted the idea that a bow was morally superior to a gun. This is something that seems to run throughout the manual.

For the record though I don't think that this is entirely representative of the organization today. What I do think is that this type of thinking led to some interesting doctrine intitation and foundation building for some future leaders of the 20th Century. Within a year there were more than 400,000 Boy Scouts in the US.

Man. . . the Scouts sure have changed since I was there.

Whoa, I am pretty sure you were not there in 1911. That would make you at least 112 years old!

September 20, 2009, 03:21 PM
Poly ticks, debates over the nature of the organization, and debates involving morality comparisons are off topic, and I'm tired of deleting off-topic posts.

Sorry that some of y'all couldn't see your way clear to remaining topical to THR.

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