The Long Dark Wiki


Archery is a survival skill that involves the use of a survival bow to hunt animals.

Archery's ability to attack from a distance means that a player can attack animals from positions of relative safety.


Archery requires some practice to use effectively and several factors should be taken into consideration with its use:

  • Draw speed: The draw speed for a survival bow is a lot slower than aiming the hunting rifle.
  • Horizontal sway: When drawn, the bow will sway from left to right affecting the arrow's flight accordingly. When it tilts to the right or left, the arrow will fly a bit to the right or left of the center of your aim. The sway increases if the player is tired.
  • Vertical targeting: arrow flight trajectory forms an arc. Farther targets may require aiming higher.
  • Arrow flight speed: arrows fly much slower than bullets, so the target's movement should be taken into consideration.
  • Usability: the bow, unlike the rifle, cannot be fired while crouched unless the player's archery skill is Level 5.


Players need certain types of equipment before they can start practicing archery.

Survival bow[]

The survival bow is a craftable, aimable tool used to launch simple arrows at targets. No hard sight exists, and the player must estimate when aiming. The bow's condition will degrade about 2-3% per shot and cannot be repaired.

Simple arrow[]

Simple arrows are reusable ammunition for survival bow. Arrows embed themselves in most soft targets when fired from a survival bow. 

Arrows arc as they travel, so aiming needs to take account of how far away the target is, as well. Arrows can kill animals instantly, but more commonly cause massive bleeding wounds that will drain the animal quickly. Arrows are retrievable, but take damage each time they hit something. An arrow that reaches very low condition becomes a broken arrow, and is unable to be fired from a bow. It may be harvested for an arrowhead and two crow feathers.


Main article: Hunting

Hunting animals to kill and then harvest their flesh is an efficient means to acquire food and materials in The Long Dark. Shooting animals with projectiles, such as arrows, is the most effective way to kill game while completely bypassing the animals' natural defenses. Arrows move too quickly to be blocked or dodged and can be fired from outside the animal's zone of perception.

Critical hits[]

Critical hits are random occurrences, but are more likely in an animal's designated critical areas. Shots to the head and neck seem to have the best chance to cause a critical hit, with shots to the front shoulder and chest being second. Shots to the feet are immune to critical hits.


Direct hits to an animal with an arrow that are not a critical hit will cause a bleeding wound. Animals will bleed out according to which area they were shot in. Multiple shots to the same area will not make the animal bleed out any faster. However, shooting an animal in an area that bleeds faster than a previous wound it has already received will cause the timer to reset and the amount of time to bleed out changes to the amount of time required for the new wound. This makes it beneficial to just wait in most cases, especially when shooting again could provoke the animal to attack, or flee meaning the animal would have to be tracked down again. Also, waiting via sleeping, passing the time, reading, etc counts as time towards bleeding out, but the animal will move at an accelerated speed so will wander just as far as if you had waited in real-time.

Hit zone
Animal Head Chest Hind Foot
Rabbit Instant Instant Instant Instant
Deer 20 minutes 25 minutes 40 minutes 120 minutes
Wolf Instant 40 minutes 45 minutes 60 minutes
Bear 45 minutes 120 minutes 240 minutes 240 minutes
Moose N/A[1] N/A[1] N/A[1] N/A[1]
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Moose do not bleed out.

Skill levels[]

Archery Skill is increased by scoring hits on live wildlife with the Survival Bow, crafting Simple Arrows, or by fully reading the research book "Stay on Target". Multiple copies of the book can be read, each granting skill points when fully read.

  • A shot Simple Arrow striking a live animal (except crows) grants 1 skill point.
  • Crafting a Simple Arrow grants 1 skill point.
  • Stay on Target grants 10 skill points (5 hours of reading).

Once players have reached a new skill level, they unlock the effects described in the table below.

Level Skill points Effects
1 0
  • Basic archery skill
2 15
  • Bow sway reduced by 25%
  • Arrow damage increased by 10%
3 40
  • Bow sway reduced by 50%
  • Arrow damage increased by 10%
  • Critical Hit chance increased by 15%
4 75
  • Bow sway reduced by 75%
  • Arrow damage increased by 10%
  • Critical Hit chance increased by 25%
  • Bleed Out time reduced by 25%
  • Per-use condition loss reduced by 50%
5 125
  • Can fire Survival bow when crouched
  • Bow sway reduced by 75%
  • Arrow damage increased by 25%
  • Critical Hit chance increased by 50%
  • Bleed Out time reduced by 50%
  • Per-use condition loss reduced by 50%