Feb 11th, 2013 | By Travis P | Category: Hunting | Print This Article
If you are a hunter, take a moment to look at the equipment you use to hunt. A rifle or shotgun, maybe a compound bow, plus modern tree stands or blinds. You wear manufactured camouflage, perhaps even a formula designed to block your scent. You are the modern hunter, and there is nothing wrong with that—you are an efficient and humane hunter.
Have you ever thought of primitive hunting though? Can you hunt without guns or a compound bow? If a severe enough situation arises, can you hunt with only a spear?
Why Hunt Primitive?
A lot of people do it to build skills lost to our generation—lost to many generations, as a matter of fact. While these skills seem outdated today, they could be invaluable in the situation where modern conveniences aren’t available. Now I’m talking about an end of world scenario, but what if you’re simply stranded somewhere? Without your camouflage or your deer rifle, you still need skills to hunt.
I love to hunt, and I absolutely love learning new ways to hunt. I took an interest in primitive hunting merely as a hobby, a way to get back to the earth and add a greater challenge to hunting. And a challenge it is!
Skills Pay the Bills and Put Meat on the Table
It takes a lot of skill to effectively hunt, and even more so when your hunting with primitive weapons. One must master the skills of tracking animals and reading signs. Knowing one’s chosen animal is vital as well. You must learn the animal’s habits, when it’s out, when it’s sleeping, what it eats: all these questions must be taken into consideration.
You should also be able to recognize different animal droppings; this can help identify not only the animal you’re hunting, but also possible predators hunting you. Speaking of predators, it’s important to know other animals’ habits around predators as well, as it can help identify an area you should take caution in.
Modern hunters still use these techniques, proving that mastering the basics is necessary no matter what form of hunting you are doing. No amount of technology will ever replace the mastery of the basics.
The skills required in primitive hunting can be more difficult. One must master their chosen weapon. These weapons can be snares and traps, spears, primitive bows and arrows, and even simple throwing sticks.
Hunting with these tools requires you to be much closer to your prey than with modern weapons, which can put you in much more danger when hunting large game. Someone starting primitive hunting should start with small game—rabbits are great animals to start with. Rabbits are plentiful, harmless, and challenging enough to build your skills with different weapons. The skills of tracking rabbits can be translated to hunting deer and pig as well.
Tools of the Trade
The spear has been around a long, long time, both as a weapon of war and a tool for hunting. The first spears were merely sharpened sticks and evolved with rock and then metal spear heads.
Recently spear hunting is gaining popularity with a small niche of hunters. They use modern-made spears, and many have gone through courses to learn how to hunt with spears.
Gene Morris was considered the best spear hunter in the world; he successfully hunted deer, lions, boar, goats, and more—more animals than I can list here, in fact. He mastered throwing two spears at one time, one in his left hand and one in his right hand, with the goal of killing two animals at once. He successfully did this forty-three times. He was a true master of the spear, and he passed at the age of seventy-eight, in his tree stand doing what he loved.
One form of spear hunting that is gaining popularity is using an atlatl. Atlatls are shafts of wood (or aluminum in modern days) with a stop at the end that the spear rests against. This stop also propels the spear when thrown. An atlatl is held in one hand, gripped at the front end, and is used as a lever in conjunction with the throwing arm.
Spears are commonly used to hunt fish; spear fishing is much more popular than spear hunting. In a survival situation if you have the option to spear fish, I would personally suggest doing that, as it tends to be less challenging and less dangerous.
Bows are probably the most common primitive weapons used to hunt. My uncle is an archery fanatic and has recently gone from shooting a compound bow to shooting the more primitive self-bow.
A self-bow is a bow made from a single piece of wood. Self-bows are huge compared to modern compound bows, usually around the same height as the hunter. These bows require the archer to be much closer and more efficient with his shot to humanely kill an animal. These bows lack fiber optic sights, lightweight materials, and other modern conveniences.
Personally, it’s my dream to build my own self-bow and hunt with it. I cannot imagine the feeling of killing a buck with a bow my hands built. This way of thinking is becoming more and more popular with hunters, and it’s interesting to see hunters going back to their roots.
For sport hunting I can only suggest using the bow and spear, as I am a firm believer in humanely taking an animal and causing it no unnecessary pain and suffering. However, there are other primitive hunting weapons and techniques.
Trapping is the most useful of all techniques, allowing you to hunt and in multiple places at the same time. However, snares are also illegal in most states and can be inhumane. Snares and traps should be restricted to survival situations only.
Other weapons include the simple throwing stick, which is normally just a piece of wood that is two to three feet long with a slight curve. It is built to stun animals, but it has the ability to break bones and kill occasionally. It requires the user to be close and to be able to throw with accurate force. It is great for small game such as rabbits and squirrels in survival situations.
Primitive hunting is a unique trend in the hunting world, and I like seeing it personally. The primitive nature adds an extra edge and brings back skills that are on the brink of being lost by hunters.
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