A Brief History Of Hunting From The Earliest Days
Archeology all over the planet confirms that hunting tools, that is, weapons, were some of the first items that we made in the ancient history of mankind. Flint arrow heads and spear points are some of the most prevailing articles found around the world.
In those ancient times, people hunted for food and fought each other. We do not know, but it likely that men and non-pregnant young women hunted animals and collected fruit, nuts and berries, while the older family members looked after the children.
It is unclear when bows were developed, but certainly more than two thousand years before Christ or four thousand years ago. Earlier than this, hunters probably crept up on or ambushed their quarry and then ran after it, throwing rocks and pointed sticks or primitive spears perhaps with fire-hardened or stone points.
It is unlikely that they often killed their quarry out-and-out, they probably wore it out until it bled to death. This method of hunting deer is still practiced by some hunters in South Africa and elsewhere.
As people lived and learned, so more sophisticated hunting articles were invented and improved on. The first such item would have been the spear and the second either the throwing arrow or the bow and arrow. It is likely that the throwing arrow came first. This weapon is still used by some traditional Aborigine hunters in Australia.
Recurve bows and longbows dating back to 2,000 BC have been uncovered all over Europe and Asia. It seems that the longbow was more common in the north and the recurve bow in the south. Recurve bows can be shorter than longbows and still retain their power, which suits shooting from horse back or chariot.
As farming developed, so did civilization and more and more often, hunting wild animals was left to specialist. The creatures that they killed would be swapped for other items or, later, sold for money.
For the majority of people, hunting became recreational, a sport or a game and the animals they killed in their spare time they called ‘game’ and we still do now in English.
Most peoples of the world did not only develop weapons to hunt with, they also trained animals to help them. Dogs, whose forebears were wolves, were almost certainly the first whose help was sought. Some dogs were used to recover the gave after it had been shot and fallen into the bushes or the water, other dogs really did the killing.
Later still, the aristocracy would hunt with no intention of consuming the animal at all: foxes in Britain and lions in Afghanistan. This is still done today. Likewise with falcons and eagles.
Other animals were used to help chase prey. Horses equalized the speed difference between man and buffalo or deer. Elephants were used to even out the strength of tigers and offer a safer platform from which to hunt.
Nowadays, few people need to hunt to survive, but it is still a popular activity, even though for many it is a one time a year event. The most legendary hunting trips were and still are the safaris, despite that now more people shoot with video cameras than with rifles.