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Survival Weapons – The Throwing Stick

July 23, 2011

Probably one of the earliest weapons used by man is the stick. It worked to supply food for our ancestors and it will still work today; because while we have gotten smarter and developed better technology, rabbits are still pretty much the same. The old man that taught me about surviving in the forest lived through quiet a few self-imposed survival situations. He once went a year living by nothing but hunting, fishing, and foraging wild plants. Anyway, he told me that whenever he took off on one of his survival outings, the very first thing that he always did was to pick up a stick. He could use the stick for hunting, digging, pushing briars out of the way, knocking nuts or nut cones out of trees, hammering on things, and a dozen other different uses.

There are very few hard and fast requirements for a throwing stick. It needs to be fairly straight, it needs to be good solid wood, it needs to be about the diameter of your wrist, and it needs to be about as long as your arm. You could hunt animals by throwing a rock at them, but a two inch rock has a very narrow killing zone. If you miss by two inches, it’s no dinner tonight. With a twenty-six inch long stick, you can miss by twenty-two inches and still bag your target. Pictured below: Throwing stick.

Your quarry may be a rabbit, a squirrel, a possom , a coon, a rat, or a bird. Any small game is susceptible to being killed or stunned by a thrown stick. I have even heard, but never verified, that deer can be taken with a throwing stick. It seems that this would take either a direct blow to the head, or a crippling blow to the leg that would allow you to run in and finish the animal off. Anyway, I don’t plan to go deer hunting with a stick unless I have to.

The old man taught me that if an animal is on the ground, like a rabbit, you want to throw the stick side-arm so that it skims across the top of the ground. If the animal is on a tree trunk, you want to throw the stick overhand so that it spins parallel to the tree trunk. This will give you the widest possible killing zone in either situation.

He also taught me that when you are stalking up on a target you want to already have your arm cocked back and ready to throw with one swift, clean motion. If you draw your arm back to throw, most critters will see the motion and be long gone before you can bring your arm back forward.

If you have a knife and a little time, you can improve your throwing stick by carving the middle part out flat, kind of like an airplane wing. This will help the stick glide a little farther before it drops to the ground. Pictured below: Three views of the improved throwing stick.



Empty two-liter plastic bottles make a great practice target with the throwing stick. Practice throwing at different distances and angles and before long you will be good enough to bag dinner.

One Comment
  1. james permalink

    Hoo boy, the number of little furry things I’ve eaten because I was smart enough to pick up a stick while stomping through the woods! Gotta say, my biggest and most surprising catch was a 15 pound turkey that, honestly, snuck up on me instead of the other way around.

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