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Thread: Spear Hunting?

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    Default Spear Hunting?

    Many surivival books talk about spear hunting- hence posting this thread in the "survival" section, versus the "hunting" section.

    We were arguing at work today weather spear hunting is actually feasable as a means of procuring food. And the question is simply, is it realistic to be able to hunt anything other than a porcupine (slow) or a rabbit (thinking it's hidden, and therefore standing still) with a spear? Or even better, what's actually been hunted with a spear?

    I've heard some of the stories of hunting bear with a spear, but in general, that seems to include weeks of baiting a bear, and then spearing it from a tree- which generally isn't feasable in a survival type situation. But rather, is it realistic to be able to, say, stalk within spear range of a deer or other game animal? Any tips or experience?
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    Talking

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Yes

    Yes spear hunting is legal in Alaska. Bear hunting is legal too. There was a hunter down on the Keani that has take 2 bears that I read about with a spear. I thought it might be illegal so I sent a message to F&G in Anchorage. But, when they replied they said that it was legal. I still have the email saved. So sharpen up the spear, do some practice and go bear hunting this spring.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Waking the sleeping bear

    Better yet ask an Anthropologist, or if you want first hand information ask a Native hunter. Native hunters still use harpoons to hunt seal. Fish spearing is a pretty common activity too, most spear fisherman I know prefer to target salmon. My grandfather used to tell stories of hunters using bird spears, when hunting waterfowl. When you think about it a spear can also be used to spear a beaver, if you have the patience. I have heard stories about native hunters years ago spearing bears, usually it was in the winter or early spring. The storyteller said that the hunters would locate a den and one of the hunters would poke at the sleeping bear waking it up, when the bear crawled out of the den the hunter stationed behind the den would run up and spear the bear in the rear end while the hunter in the front would spear it in the chest. Must have been a very effective method, they lived to tell the story. "True story".
    In a survival situation I personally would prefer fishing line and hooks or short lengths of gillnet webbing which can be used for fish or fowl, netting ptarmigan and waterfowl was the easiest method for catching birds back in my grandmother's time. Snares would get you rabbits, beaver, muskrat, otter, squirrels, and other small land mammals. Spears may have their limitations, but I would carry one for personal protection from large animals with teeth and claws if I was in a survival situation, would be better than a stick or a hand full of rocks.

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    Default

    I usualy take a survival gill net and a small role of snare wire when I go on longer excursions. It can be nice just to add fresh meat to the freeze dried fare without having to make extra noise or waste time on non target species. A spear would be effective on certain animals and fish. Fish can be caught bare handed if you find the right spot on a creek.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Atlatl

    Atlatls were also used here in Alaska by the native peoples. I used to hear stories about Native kayakers using them for seal hunting and Nukalpiaqs using them for caribou hunting. Most of the hunting equipment designed by Native people here in Alaska was very sophisticated.
    Here are a couple of titles of interesting books that have material on hunting equipment designed and used by native peoples in the Northern Hemisphere; Inua Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo, Crossroads of Continents: Cultures of Siberia and Alaska and The Eskimo About Being Strait. Their equipment kept them alive then and would very likely in a survival situation keep people alive today too. Enjoy

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    I just saw the opening of Tim Wells "relentless pursuit" seems like an over dramatic show however in the openin scenes they show a guy stick a hog with a spear.

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    Several years ago I was camping next to a river in Arizona, and I tried spearing fish. They were Carp, so they were large and moved slow. (Yes, some alcohol was involved!) I have to tell you...it was harder than I thought. I was never able to get one. I think if I was actually in a survivor mode in the woods, however, I would have tried a little harder.

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    If I remember this right, I believe spear fishing was illegal in Alaska 20-30 years ago. The exception was if you were completely submerged while doing the spearing. I just assumed that this was still the situation. Anyone know what the fishing regs are these days?

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Spearfishing is allowed in certain areas of the state under the federal subsistence management system.
    If I was in a survival situation and there was fish in the river or lake, and I was hungry I would not hesitate to spear fish to keep myself alive until help arrived. When I think about it further, I would use whatever method was necessary to acquire food. Would'nt you?

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    Spearfishing is allowed in certain areas of the state under the federal subsistence management system.
    If I was in a survival situation and there was fish in the river or lake, and I was hungry I would not hesitate to spear fish to keep myself alive until help arrived. When I think about it further, I would use whatever method was necessary to acquire food. Would'nt you?
    I agree. In a survival situation, I don't think you would be ticketed for spear fishing; if so, you wouldn't be in a survival situation.

  12. #12

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    For many years I took carp as a child with spear to keep them out of the irrigation gates.

    I still enjoy killing Pike by spear keeping the skill sharp.

    It takes a little practice, but once you learn to lead and allow for the light reflation, its like riding a bike.

    First secret is that you need a long spear shaft 5 1/2 -6 feet minimum, then a line to retrieve spear or spear head.

    You can spear without letting go(more like stab at) but the skill is to let it fly.

    If you want to try the next step carve yourself a hook out of a forked branch of a tree.

    Was a boy scout when this skill came in handy when a black bear got all of our food on a 50 mile hike in the mountains of Colorado. First I speared trout for food for the troop then built spears to get the bear that took the food. One spear in his rump and he was gone, I wanted his hide.

    Dumb things we do as kids thinking that we were mountian men.

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    Default

    Good to know about the federal subsistence use of spear fishing -- but I doubt I qualify. I agree that no one would care about survival use. In fact a whole lot of of fish & game regulations can safely be ignored in a survival situation. But I take all that to mean that I can't just go out and poke fish with a sharp stick when I feel the urge.

    I do remember kicking fish out of Indian Creek south of Anchorage when I was a rebellious teenager. But then we also snagged quite a few just below Bird Creek Falls too. Lucky for the fish we didn't think of spears. Shame on me!

  14. #14

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    My tribe used to use spears to hunt bear, though they never did it alone. I hear stories about how they would track a bear to its den, then force it out with smoke.

    More commonly, spears were used to catch fish during the salmon run, though I don't know of anyone who still does it that way. Spears & gaff hooks of this type had detachable heads that were retrieved by a fishing line. There's a book about indian fishing by an author named Hillary Stewart that is pretty informative on the subject.

    From a survival standpoint it might be productive to spearfish, but I can't see a spear being useful against anything but small, docile animals... at least not unless the hunter had a lot of experience. I keep one very large fish hook in my survival kit for use in a makeshift gaff, but creating a spear might be just as easy.

  15. #15

    Default Shadows of the Koyukuk

    In the book "Shadows Of the Koyukuk" it talks in detail bout how Sydney Huntington and a few others went spear hunting for a sow with two cubs with a spear by coaxing them out of the den in the spring. Its a great read.

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    Default

    Just make sure you stick the sow first.

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    Well, I went ahead a borrowed a survival book from a friend that has a good section on primitive tools, particularly hunting tools. It talked a bit about spears, atlatls, and primitive bows, and the construction and use of each.

    I went to the hardware store a couple of days ago and bought a six-foot by 1 1/4 inch dowell, but after playing with it a bit, I'm going to have to shave down its size and weight a bit. I hope pine will be strong ehough to start with.

    Anyway, I plan on basically shaving the diameter down to a lighter size- not sure how much I'll have to take off yet, and I'm hoping the six foot lenght will balance out. After that, I've got to figure out a spearhead- I've already picked up some sinthetic sinew, so I want to see if I can find a flint supplier.

    Also talking to that same friend, he was teaching me a bit about fishing spears. The bet at work mostly revolves around being able to hunt small- and mid-sized game, but I'd like to learn to spear fish eventually too.

    Too much to learn at once.

    And again, any inputs anybody might have...
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    Default frog spear gig

    I was just reading up on frog spearing in the lower 48 and I bet a frog spear gig would work great for a fish spear too.
    Also found this interesting website on atlatls. http://www.atlatl.net/

  19. #19
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    Default Gene Morris' book: Hunting with Spears

    Just found this book on-line all about spear hunting, Ted Nugent even endorsed it. The review states that Gene Morris has killed 366 big game animals in his lifetime. This has got to be the ultimate read for anyone interested in hunting big game with a spear.

    http://www.huntingwithspears.com/

  20. #20

    Default Dragon Slaying, only real...

    A long time ago, I heard a story of an Inuit hunter who killed more than one polar bear with a long spear.
    The bears were predating on his village, taking people in their sleep.

    What really made the seriousness of the thing real to me was his description of what he did to kill the bear (paraphrase):

    "...After we spotted the bear, I took up the trail to meet him alone. I walked sideways and crouched over, always hiding the spear, so the bear wouldn't recognize me as a man approaching. This let me stalk very close.
    Then I stood and called his name, to make him stop and let him know who I was.
    I looked him in the eye so he'd know I was there to kill him.
    Then I told him I was gonna kill him. Every move I made let him know I was there to kill him.
    I wanted him to be afraid of me. My only chance is to make him fear for his life. I want him to know I'm there to kill him.
    This makes him charge because he's afraid of me. This is what I want him to do..."

    He would then brace the lance and the bear would impale itself as he directed the point to mortally wound the bear.

    "Because the bear was afraid of me in the first, and now realizes I've killed him, he tries to run after he is stricken, but doesn't go far...."





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