The Best Natural Weapons That You Can Find In The Wild

April K.
By April K. February 15, 2021 09:26

The Best Natural Weapons That You Can Find In The Wild

By now we can probably all say that we would easily survive in the wild with the tools we have at our disposal and with the preparations we have in place. But one thing we often forget to consider is how well we would do when in the wild, with nothing at hand.

This scenario can seem daunting, but we believe anyone can overcome the challenges that raw nature has to offer with the right know-how.

While finding food and water might seem the obvious focus, many forget that there are some prerequisites that they should meet before attempting to find either.

One of these prerequisites is finding the right materials to use so that you can craft a weapon. The idea here is to create something with multiple purposes, such as hunting, self-defense, cooking, building a shelter, and more.

So, let us look at some of the raw materials you can expect to find in the wild and how you can turn them into a reliable tool for survival.

Understanding the Idea of Weapons from the Wild

Before we get into what kind of weapons you can make, you should have a clear understanding of one thing: the weapons you will make using raw materials from the wild will be primitive.

You cannot expect these weapons to deliver the same performance as your hunting rifle, and you will have to practice making and using them.

The Best Natural Weapons That You Can Find In The WildThe easiest way to understand it is to think of the weapons cavemen had to use. They had to analyze anything and everything around them.

They had to look high and low and had to spend time crafting these survival tools to better their odds of staying alive in the wild.

When the time comes for you to do the same, you want to be ready. You want to already understand which weapons you can make with which materials because you might not have the time to learn from scratch.

Related: How To Make A Rope Out Of Common Plants

Start with the Most Important Weapons from the Wild

Arguably the most important tool or weapon to craft when you are out in the wild, is a knife. Having a knife means you have something to defend yourself with, hunt with, cut other materials up with, and is relatively durable.

While you can certainly craft a knife with bone or wood, you will find that stone – without a doubt – lasts the longest and delivers the best results.

The Best Natural Weapons That You Can Find In The Wild

To make a knife from stone, you will need the following three things first:

  1. Your ‘core’ rock: This is the rock that will ultimately become the knife. You want your core rock to have a large, flat face on one side since this will allow for faster shaping.
  2. Your hammering stone: This is the rock you will use to carefully shape the core rock into a knife. You will use it to chip away at the pieces of unwanted rock on your core rock until it holds the shape you desire.
  3. Your refiner rock: This rock will naturally have a somewhat sharp edge that you will use to refine the blade edges on your core rock after you have shaped it with your hammering stone.

With time, you will become more adept at turning stones into knives of increasing quality. Just keep practicing until you feel that you have the hang of it. You never know when you might need to have this skill.

Related: How to Make Your Knife as Sharp as the Devil Himself

Note: a quick way to make a simple knife is to smash animal bones. Smashing them will usually yield some sharp fragments that you can use.

While these bone knives will not be able to do much cutting, they will certainly work for piercing. They will not last for as long as stone knives, however.

Other Survival Essentials from the Heart of the Wild

Here are some quick breakdowns of other essential tools you can craft using natural materials:

  • The Best Natural Weapons That You Can Find In The WildA stone hammer: all you need is a weighted stone, a sturdy stick, and some rope – or sturdy plant fiber.

First, wrap the plant fiber about a third of a way around the length of the stick.

Then, split open the stick up until the fiber wrapping.

Now, place the stone into the split open stick before securing the top of the split stick again with more fiber wrappings. The more you wrap it, the sturdier the hammer will become.

  • Stone arrows: You will use a similar process to make a stone knife, only you will make the arrowheads much smaller in size.

Once you have shaped and sharpened an arrowhead, you can use plant fiber to secure it to a straight, sturdy stick. Remember to cut the stick as straight as possible with your stone knife to lessen any air resistance.

  • A bow: You can make a bow using a strong, but pliable branch. Make sure it has a decent length. Around four feet should be enough. It is worth noting that you will need rawhide for the string.

After whittling down the wood to its natural curvature, add notches at the top and bottom and tie your rawhide string from one onto another. As a bonus tip, you can carve out slits on the back of your arrows, so they better remain on the string.

With these tools, you should have enough to further your survivability in the wild. You can use the hammer to build or shape other materials, you can use the bow for hunting, and you can use the knife to cut things where necessary.

Other Useful Pieces of Information

The Best Natural Weapons That You Can Find In The Wild

While making tools in the wild is arguably one of the most important steps to survival, you should always explore unorthodox solutions as well.

Take, for example, dangerous plants.

The common advice would be to stay away from dangerous plants or to remove them entirely.

But did you know that you could easily turn some of them into a weapon or additional layer of security?

You can explore our articles on edible plants and their poisonous lookalikes, backyard plants that can kill you, and plants you should best not touch to learn more about which common plants have poisonous properties.

Simple ways to use them include covering your perimeter defenses – such as barbed wire – in a poisonous plant to add to its security.

You could also use the poisonous parts of the different plants on your arrowheads or knives to create a poisonous coating.

Related: The Most Common Biological Weapons (and Antidotes)

You should note, however, that we advise using these plants for defense as opposed to hunting.

The reason for this is simply because ingesting meat from an animal killed with poison could still prove dangerous to you unless you know what you’re doing.

Remember, preparation is key, and part of preparation is reading up and keeping yourself knowledgeable about which dangers are out there, how to overcome them, and how you can keep on surviving.

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April K.
By April K. February 15, 2021 09:26
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  1. G.W. Long February 15, 15:34

    Excellent Article as always! Thank You!

    Reply to this comment
  2. dz February 15, 17:11

    Making knives and bows are a refined art so if anyone wanted to learn how to properly make these please start practicing now before you really depend on knowing how to do it correctly to produce an efficiently working product – it doesn’t have to be pretty, but must function well and not break.

    The article is very short but does show a spear and atlatl in the picture that are much easier to make than a decent hunting bow, but it did not describe making or using them, especially a “gig” for aquatic hunting, small game, even birds.. Arrows are just small spears with a noch and fletching added, and are also a refined art to make them properly. When I was a kid we used to make bows and arrows from trees and wild plants, and most would easily break (the bows, the arrows, and the strings – we did not know anything about prepping and “seasoning” the materials, and most would easily break), and the bows that did not break did not really have enough power to use as an efficient hunting bow, maybe good enough to shoot a gig tipped arrow at frogs, but not nearly good enough for deer or other larger game.

    I would also include a “throwing stick” for small game – they are easy to make, easy to learn.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 15, 21:33

      Excellent suggestions, dz. I completely overlooked the throwing stick. It comes right after the rock picked up on the ground and chucked at game.

      For folks interested, you can get myriad instructions, both written and video on how to make any of the devices listed in this article and the responses thereto.

      Dz’s advice to get started practicing making a bow and arrows or atlatl throwing stick NOW is very practical advice. The flint knappers, the bow makers and arrow makers were all skilled craftsmen in an Indian tribe. Not everyone in the tribe was able to make bows like the tribe’s bow master.

      Having those skills which can also be performed by women perhaps even better than men, especially stone knapping, will be very valuable when ammo starts to run low or guns become interesting artifacts of a civilization gone awry due to lack of replacement parts.

      Reply to this comment
    • red February 16, 01:28

      dz: Atlatl and many bows are only for open lands hunting. It takes room to manuver them. Forest bows are shorter, and have less range, but it you’re running at or from something, a lot easier to noch and fire or not get snagged in brush. A good rabbit stick is made of willow, maybe a half inch thick and bent green around a rock. Twist the handle parts together, say 18 inches long, and bind with wet kide or raw tendon. As that dries, it shrinks and get like iron. Willow is soft enough green to bend. When dry, it’s fairly hard. Another is the ball and chain. A rock about 6 oz tied to a thin chain of cord. It can be used in close fights or for hunting. Same with a sling. All of these were used successfully in both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. niio

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck February 16, 02:53

        Red: Assuming that you kept your collection of nuts and bolts, a large nut and the accompanying bolt and washers bolted through the eye of a chain and then the chain screwed/bolted to a short piece of closet hanger rod will make a very suitable mace.

        Lacking those accoutrement of modern civilization, then a large knot of wood or the rock will do.

        I just viewed a video of what the Romans called a (don’t remember what the Romans called it, but it was a lead weighted dart) It was a short range thrown device with about a six inch point on it followed by a rounded lead weight and than a tail like a dart, only in metal. The gent in the U-tube got the most accurate results in an underhand throw. The overhand throw got the most distance but was not nearly as accurate. However, that said, a platoon or a century in the Roman army all throwing a handful of the darts would certainly cause consternation in the ranks of the receiving team.

        A little more sophisticated than what we are talking about here, but I can see sharpened sticks with a stone fastened in the forward third of the stick thrown by a bunch of folks simultaneously would certainly cause dismay among the ranks or if at a small group of attackers, might just take out the whole group. Simple device to make and gives one greater range than the pointy end of the spear.

        Reply to this comment
        • red February 16, 09:07

          LCC: It’s rare anyone questions a small bunch of keys. Nuts and bolts are great, but I doubt a cop would let me keep it. Asians still make war with just sharpened bamboo. Easy to make, and disposable. A simple weight on the handle end of an atlatl adds to the throw. some people also used small weights behind the pont. Raw dried clay would break off allowing for deeper penetration. Remember the 300? The Hot Gate. They were armed with swords and shields, and faced slings, spear, javelins, and arrows, and most survived for the final battle. I don’t mind up close and personal work. Most, I think, would do better with the tools you mentioned than throwing anything. niio

          Reply to this comment
          • left coast chuck February 18, 21:21

            Red: All of these were for after the end of the world as we know it. Doubt that a cop would be enforcing weapons laws after such an event even if he were still acting in his official capacity unless, of course, it were not the complete end of the world but the end of democracy as we thought we knew its and personal weapons were forbidden in the new world as in Jolly Old Blighty were defending yourself against a misunderstood, underprivileged gangster is forbidden.

            As it is in the PDRK where a store owner was arrested and briefly jailed for shooting at a mugger attacking a woman outside his store. Moral of the incident: Better let the woman get attacked, robbed and possibly seriously injured than to shoot at the attacker. The logic of that so totally escapes me that I must have some glitch in my logic program. Either that or society is so distorted in the PDRK as to have lost all sense of what is right and proper under any sense of ethics and morality.

            Reply to this comment
            • red February 19, 08:10

              LCC: No, not worried about later, but now. Anything scary to a lib, and they do scare easy, is outlawed or they plant ASAP. A steel ball on a string is nothing, but use nuts and bolts, and suddenly it’s a deadly weapon. Keys on a string are legal. Put them on a leather strap and some places it’s not. Mine have a steel clip that attaches to a belt loop with a nylon Army neck strap that hangs loose. It’s easy enough to hook to the clip on a ring for use. When in PA, the keys go in a pocket.

              Post-SHTF, it’s not cops we need to worry about, but gangsters. Most sheriffs in AZ are very pro-Arpaio, tough, but anti-liberal Babbitt. Crooked deputies are still being kicked out and most of the new are reasonable. I remember people breaking down on I-10 when Babbitt was gov, and being ticketed! Now, deputies usually try to get help. Most are very much in favor of a well-armed household. This has kept antifa and the blm under control. Most of these nazis are leery of getting their a*s shot off by an irate little old lady 🙂

              Reply to this comment
        • Omega 13 February 21, 20:09

          Chuck, the Roman weapon you’re thinking of is called a pilum (pronounced pee-lum, the plural is pila). It had a sharp tip, a shank made of soft iron, and a wooden shaft.

          Thrown like a javelin, the point would stick in an opponent’s shield, making it nearly impossible to hold up. Of course they could hit someone and go through, due to the mass of the pilum (2-3 pounds, and early models weighed more) and the sharpened tip.

          Early Roman centuriae (100 men, not centurions) carried up to fifteen of them, and when they ran out still could continue combat with knives. Later period Romans soldiers (centurions) carried two pila. They would throw them first, and then charge in to attack.
          Here’s a fun fact. The soft iron shank would bend on impact with a shield or the ground, making it impossible to throw back at the Roman army.

          The pilum was replaced by the plumbata in the late Empire period, which was weighted with lead. (Plumbum meaning lead in Latin)

          Reply to this comment
          • left coast chuck February 24, 06:03

            Omega: Thanks for the helpful hint on the name. Also the description on the construction and deployment of the pilum. the video I saw only had a guy who didn’t know how to deploy them messing around with them trying to determine how they might have been launched by Roman troops in combat. He didn’t have any idea and was testing out different methods, Overhand, underhand, sidearm, high arc, straight shot. He tested many different modes of launching. While high underhand got the most distance, it wasn’t very accurate but I could imagine a cloud of 50 or 100 pila descending upon a group of troops and I understand most troops fought close together to achieve protection from attack on the flanks, a cloud of pila suddenly descending just before being joined by an assault on the formation would have a devastating effect on the formation. Sort of like an anti-personnel mortar burst over a formation.

            I will have to try to memorize that term so the next time I am writing about pilum I will remember what to call them. I sure wouldn’t want to get conked on the gourd with a pointy, heavy iron device, especially just before having to face a Roman soldier armed with a shield and the Roman short sword or a shield and the Roman short spear. Gadzooks! Break for the rear and regroup.

            Reply to this comment
  3. The Duke of Texas February 15, 17:19

    Don’t forget some of the oldest and simplest tools for hunting that are also effective distance weapons. Slings are easy to make and with little practice very effective and slingshots as well, if you can scavenge some rubber straps. Lasso’s were devastating weapons of war by the Mongols. Quarterstaffs come to mind. Throwing stars work as well on men as they do on rabbitts , especially in the dark. A lesson in war from Vietnam: dipping them in “sh*t” gives a whole new meaning to “adding insult to injury”. And we haven’t even talked about traps.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 15, 21:36

      Your mention of lassos reminded me of bolos that the Argentine gaucho used to great effect. I am sure there are lots of articles & videos on how to make those on line too.

      Reply to this comment
      • Paladin February 16, 19:49

        I make ‘bolos” from three golf balls with implanted eye hooks strung with para chord. They make nice gifts to friends. Here, just north of Detroit, there are hundreds of geese on the front lawns of major corporations and golf courses. Bolos can also be used as silent drone stoppers. Good Hunting.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Fish February 15, 18:02

    Interesting but not very practical. These kinds of tools/weapons take a lot of skill and practice. Unless you have/know someone who is expert at these things who can teach you, you’re better off learning to use and acquiring modern tools/weapons.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 15, 22:08

      While for me, long term planning is next Wednesday, were I several decades younger, I would certainly make it a point to learn bow making and arrow making and fletching.

      Contemplate that you are 45 years old. Even with a cataclysmic event, you could easily live another 30 years. Assuming that a firearm that you use a lot lasts through several firefights, do you have 30 year’s worth of ammunition put away?

      At my age, unless civil war starts this coming weekend, when I pass my kids are going to wonder what to do with what I have put away. I think I may well be the oldest poster on this list. It would be interesting to know how many are 80+ years old. Most followers are considerably younger. They have a lot more at stake than I and need to plan beyond next Wednesday.

      While planning for the most likely significant events, hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, floods, civil unrest, hyperinflation, monetary depression and other national and localized events are the most likely, short of a national civil war, they are mostly regional or else won’t cut off relief from areas that are not as severely affected.

      The longer one has left in his lifetime, the more likely world ending events such as an X-class CME, volcanic eruption on the order of a Krakatoa event, world-wide nuclear exchange, meteor impact, Madrid fault earthquake of a 7.5 or greater magnitude, the greater the chances of such event happening during one’s lifetime.

      In our preps, while it is essential that we prepare for the regional events, and non-extinction level national or international events, we should always keep in mind in our preps that the extinction level events I have enumerated and I am certain were I to spend some time thinking about it, the list would be much longer — are more than just remote possibilities some are a dead certainty. For instance, an X-category CME that bathes the earth. For millennia such events were just a cause for wonderment. Today such an event would end 21st century civilization for a significant portion of the world’s urban population.

      As far back in written history that I know about the earth was bathed in an X-class CME. In 700
      AD, the crusaders thought it was a sign from heaven that God was on their side and they would be victorious. The saracens were equally convinced that it was a sign from Allah that they would be victorious. The saracens guessed correctly. The crusaders got wiped.

      Even as recently as 2012 earth just dodged an X-class CME that would have wreaked havoc on our electrical systems. The sun could do that tomorrow and we would suddenly find ourselves back in the early 18th century.

      “Oops. The video I meant to view last night about fletching arrows is gone forever. I hope there is a book in the library that tells how to do it and that I can get that book before anyone else decides to get it or some doofus decides it would be a good idea to burn the library down.”

      Please don’t denigrate the idea behind the article. It was meant to stir thought and debate. Yes, make sure your powder is dry but in addition, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to learn how to make an atlatl and how to use it effectively.

      By the way, the mule-fat plant that grows indigenously in SOCal was used by the Indians to make arrows and light hunting spears. If you live in SoCal it may appear in your yard as a volunteer. That’s how I got it in my yard. Some bird dropped one or more seeds in their poop and they took root and voila!

      Despite its name, it is not edible, not even by mules. Don’t ask me how it got that name. I just read about it in an article by the local plant expert, Christopher Nygers (not sure about the spelling of the last name), otherwise I would not have known about it or its properties except to note that the stems of the plant were long, straight and light weight and wondered if they would make good arrows. Now I know. I have a source for arrows and light game spears. Just have to learn how to make them. I will add it to my list but at this stage of my life it is not an A category to-do.

      Reply to this comment
      • red February 16, 01:37

        LCC: don’t forget the cross bow. They’ve been around since before the copper age. you tube has a lot of how-to on ‘primative’ weapons. John Plant’s YT videos and books on primative technology are very good. Everything from hammerstones to making iron in a forge made of homemade bricks.

        Reply to this comment
  5. left coast chuck February 15, 18:21

    For starters, the first weapon I would make is probably the first real weapon that our ancestors made — a long sharpened stick. Doesn’t require a lot of prep work.

    Find a long, hardwood pole of a convenient length and thickness. Oak, maple, cherry, hickory and persimmon when dried is amazingly hard and durable. I would suggest no longer than the tip of your longest finger with your hand extended over your head. Too long is inconvenient to wield, too short — well, that’s obvious.

    You can sharpen your stick by rubbing it on just about any rock. It is a tedious practice but a sharp stick is better than a dull stick. After you have it down to the desired sharpness and here you want to have a sharp point but not an exceedingly sharp, fine point because if it is too fine a point you will have to sharpen it after every use. You want a point sharp enough to penetrate skin but strong enough in case the first stab isn’t sufficient. You don’t want to be stuck with a broken point if your target is still mobile.

    The final step is the most difficult one. It is fire hardening. The technique is to have it close enough to be affected by the heat of a small fire but not close enough to char it or cause it to catch fire. I would suggest going on line and reviewing a few articles on how to fire harden. Don’t just read one article and figure you are an expert. Get the opinions of several authors. That way you will get an idea which is valid and which may be speculation. If all the authors you read agree on a point, you can pretty much consider it valid. If one one mentions one technique and three or four others mention a different technique, then you have valuable advice with a backup technique.

    Fire hardening is an art. If you decide that a pointy wooden stick is your first attempt at a weapon, then practice it in your back yard. You can use your barbecue for the fire and any hardwood stick will do. You could even buy a 3 foot hardwood dowel at a big box hardware store and make yourself a jabbing stick. A sharp pointy jabbing stick is better than bare hands any day.

    Rather than starting with knapping stone which is an art form, I would start with broken glass for sharp cutting instruments. After the ETOW, you will have plenty of broken glass around to practice on and to make yourself either a jabbing stick or a knife. Be sure to protect your hands when either working glass or stone. A cut after the EOTW is going to be a serious matter, no matter how small the cut. A cut that would require stitches before the end of the world might be a life-threatening event because of loss of blood and also the constant threat of infection.

    Paper wrapped around the piece you are working or leaves will help protect your hands if you don’t have gloves. Leather gloves should be an important part of your bugout kit, especially if you are not presently working with your hands. If the most exposure your fingers get is touching the keys of your computer, the least little bit of repetitious action with hard materials will significantly impact the integrity of your skin.

    Reasonable minds can differ. If you notice the picture of the stone axe is not fastened to the wooden handle in the manner the author described. There are at least two alternate ways to build a stone hammer/axe. One is to follow the format portrayed in the photo. Another is to flatten one side of the wooden handle by rubbing on a stone and attaching the stone to the flattened portion. This gives more of a platform for the stone to rest against reducing its tendency to roll upon impact when fastened to a round surface. It is my opinion that while the author’s method is probably the most secure against rotation of the head, it is also the most difficult to make and will involve splitting at least several pieces of wood before successfully getting one to only split partially. Soaking the wood in hot water might be a way to achieve the splitting.

    Again, as with fire hardening, there must be several hundred videos and articles on how to make a stone axe/hammer. I would suggest spending the time viewing them to learn more than one method.

    Finally, one last thought. The very most original weapon our ancestors used as opposed to make is a fist sized rock. Rocks can be deployed in two modes. One, small enough to throw with force but large enough to make an impact on your target, the other, large enough to be grasped and used as an extension of your fist in a hammer strike. A long narrow rock was probably the forerunner of the knife blade.

    As I think about it, the first weapon described in the bible was a stone. Cain whacked Able in the gourd with a rock if I recall correctly and the blow was fatal.

    And then there is the old fashioned club. Just pick up any piece of wood that is thin enough to be grasped strongly by one or two hands and stout enough on the other end to make a credible impact. An effective club should be between 24 and 36 inches long. Longer than that, unless you have exceptional upper body strength is too long to get full force and is unwieldy in close quarters. Shorter — well you should be able to figure that out — although getting whacked stoutly with a 12 inch hunk of wood would smart significantly might not take the fight out of the opponent.

    A bo, a stick used in martial arts runs 48 to 60 inches. I would start with a 30 inch club and after I had mastered whacking foes with that, would make a bo and include that in my repertoire of weaponry. Like any manual skill, using a bo takes practice. I would practice techniques with it so that I was comfortable with moves before I introduced it into my suite of arms.

    For that matter, if you are not practiced in swinging a club, I would start each day with practice strokes of swinging a club so that my muscles were accustomed to the motion and I was familiar enough with the technique that it would be second nature to me. Three basic swings: The right handed swing as if hitting a baseball if right handed; The overhead swing, directly down from directly over your head and the back handed swing, the return swing from the right handed swing. I would practice going high and going low. Your target may cover his head with his arms to protect his head. then go for his knees or his groin. Though one may think there is nothing difficult about swinging a club, There are different approaches that need to be practiced before doing it for real with deadly intent.

    The term “bo” is the Asian term for what the English called the longstaff. While it was generally less than lethal, it could also be lethal on occasion. The cudgel or club was in the same category. It could be less than lethal or lethal depending upon chance or application.

    This is a topic that could use significant amplification.

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  6. red February 15, 21:19

    I like knapping stone. We have some volcanic glass here; not a lot but save what’s found. Be warned, when using stone arrowheads or spear points to hunt, they can shatter in the animal. Cut as least an inch of meat away from the arrowhead even if it seems in good shape. Heavy glass bottles are good for arrowheads, too. The bottom off any bottle should be thick enough to make arrowheads or short spear points.

    War sticks work best with a stone on the end, or attached to a line about 3 feet long. We used both for hunting rabbits, and the heavy sticks are still used in a sport of chasing down a deer (3 men) and braining it.

    A bundle of keys on and 18 inch line is a deadly weapon. Practice with them and the rock as you would nunchuk.

    For a fast was stick, use green willow. It will crack, but dies strong; one inch thick, and bend it in the middle over a rock, then twist the two parts of the handle together, and bind them hard. Use raw tendon or -skin to tie it in place. When they dry, both shrink hard. If you have leather just soak it for up to an hour, stretch and bind with that.

    Cut bone makes good heads, as does hardwood that’s tempered in fire. Do not use mudstone! (clay compressed into stone.) It shatters when used. Sandstone is often just compressed sand and breaks easily.

    A sling is fast and easy to make, and not difficult to learn. A shallow cloth or leather cup in the middle is for the stone. Lines are about 18 inches, but use what you’re comfortable with. In the bible, now called a history text even by atheist intelligentsia, David knocked out Goliath with a small rock, then killed him.niio

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  7. Jay L. Stern February 15, 21:58

    I definitely agree with Chuck. Before LAUSD forced me to retire or be fired, I was teaching earth science along with biology and chemistry. To get the kids interested in rock types, I obtained flint and obsidian from a fellow in Oklahoma, as well as slate, chert, granite, etc. I had the kids break the rock, then try and turn them into useful tools like hammers, scrapers, etc. In the process they were supposed to learn the properties of materials as an aid to basic identification of the rocks. Some of these young people ernestly attempted to apply the lesson and to learn. One kid made a tolerable hammer. On the other hand, another’s father got involved and used a carbide tool to cut the outline of a hammer from the rock. Amazing how much effort went into subverting the lesson! But I had to stop. One brat’s parents complained that “Mr. Stern is teaching the students to make weapons.”

    My biggest take-away from this article and Chuck’s reply is that I had forgotten about complex tools like the “Morning Star” shown at the top of the article. i also realized that wood and fiber won’t be found in most archaeological digs because they quickly degrade. This means that even if our ancestors were quite sophisticated, we wouldn’t necessarily find traces of these weapons and tools.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 16, 03:21

      Jay: I really hate to be critical of your, what I consider to be valuable lessons for the younger generation, geese louise, you are in the PDRK in the LAUSD. The only more leftist snowflake school district might be Marin County or Berkeley. You were running into the lion’s den. Even allowing your kiddies to look at something that might possibly resemble a weapon was asking for trouble.

      I applaud your efforts. We should have more of it in schools. That said, you gotta strike where the enemy is weak. It might have gone over well in Bakersfield or Barstow or Needles or one of the other desert communities but not LAUSD. Too bad. The kids really could have learned something that might be life saving in their lifetimes.

      I am so happy that even my grandkids are out of the clutches of school snowflakes now. Although my granddaughter is still in college, at least she is taking a scientific course unlike my grandson who got a BA in psychology. He found out with that degree and a couple of bucks he could get a cup of plain coffee at Starbucks. And maybe get hired at Starbucks too. Although his chosen field of endeavor seems to be Buffalo Wild Wings presently.

      I talked to him about a trade but that seemed like too much dirty work so taking orders at Wild Wings is preferable to being an electrician making just a couple of dollars more an hour than at Wild Wings. Have you tried to hire an electrician lately? I think I can get an appointment for brain surgery easier than I can get an appointment with an electrician. “Sorry, we only handle jobs that are in excess of $5,000.00. That job is too small for us to send a man out on.” Click. “Your conversation has ended. Total length of call 1 minute 15 seconds.”

      Long long ago and far far away we actually studied things like arrowheads and spear points. We actually got to play contact sports on the playground at recess and had winners and losers. Oh, the horror of it all. Funny, but I can’t remember any of the kids shooting any of the other kids.

      The only mass shooting I remember from my childhood was a WWII vet who was troubled. I don’t think he actually served in combat but was actually bonkers before getting into the service. I seem to remember that he shot up Camden, New Jersey with an M-1 but that memory is close to 70 years old if not older. You can look it up. I still remember his name, Howard Unruh. Made quite a stir as it was so unusual at the time. Camden was already a rundown town back then. And like bad wine, it hasn’t gotten better with age.

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  8. Edward F Leh February 15, 22:06

    One lethal weapon not mentioned is a wood pick, The same method used to make the stone axe but in place if the stone a stick about 12 inches long sharpened both ends and the handle about 36 inches long. This gives a easily carried defensive and offensive weapon the can penetrate a body up to 5 inches deep.

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    • red February 17, 04:49

      Edward: thanks for the reminder! that was a favorite weapon for the Plains Indians. Not a lot of flash, but it sure got the job done. niio

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  9. dz February 16, 03:47

    if we encountered a real TEOTWAWKI situation, I think this article would only apply to any survivors long after the occurrence of event that caused such large scale devastation. If I was a survivor and was running low on ammunition or other essential supplies, I would be out foraging for modern “leftovers” of anything usefull, including trying to find more metal knives and tools, especially anything stainless steel, cordage of all types including stainless steel wire like what I currently use for fishing leaders and also to make lures, an actual modern hunting bow or crossbow, modern arrows and components for repairing and making more, including adhesives, even searching for copper and aluminum tubing for arrow shafts and other uses. I recommend anyone seriously interested in long term primitive survival learn and practice how to make snares and traps for small game, birds, and fish, also how to make fish hooks and nets – nets can also be used to capture small game and birds.

    The closest TV show I can think of that sort of portrays what I mean would be “The Walking Dead”, with no Zombies. but plenty of human predators to be concerned about. That is what I mean when I say foraging for modern materials instead of making things out of raw materials from scratch. I’d rather find some tin snips and cut some form of sheet metal into arrow heads and fish hooks rather than try to make them from stone or bone.

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    • left coast chuck February 16, 06:09

      dz: Certainly a valid train of thought. Unfortunately, none of us can see into the future — or maybe that is a good thing. It might be too horrifying for us to contemplate.

      After the end of the world the survivors will be come expert scavengers or fail to survive. Yeah, I would rather have metal arrowheads and spear heads. And traps and snares are far more useful than hunting “in the traditional mode.”

      Like trot lines, they work while you are asleep and gather game with a minimum of exertion on your part as opposed to stalking or even still hunting. Good suggestion.

      In some areas, finding such valuable resources may not be viable and so it doesn’t hurt to have back up. Remember two is one; one is none. Better to have back up systems in mind than rely solely on one single type of source.

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  10. Stick Bender February 16, 07:46

    It does take some knowledge to make a bow and arrow. The bow needs to be of a good strong, yet flexible wood. You will need to know how to cut and shape, and season the wood. (Yes a quick survival bow can be made from green wood.) And learn which wood makes the best bows, or at least a decent bow, and how to identify the tree. It does not have to be high power bow. The average Native American bow was around 40lb.s. Yes there were more powerful ones but on the average they were seldom more than 40lb.s. They did not use the three finger string and arrow grip of the Europeans, they used a pinch grip. The bow is a lot of work, but the arrow is the more difficult to make correctly. It should ideally be matched to the poundage of the bow. It needs to be weight matched to the other arrows. You can straighten arrows with heat, and just your knee, or a notched stick. I would suggest you look into joining PRIMITIVE ARCHER, and look up some of Ryan Gill’s videos, and you tube how to examples. He covers, bow building, arrow building, arrow head making, and atlatal making, and atlatal dart making and hunting with these weapons. Also Ragnar Benson’s snares, and man traps, is recommended. Don’t just go on You tube and think OK, I got it. Build them! It will give you a much better insight into building snares, and what you will actually need. Also a good book of knots will be a great help. Also making cordage is something that with a little practice will become second nature. Plants like nettle, and Basswood (Linden tree) bark. Fire starting, I personally believe is the most important skill to learn. Bow drills, hand drills, flint and steel, fire piston, etc.. Don’t just read bout them, or watch a you tube video, make them and practice with them, and you will have a hands on experience with them, find the pros and cons of each. Also not just any stick, or piece of wood will make a good bow or hand drill. So learn a couple of methods, and where to find dry tinder, and wood during snow or rainy seasons. Try looking at the base of trees, and lifting up the duff at the base of the tree, especially trees with low branches. But the key here is learn it now, and not when your life may depend on it. By all means use modern methods if you have them. But be able to make and use primitive methods if you don’t have the modern methods, or lose them. When the SHTF, it will not be a good time to try to remember the techniques, and how to use them. I would also suggest a small belt packet to keep fire starters, and material, and a couple of larger multiple blade pocket knives, and some tinder. You will be surprised at how quick and how hot 0000steel wool will burn! I always have a couple rolls of 0000 steel wool in my back, or day pack when I am hunting. Even if your Bic won’t light, if it throws sparks it will ignite the steel wool! Get all of your fire needs gathered before using the tinder. Like tinder, and fire wood. Get a good fire going first then look for more wood, and then a better place to shelter, if where you have a fire going, is not a good place to build a shelter. You can travel short distances to look for a better place, and then take some of the fire with you, to build another fire. Being fire safe of course. That is just my dollar two fifty opinion. I am not Joe the survival expert. I do have some experience, but I am NOT by any means an expert on any of the above mentioned suggestions. Take them with as many grains of salt as you prefer.

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  11. left coast chuck February 18, 19:24

    The website has a series of monographs on the whole process of making gut strings for tennis rackets which I assume would also carry over to making bowstrings. They only refer to the intestines, not differentiating between small intestine, large intestine, but definitely not stomach lining.

    As a matter of biology, I don’t know if ruminants have small and large intestines as humans do, That is a topic for another web search. While I am certainly not a veterinarian, I believe the extra stomachs of the ruminant category of animals replaces the small intestine of humans. If that is the million dollar question, do not call me as your expert.

    The article states that it takes 42 yards of intestine to string one tennis racket. Wow! To coin a weak pun, that’s a lot of guts. They state it takes the intestines of 3 bovine to get 42 yards of intestines. Cows are the most frequently used animal for catgut but sheep other animals have been used.

    I suspect Native Americans used deer gut and buffalo gut for their bowstrings. Probably doesn’t take 3 bison guts to make a tennis racket string.

    I didn’t read the whole article but I read enough to find it something to bookmark to return to. If you are interested in bow making, I would suggest reading this article as a start on how to make bowstrings. I suspect Red could write an article on how to make bowstrings as he sounds as if he has had practice doing so.

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    • red February 19, 07:53

      LCC: make it to the store and buy a string, LOL. the gut from a cow’s skirt steak, the vail, is used for a lot of things from sausage bungs to artist ‘paper’. whole, we used it to cover arrow cases. this is not gut, and when it dries, it’s like a stiff, translucent plastic. It will not soften, again.

      Unless salted, gut stinks. Do not allow it to dry out till you want it dry! I like rawhide, and that plastic bottle cutter we saw here a while back is the best way to cut rawhide for string and rope.

      Small intestines, we all have it. One model to make all things. the rest is up to the parents, unless, of course, they were into smoking Chernobyl glow in the dark things. Liberals are like that.

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