Hunting large wild animals without any modern tools can seem like an impossible task to many survivalists. Sure, you can rig up some snares to catch rabbits or squirrels, or attempt to shoot down birds with a small bow constructed from a branch and some natural cordage. However, these improvised weapons may lack the power to take down a large animal, such as a deer or wild boar. For bigger game, and for self-defense purposes, a spear makes an excellent weapon.

Primitive technology spear thrower atlatl woomera hunting

A diagram of an Australian Aboriginal woomera spear-thrower from “The Outline of History” by H.G....

The upsides to a spear are its simplicity and piercing power, but its downside is a lack of range. You can throw the spear, but unless you’ve accumulated lots of upper-body strength and practice, it’s not going to go very far. Fortunately, native cultures across the globe developed a device that amplifies the spear’s range through leverage. The Aztecs called it an atlatl; the Australian Aboriginals called it a woomera. Today, we call it a spear-thrower.

Primitive technology spear thrower 1

In his latest YouTube video, the silent host of Primitive Technology shows how to construct a spear and spear thrower, using no modern tools whatsoever. All it takes is a straight, thin, and flexible tree sapling, a sharp rock, and fire-starting materials (the host uses the hand drill method). Check out the video below:

The result is impressive, producing enough power to strike a target at 15 meters (49 feet) and embed the charred tip of the spear. In the Primitive Technology video description, the host writes:

“The throws in the video show what can be done in one afternoon of practice (my arm got sore and I wanted to start on other projects). I hit the target a few times at a distance 15 m. It is more powerful than a spear thrown by hand alone but is difficult to learn. … It’s easy to make (this took less than a day) but requires lots of training to become accurate.”

For more great bushcraft videos, check out our previous features on How to Build a Grass Hut and Improving a Hand Drill Fire Starter, or visit the Primitive Technology YouTube channel.

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