Primitive Survival Weapons
for Acquiring Food

survival weapons bows

By Jason Knight

Primitive survival weapons can be valuable tools for acquiring food in extended wilderness survival situations. They can often be made from common natural materials found in the outdoors such as stones, branches, and fibrous plants. Examples of primitive survival weapons include:

Survival Weapons:
Throwing Stick

A throwing stick, also known as a rabbit stick, is a sturdy stick approximately an arm's length long and about wrist thickness in diameter. The throwing stick is used to take down small game such as rabbits or grouse at close range. It can be thrown side arm to maximize the striking area or thrown overhand to get between dense brush and trees. Sticks of the correct size can be used as is, or they can be carved to be more aerodynamic.

survival weapon throwing stick

Fish Spear

A fish spear is a long, straight stick that has sharp points and barbs on one end. Eight feet is a good spear length to allow you to reach out into a pond or creek. It can be created by smoothing down a branch and carving points and barbs onto one end. A small wedge tied in place with string or plant fiber cordage keeps the points spread apart. The sharp points and barbs can then be fire hardened for increased durability.

survival weapon fish spear

Quickie Bow

A quickie bow is a fast-made bow for immediate use in a survival situation. It is carved from a live sapling or branch of a tree. The reason it is called a “quickie” bow is because it is made at the time the wood is harvested, rather than waiting a year for the wood to season. The advantage of this bow is that it is ready to use right away. The disadvantage is that the quickie bow will lose its springiness after a few months of use.

survival weapon quickie bow

Atlatl

The atlatl is a projectile throwing tool. It is a pre-cursor to the bow and arrow. It consists of two parts – a dart (similar to a small spear) and a cupped or notched launching stick. The launching stick allows the thrower to use leverage to hurl the atlatl dart through the air with significant force. Both parts can be carved from wood branches. Hunter-gathers used atlatls to take down many types of animals.

survival weapon atlatl

From simple throwing sticks and spears to the more elaborate quickie bow and atlatl, primitive survival tools provide efficient tools for acquiring food sources in the outdoors. When combined with knowledge of traps, snares, game animals, and wild edible plants, there is rarely an occasion when survival food cannot be acquired. Throughout history primitive weapons have enabled humans to thrive in the wilderness.

Additional Resources

Hunting Tools - Wildwood Survival



Primitive survival hunting tools are part of the wilderness survival curriculum at the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program.



Return from Survival Weapons back to Wilderness Survival Articles

Knowledge is Power - Grow Your Wilderness Skills! Get monthly updates on new wilderness skills articles, upcoming courses, and special opportunities. Join the free Alderleaf eNewsletter:

application

Call: (360) 793-8709
Text: (360) 722-9972
Hours: 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri, PST


wilderness survival school catalogGet the Catalog:
Receive a free copy of our course brochure and Core Programs Catalog:

Click here to load this Caspio Cloud Database
We respect your privacy and never sell, trade, or share your information.


Visit the Course Calendar:

course calendar


wilderness survival guideFree Survival Guide & eNews:
Get a free copy of our survival mini-guide, Thriving in the Outdoors: The Six Keys to Wilderness Survival and monthly tips!
Learn more