Throwing Sticks for Wilderness Survival
Aside from a sharp knife, one of the most useful tools in wilderness survival is a stout branch that is wrist thick and spans the distance from one’s fingers to the armpit. This stick is commonly referred to as a “baton” when it is used in conjunction with a knife for certain carving and splitting techniques. The same branch can also serve as an extremely effective hunting weapon for small game. In the article / video below, I will show you several methods for using the throwing stick in different types of wilderness environments.
Instructional Video In this detailed video I explain how to make and use a "Throwing Stick".
The ideal throwing stick is made from a hardwood that is about as thick as your wrist. A green tree may be used, however a dead one is better because it will snap easier
which means less of your precious and limited energy will be consumed. Similarly, I prefer not to sacrifice a green tree unless it is necessary.
Using Mechanical Advantage
Wilderness Survival is all about maximizing your resources and exerting the least amount of effort required. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that using a knife to carve or chop
our wood down to size could be a waste of energy. For this reason, snapping the wood between two stout trees provides us with an easy and efficient way to break the wood down. See
the video above for the best explanation of this technique.
The Perfect Dimensions
The properly sized branch should be as thick as your wrist, and broken down to span a length equal to the distance between your armpit and wrist.
Carrying The Stick
The Throwing Stick should be kept readily accessible for targets of opportunity. By tucking it diagonally inside your belt across the lower back, it will remain out of the
way but still be within easy reach.
The Ready Position
While stalking the animal, one end of the stick should be held in your hand while the other end rests on your shoulder. This offers the greatest stability, stealth,
and ability to hurl the stick instantly.
Throwing Technique #1: The Diagonal Method
The diagonal method has the greatest chance of hitting the target, and is therefore my preferred technique for launching the stick. Simply swing the stick at a 45 degree angle
and let go at the apex of your swing.
Throwing Technique #2: The Vertical Method
This method is executed by throwing the stick straight on... which will send it tumbling forward end over end. While this variant requires more skill to be accurate,
it will allow the stick to pass through heavy vertical growing vegetation like tall grass or trees without hitting an obstruction.
Throwing Technique #3: The Horizontal Method
Tossing the stick in a sideways fashion causes it to spin parallel with earth. This is idea for hitting animals that may be floating on the surface of a body of water.
With a small amount of practice you will find yourself excelling at this skill. A good way to enhance your abilities is to create a "Throwing Stick Range". This will allow you
to experiment with different sticks as well as targets of varying size positioned at multiple distances. As always, if you are going to be this technique to use for real, I implore you
to do so in a respectful manner that honors the animal. Respect may have a different definition for each person, but for me it means making a quick kill, using the entire animal,
and feeling a strong sense of appreciation for its sacrifice. All of these things make me feel closer to the earth and more connected to these ancient skills.
Best always, Paul Scheiter
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