Primitive take-down spear

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Awesome Friend
Nov 12, 2023
Southern Appalachia
Never killed anything big with a spear, but have taken a few medium/smaller animals with them. I plan on crossing the 'bama border next year or the following to give this little trick a try on some real game.

My YouTube feed is always clogged up with all sorts of hunting/survival content and a while a video by Tim Wells popped up showing a new spear design he's been hunting with called the "sparrow".

For whatever reason the design just kind of clicked in my head and I decided to play with the idea.

So I have experience making all sorts of primitive tools and weapons and like to experiment. I actually have a whole library of stuff that I'll eventually post on the web somewhere...

Anyways, here's just something on the periphery of that kind of stuff I'm into that I figure I'd share.

So basically, being survival minded and knowing what it takes to make quality weapons for meaningful meat (and fat) procurement- I always play the worst case scenarios in my head. The unrealistic what ifs that would put me at a major disadvantage vs. my normal comfort zone. What this culminates to is me wanting to have little tricks and strategies that act as a stopgap that are more situational depending on the resources that may be avaliable and the timescale that I have to work with.

I spend alot of time on archery, and prefer the craft but the problem with archery is the initial time investment to make hunt-worthy kit.

So here's a simple interim solution that I have been playing with for those situations where you want a viable tool in very short order with minimal investment to potentially capitalize on a close range hunting opportunity that has made itself available.

So basically it's a simple three piece design, I tend to play with whatever stuff I have on hand to expedite the building process- this took about 45 minutes to craft in its entirety. So making one of these to hunt with while your proper bow stave fire dries or you are looking for other resources to craft higher % hunting tools with may be a nice little addition/redundancy.

The main benefits of the design allow for a much better throw then just a fire straightened stick, the balance of the weapon allows for a little more accurate range and a much skinnier fore-shaft which would aid in penetration/lethality. Also, it's more portable and if the the foreshaft breaks- it's mere minutes to repair/replace. It's also easier to find a few small, straighter piece of wood then it is a proper long piece. This method also wouldn't require one to make a fire to straighten and the fletchings are totally optional.

The construction is pretty simple, a few piece of wood, some wrap to reinforce the holes in the handle and for extra stability in flight some wrap/feathers for a fetching. No glue was used to tie on the fletchings- and they arent even neccesary if tou know bow to throw a spear/javeline straight. I used backstrap sinew and cheated a bit with jute twine for the "grip" which was honestly more for aesthetics and didnt greatly effect function. Where I really cheated was with the drilling of the holes in the handle which was done with a simple awl which sits in my pack normally. The time would be your average knapped broadhead- though I think this also constitutes a fantastic use case for improved broadheads like spoon points and some of the "credit card punchout" style broadheads which are usually a little gimmicky. All that being said it would be easy to make a much higher quality takedown spear using much more refined materials like wood that isn't literally still green and maybe a nice finish- but for a capable expeditious tool I like having this concept in my "toolbox" as it were.

At a little over 6.5' having the ability to break it down and carry it to where you want to hunt could indeed be advantageous.

For drilling the holes which is by far the most difficult operation- a simple pump drill can be made in minutes and a bit fashioned out of glass/stone for those of us who knap. Here's an seperate example (where I also cheated and used jute twine) of an expeditiously made pump drill using rocks/split wood for my weight.


This is likely a bit overkilled- due to the forced that would act upon the spear on impact you really don't need to bed it too deeply- it only has to deliver the point afterall- everything else is gravy.

Also: a note about jute twine- while its an excellent firestarter i like having some on hand for experiments. I like it specifically because its much weaker than the natural cordages i can twist up (like yucca for example) and it's uniform and immediately available. It saves times when playing around with stuff and if the craft works with jute- I know I'll work with better materials aswell and in that way it acts as it's own litmus.

So yeah- I put a little metal archery field point in the end of it and went to to on my poor bag target. It was great fun at our baby shower so it makes a heck of a little lawn game (it put cornhole to shame) With those large fetching a first timer can throw it straight and enjoy it. Lasted about 40 throws I'd say before the dryfit connection snapped- I just whittled down the end again but this time did not cut a shoulder for fitment which made no real performance difference. There was some hand straightening that had to be done here and there but for such a simple little thing it performed well.

Beware that extraction of a broken forshaft may prove tricky- this one did come out in one piece.

I've thrown alot of spear before and found it natural as ever to launch with usable accuracy out to about 15 yards. Did a little math- not great fpe, but extremely high momentum. If tipped with a sharp point it would undoubtedly be lethal on deer sized game if placed properly. You could also split the head into a little gig for frogs/fish or just fireharden/sharpen for wood and make several shafts for hunting when you dull them on misses- lots of choices.

The next one I'll make will be prettier- probably use some brain tanned buckskin for the handle and take some time finding some nice wood- I may even whittle some designs in the handle. The possibilities are endless.
Where I'm from, hunting black bears with nothing but a big knife and a couple of dogs is a thing, South of here the same for Russian boars is true. they say it's the ultimate rush!
Canon..... In another thread I mentioned before when something was said about using spears.. A number of years ago I think it was one of the more well known, major knife makers that had about a 5' walking staff that had a mount on one end for a M16 bayonet... Might be hard to find now.. If I had access to some machine shop tools I would make an adaptor of one kind or another..
I was at a gun show and they were selling the demilled front ends of m-16s for 2$. pop the pins out and chuck the barrel stub and there you go. But if you're going to do all that crap, I made some special spears for an Alaskan Indian lodge years back. they were so happy they made me an honorary tribe member...
Chinese rebar has an unusually high carbon count for edge holding, and it's easy to forge into a wicked piercing edge. I made another one out of a piece of 1 1/2" black pipe hammered flat on a 1025 blade for bear and he used a piece of treated dowel as a grip.
got a welder? you'll love an actual one with a home made fuzz biscuit and real accuracy.

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