Hunting with a Blowgun (With Video)

November 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss Videos

One of the techniques mastered by rain forest Indians is blowgun hunting, for thousands of years natives of the tropical rain forest have secured their protein by means of hunting with bows and arrows, and blowgun’s.

Blowguns  are used for their stealth. They are quiet when they are fired, but can still be used from a good distance away. They can be used for hunting many types of animals. The blowgun has many advantages over other weapons. They are very quiet and very lightweight. These make them incredibly stealthy. They lack the power of other weapons, but make up for it in its ability to fire more than one shot, without spooking the prey if you miss.

Traditionally the blowgun is used in conjunction with poisoned tipped darts. These poisoned tipped darts, allow the blowguns to take down larger game, even though it lacks the power of a gun or even a bow. They also help make it so that the creature does not just walk away after it was hit. However poison is not used here in the US so you have to be close enough and hit the animal solid enough to take it down or stun it long enough to get to it. That takes a good deal of practice.

A skilled hunter in the rain forest can hit a small animal at 90 feet. Here about half that distance is required for a clean kill. The blowgun is also known as blowpipe, cerbatana, and pucuna.

Blowguns are made from the “blowgun tree” of the nutmeg family, following a very skilled process. After a long branch is selected and split in half, the inside is reamed out – carved by hand- and put back together again using resin. Yaguas use brea for this and then tightly wrapped it using rods from the philodendron tree.  The blowgun’s bore has to be perfectly true, a key factor for a good blowgun. To smooth it, they use a rod of the pona palm –  the rock-hard wood is also used to make spears.

Another technique used by the Yaguas is to blow their darts with a wad of fiber (cotton-like) from the kapok tree that acts as a gasket, preventing the air form the hunter’s lungs from passing around the dart. Darts of about 10 inches long are made from palm leaf stalks inayuga palm and then smoothed and sharpened using piranha teeth. The end is tipped with a curare mixture.

The nice part about living in the US is you do not have to go through all of that, you can buy one from Cold Steel that is almost indestructible.

Copyright © 2009 by Steven L. Doran

All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.

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One Comment on "Hunting with a Blowgun (With Video)"

  1. stephen on Tue, 10th Nov 2009 2:54 PM 

    Awesome vid. thanks for sharing. reminds me of when i was a kid and used to make blow guns out of bic ballpoint pens, oh wait, those were for spitballs – same principle though…

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