Apart from the ax, knife, club, and bow and arrow, the spear may be the oldest weapon known to man. Consisting of a sharp, leaf-shaped or triangular point attached to a long wooden shaft, the spear can be a useful if not essential tool when SHTF and you need an effective and relatively easy way to hunt game animals, birds or fish for sustenance.
In this article, we’ll show you how to properly throw a spear.
Before We Begin
Survival spears can be store-bought or DIY; if you haven’t already bought a spear, you can make one yourself.
Once you have your spear, inspect it as necessary. If your spear has a wooden shaft, check for any cracks and make sure that the spear head isn’t bent, loose or damaged. If the spear head appears defective, see if it can be repaired or replaced. Don’t use a spear with cracks in the shaft; this could splinter or shatter on impact and may not be safe to use.
Note that a spear can be made in a variety of ways, and there are different types of spears, like a gig, or any improvised spear, such as those made from a survival knife lashed to a shaft, or a trident for spearfishing; these spears will have differences in weight, application and usage. For this article, we’ll focus on a typical spear used for hunting small to medium-sized game on land.
Throwing the Hunting Spear
Note that a hunting spear differs from spears used in battle or competition in that they’re shorter but not necessarily lighter. Hunting spears aren’t designed to travel far, but to be thrown short distances with enough force to kill wild game. As much as possible, you should aim to kill a game animal with one throw; simply wounding an animal is both cruel and wasteful since the animal could escape, and even attract other predators. To properly aim and throw a hunting spear for survival, follow these steps:
Step 1: Find the Spear’s “Balance Point”
Find the spot where the spear’s weight will be roughly equal on either side of the spot where you balance it in your throwing hand. This is the ideal spot to hold the spear and it’s usually two-thirds of the way towards the spear point. You’ll know you’ve found the balance point once the spear stays level as you lay it on the palm of your hand (without gripping it). Mark this point with a marker or by cutting a small notch with a knife.
Step 2: Grip the Spear Properly
To grip the hunting spear, hold it as you would a large pen — by gripping the shaft with your thumb and forefinger, and with the other fingers wrapping around the shaft. Your pinky finger should be closest to the head of the spear. Alternatively, you can grasp the shaft with your fingers and let your thumb push up from the underside of the shaft. Whichever way you choose, have the spear lie horizontally with your throwing hand’s palm facing upwards.
Step 3. Face and Aim at Your Target
While holding the spear in your dominant hand, face your target with your “lead” foot; left foot if you hold the spear with your right hand and vice-versa. For better aim and balance, bring up your non-dominant hand with your outstretched fingers “pointing” in the general direction of your target.
Step 4. Throw the Spear
With the proper grip and stance toward your target, bring the spear back, rotating your hips slightly backward while keeping your lead foot firmly on the ground. Bring your throwing arm forward and upward in a slight arch, twisting your shoulder forward and pivoting on your back (right) leg.
Throw the spear by releasing your grip as soon as the spear reaches about your ear-level when your hand is in front of you in the throwing motion, while also twisting your hips forward. Keep practicing this until it feels natural and you can do it easily in one fluid motion.
You can see how this action should look like in the video below.
You can also watch this video to see how to throw a hunting spear:
NOTE: DON’T take a step or run forward as you throw. You should be close enough to clearly see your intended target, and for your spear to hit it. Taking a step or running toward your quarry before you throw will only scare away the animal, and you may not have the opportunity to get within striking distance again. Stalk your prey, stay as quiet as possible and get as close as you can before hitting it with your spear.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As with any survival skill, don’t wait until SHTF before picking up your spear for the first time.
Find a safe place to practice your spear-throwing skills, and practice only with the spear you actually intend to use. If possible, remove the spear point when you practice. For target practice, try hitting “soft” targets like a bale of hay or watermelons set up on loose soil to avoid damaging or dulling your spear point. Make sure that wherever you practice, you aren’t violating any laws on edged weapons, and that there’s minimal chances of hitting people, passing vehicles, adjacent property or pets.
Knowing how to throw a spear and becoming proficient at hitting targets is a worthwhile skill to have in your survival repertoire. You never know when you’ll find yourself without a firearm or even a bow and arrows should the need arise.
When all you have is a knife and a long stick, you can sharpen the stick at one end or even attach the knife itself to the end of a shaft for an instant survival spear. Apart from a quick Google search for tips, you can also try your hand at spear-hunting for boar, deer or other wild game in hunting preserves that allow spear-hunting.