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Thread: Hunting with the Bola

  1. #1
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    Hunting with the Bola


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    This two or three-ball attached to a length of rope is a hunting device popularised by the gauchos of South America.

    I was just wondering if it has any use in modern times, especially for catching small game like wild rabbits.

    It looks like something that needs a lot of practice.

    Has anyone tried it?


  2. #2
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    Yes, just recently I made a few and spent some time throwing them. If you are used to a traditional sling I would bet that you would likewise become adept very quickly with a bolo. However it would take a lot more time for me personally before I could hit small game. Then though I would question why use a bolo and not just a rock, weighted club or rabbit stick. All of those are much simpler to throw and easily possibly of killing small game.

    -Cliff

  3. #3
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    IIRC, the bolo was most suited to downing long legged animals by tripping them up and causing them to be tangled or break a leg.

  4. #4
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    This was one of the aspects I looked at (very introductory), and it isn't trivial. Unless the game is very large with very thick legs I would assume that a heavy throwing stick would be a much easier weapon to use than a bolo for such purposes unless very experienced. I know I certainly would not be walking very far after taking a heavy hard wood stick to the leg. Of course metals make very good throwing sticks as well if they can be scavenged. I spent some time with a mild steel bar and it was apparent that the damage it could inflict on a throw was extensive.


    -Cliff

  5. #5
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    It's my understanding that this was a means of entangling without actually damaging the victim - if your alpaca escaped, you could tangle-foot him and get him back whole... or, raise the point of aim and the bola can strangle the victim just as quickly, or the weighted stones would crush the skull for a sure kill...

    Maybe some of our makers from Argentina could elucidate?

  6. #6
    Try and find a copy of "A Sporting Chance" by Daniel Mannix(Pulp, outdoor writer). He spent quite a bit of time hunting with unusual stuff(blowguns, crossbows, bolas, even frogs...).

    The book chronicles these hunts, quite a good read.

  7. #7
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    I thought they were used to catch rheas (sort of like small ostriches) and sometimes cattle on the plains. If used correctly you should get more range than throwing a stick and it covers a wider path than a rock. It might make sense for hunting something to big to take with a rock. I would probably work on a spear instead.

  8. #8
    Howdy,

    I dug out a copy of the Mannix book I mentioned, in it he mentioned two types of Bolas.

    Argentine- He shows a version much like the one Golok pictured. The first use he mentioned was the catching/breaking of wild horses, and escaped livestock. The main advantage being a greater range then a lasso, about 40 yards maximum effective range.

    He mentioned that the bindings could slice the animal pretty badly, or strangle an animal wth a bad hit. The leg hold/trip was most desired.

    Hunting- The main game animal was Rhea, which, apparrently, is a big time danger to their dogs. The main hope was for a leg catch on the big birds, then you waded in, and did what you needed to do.

    The 2nd best was a hard hit by one of the balls, which would either kill it, or maim it.

    Curiously, he mentions the extraction of Pepsin from the bird's gut for medicinal use.

    Offensive use: It was basically used as flail, or slug-shot.

    Eskimo Bola: This was a neat version, that he saw at Penn. University Museum. It was a bola made with eight balls used for waterfowling. His personal version was made from 1 inch bearings. It served well for goose sized game, and under. He felt that this was the best version for hunting use.

    In all cases multiple bolas were carried.

  9. #9
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    Check out this Web page It tells about bolas and other prim weapons.

    Hope this helps.

    Rich

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