Hunting game for food, clothing and shelter is a big area of the story of humankind. It predates human civilization we know these days, in a good many ways. There are many discoveries that are being made that confirm that notion. An Asian fossilized spearhead discovered recently was dated at over 16,000 years old, as an example. There is also evidence that we used larger animals for food nearly two million years ago.
The earliest sort of hunting required, as far as the professionals can say, involved weapons like spears or bow and arrows shot from a distance. Believe it or not, our ancestors caught their food using the identical method we use to catch the bus to work when we’re late. We ran after it. Before he heard to use long range weapons, early man had no other way of catching his dinner than being persistent and wearing it down over a long trek, often times even in the oppressive midday heat. Some early hunters would chase antelope over 20 miles in heat over 100 degrees. Persistence hunting would be the order of the day. African hunters would chase a Kudu, which is an early version of the antelope, by startling the animal so it ran away. They would chase the beast at a fast pace, and, while the faster Kudu would always be further ahead, the hunters would catch up to it when it took time to rest in the shade. The hunter would eventually finish the animal off with a spear, but not until he was at close range. This type of hunting is still practised in Southern Africa.
With changes in human society, hunting evolved. As we began to grow our own food and keep animals, hunting became a specialized task. Not only the traditional masculine endeavour anymore, hunting became a certain duty with tradesmen acquiring precise training. The other trend was hunting becoming the sport and leisure domain of the upper courses. It was here that the English word game’ became common.
Hunting has had other effects on our society as well. Various animals have been used to aid the hunter, but none is now as critical to us as the dog. The application of the ancestors of the wolf to retrieve prey and be our loyal fellow travelers has set the dog apart. Its domestication, which took thousands of years, is viewed an exceptional accomplishment. The tie between hunting man and dog goes so far back that the very word for hunting in ancient Greek hails from the term dog.
Perhaps the most famous type of hunting is the safari, which was popularized by the American author Ernest Hemingway. The word itself is from the Swahili, meaning long journey, and the most common type of safari occurs in Africa. It was frequently several days or weeks of camping while stalking or hunting big game, but in an increasingly modern sense, it also encompassed trips through African nature to hunt or watch the fundamental game. Unlike their predecessors who ran their prey down years before, the modern African hunter often acquires a special licence and enlists the aid of local professionals. There is even a form of modern safari where no animals are killed. The photo-safari is what precisely its name indicates and a Polish photographer first used the phrase “bloodless hunt”.