History of the Hunt

Notes from the North Woods

It is hard to believe that two of the most dangerous animals in the United States can appear to be so innocent.

It is hard to believe that two of the most dangerous animals in the United States can appear to be so innocent.

The earliest evidence for the use of the bow and arrow in North America comes from the Arctic regions, where a number of local Alaskan complexes grouped into the Paleoarctic Tradition from 9000 to 6000 B.C.

More recent research indicates evidence of bow and arrow technology dating back to 12,000, and possibly even 13,000 years ago in the Americas.

From the very first eras of pre-civilization, there is evidence that women maintained the role of caring for the home, raising children and preparing the food brought in by the men.

Men were the hunters, but women largely ran the show. They decided where and when to make camp, and they were integral in fostering the group’s survival. Indeed, women were responsible for the development of the first established societies in North America.

Eventually, as European civilization advanced with the domestication of animals and the development of agricultural methods, hunting was no longer required for society’s subsistence. As a result, hunting evolved into an activity conducted primarily for entertainment, rather than survival. Hunting was pursued almost exclusively by men, seeking “game.”

The pursuit of game animals was eventually considered a luxury. It became a leisure activity conducted primarily on the large private estates of the European upper class.

By the 1830’s, the British Parliament established the Game Act of 1831 in order to protect game birds by establishing a closed season when they could not be legally taken.

The act also established the need for providing game licenses and the appointment of gamekeepers. The Game Act still covers the protection of British hares, pheasants, partridges, grouse, or moor game and black game.

The Game Licenses Act 1860 extended the definition to include woodcock, snipe, rabbit and deer.

By the 1700’s, members of the British High Society no longer needed to harvest wild game to insure their survival. However, such was not the case in ‘The Colonies,’ where many American pioneers were employed as subsistence hunters.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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