Prey or Game: A look at Animal Hunting through the Ages

Ever since man was put on this Earth, he has survived through the toughest conditions – from extreme climates to foraging for food. But back in the Stone Ages, there were no fields of wheat to farm and things were much more primitive than now. For man to survive he had to hunt. A large animal would mean food for the family or tribe for many days – and this meant that the humans would live to see another day.

Big Time Texas Hunt at Black Gap WMA

In a world which saw man without any natural defense attributes, we were vulnerable against attack from other wild animals that were searching for food. Certain predators had large, sharp teeth that could break through bone; others had claws that could take off skin from bone in one swipe. There were animals with hide as thick as leather and venomous creatures that could kill with a single bite. Humans on the other hand were naked and afraid, with no sharp claws or teeth.

The only thing we had was our intelligence.

Humans discovered the power of fire and the power of tools. This brought about a whole new world for man to survive. In earlier times, man used crude weapons fashioned of stone, bones, antlers and wood – like spears, arrowheads and the like which helped them hunt better and effectively. Man hunted to survive and not only ate the meat for sustenance but used the entire animal – the hide became clothes that would protect them from the elements and the bones could serve as tools.


As we progressed, hunting became more streamlined, with sport taking over necessity. During the Medieval ages until recently, hunting was a sport in various areas. The animals would be released, while the hunters would sit upon their horses and set their hunting dogs free. The animals barely had a chance but it was the thrill of the chase. Fortunately, this was only a sport that the wealthy could do.

Fortunately, this was only a sport that the wealthy could do.

However, these days Animal Hunting has become more controlled, with many government agencies laying down the rules to protect the animals. For example, to safeguard the future of the animals, certain types of deer are allowed to be hunted only during a specific season. This is to allow them to bring up their young. Many animals have been featured on the endangered list and have even become extinct due to human intervention and hunting. Prime examples of these types of animals would include the dodo, the Tasmanian tiger, the Great Auk, the Falkland Island Wolf, Zanzibar leopard, Atlas Bear, Bubal Hartebeest, Stellar’s Sea Cow and Sea Mink to name a few.

The sad thing is that many of these animals were hunted primarily for sport. In fact, the Carolina Parakeet was driven to extinction only because its colorful feathers looked good on ladies’ hats! As mentioned earlier, animal hunting has become more controlled, especially in recent years after people noticed certain species were being driven into extinction, either for their skin, fur, feathers, fat, and meat or even just for sport.

These conservation attempts have seen some of those species revive from the brink of extinction. We should not dismiss animal hunting as all bad. Animal hunting is a way of pest control too. It’s just when we go overboard that things take a turn for the worse. In many countries today, although there are rules in place to protect the animals, there are still some areas where hunters can pay huge amounts of money to get their chance to kill a majestic beast. But when you have stat-of-the-art equipment, guns that can shoot over large distances and a vehicle to drive you around as you chase that animal – hunting is not really hunting. Most hunters who hunt for meat will not consider that person as a true hunter.

As long back as I can remember, I’ve always had a picture of my dad in my head – with his boots, hunting pack and his rifle slung over his shoulder as he went out to get food.

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