Out of curiosity, I tried to dig up some research, or any info really, concerning persistence hunting. And I have found this paper: Persistence Hunting by Modern Hunter‐Gatherers (available for free if you sign up)
In this paper, the author discusses how humans evolved for endurance running, first for the needs of scavenging and then, as their tracking ability expanded, for persistence hunting. In his field work with the !Kung of the Kalahari Desert (where the practice is still present today, or was very recently), he collected data on a decent number of attempts to run down a big mammal.
And the results may seem surprising. He concluded that this is actually not just viable, but also very effective means of makin’ meat with better yields than most bow and arrow and other types of hunts (excluding the use of dogs and guns). This assumes the hunter is able to run 20-35km at speeds varying from 7-12km/h AND not lose the trail.
So my question is… why is Persistence Hunting completely gone? Yes, it requires a great deal of physical ability, but people run marathons, don’t they? It also requires excellent tracking skills so as not to lose the trail (if the terrain is difficult). But in theory, if you don’t lose the trail and you keep moving at a decent speed, you will always catch up to your prey eventually. And it usually takes no more than a few hours (2-5h). And you get a lot of meat per successful attempt. And you only need a sharpened stick to do it, really. And you can do it all year round (at least in the Kalahari, according to the !Kung and the author)
What does everyone think? Are there any examples of this being done in the arctic/northern environments? There are more or less trustworthy accounts of persistence hunting from all over the world…
Do you think we can replicate that with enough practice? How would you set about to do it? and finally, isn’t the ability to get big game animals with just a simple spear the ultimate freedom of the human animal?