What Did Ancient People Use to Hunt?

Ancient Hunting Techniques

Throughout history, ancient people have used a variety of hunting techniques to provide food for their tribes. Depending on the era, available resources, and region, they developed different techniques.

Boiling Pit

A boiling pit was a technique used by North American First Nations tribes. Water was heated in a large pit dug in the ground, and the hunters would scare prey from the water and into the hot liquid. Usually, the animals would try to escape, but with walls and sticks blocking the way, it would evaporate in the hot water.


Trapping is also a technique that has been widely used in many parts of the world. It consists in placing a snare, usually made with sticks and cord, in an area where the prey is abundant. When the prey passes through, the snare is triggered and closes the entrance, trapping the prey and making it easy to capture.

Spear and Bow

Spears are probably the oldest hunting weapons ever used. Ancient cultures around the world relied on spears to hunt. The spear was used to thrust or launch at animals and birds, incapacitating them and allowing them to be easier to catch. Bows and arrows were also widely used as weapons, and are still in use today in some countries.


Poison was also used in some cultures. The poison was usually kept inside a tube made out of bone, wood or clay and was used to dip arrows or spears in it. When the prey was hit by the arrow or spear, the poison would incapacitate them, making them easier to catch. This technique was mainly used by tribes from the Ancient Americas, Africa, and the Pacific Islands.


Fire was also used by many ancient cultures to hunt. It was usually started by hunters to create a barrier between the prey and themselves. The animals would then be trapped in the circle of fire and easier to capture.


Ancient people used a variety of techniques to gather food and provide for their tribes. Some of the techniques we’ve discussed include boiling pits, traps, spears, bows and arrows, poison, and fire. This shows us how innovative and resourceful ancient people were and the ways they used their surroundings to sustain themselves.

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