WHEN RYAN GILL was 13, his father gave him a stave—or long stick—from a black locust tree, along with a single wood rasp. By the time his dad got home from work that evening, Gill was standing over a mound of wood shavings and holding a primitive-looking bow in his hand. After stealing a string from a Bear recurve, they strung Gill’s first bow and shot it into the night—launching a lifelong obsession, Gill says, to re-create and hunt with the tools of our Stone Age ancestors.
Today, as the owner of Hunt Primitive, Gill spends most of his waking hours building self bows and atlatls and crafting wooden arrows, spears, and knives tipped with stone points he knaps by hand from flint and obsidian. When he’s not making them, he’s hunting with them. Gill has taken more than 50 game animals using his own primitive gear. He’s tried modern equipment, but says it’s the most basic tools, and the art of making them, that let you completely immerse yourself in the hunting process and get the most out of it.
This story originally ran in the Limits Issue of Field & Stream. Read more F&S+ stories.
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