Hunting sling

by Anthony Frailey
(Bentonville, AR, USA)

A way to hunt, simple but effective

A way to hunt, simple but effective

I know this isn't exactly related to edible food itself, but is a way to attain much needed food if you are stuck in the wilds. It was stated before that hunting food would be time consuming, and wasting energy. I'm gambling that if you as a person alone or stranded in the wilds grab a long stick, and make a spear to hunt/fish with, this is so. The problem is that you have limited range, and must actively seek prey in some manner( this is based off the assumption that no gun, or bow of any sort is available.)

My suggestion, is to construct and use a sling.

Slings are one of the oldest tools used for hunting and protection. They are very simple to make (a few feet of string and something such as leather, or cloth is all you need.) Details on how to make one can be found all over the internet.

I've used string, rope, leather (from the tongue of an old shoe), leather from a cast off "broken" sling shot, cloth... you name it. I imagine that even vine could be used if it was supple and strong enough.

In most wilderness places, small game is abundant, but it's fast, and often flies away... much to fast to run down. Traps are not opportunist, meaning they just sit there until the right conditions (or skill of the trapper) trigger a hit or miss. A sling however is light and portable. Rocks, stones, clay balls hardened , even lead sinkers (though I don't recommend using lead anything.), can be found almost anywhere and every where.

A good rule of thumb is to try to find roundish smooth stones, golf ball size or bigger. Smaller is fine, especially if the "pocket" of your sling is small... it just means it takes more practice to get accurate. With just a bit of practice ( most average people can master their sling accuracy, and use in an hour.), you just became a surviving opportunist.

The technique varies by individual... what you feel most comfortable with. Overhand, underhand, side-sweep... the action is often compared to "throwing a ball" on release. Mostly, you just turn your body 30-90 degrees away from your target, whip the loaded sling around (more than three revolutions you are wasting energy ), let the tag end of your sling go, while turning toward your target. (Always keep your eye on the target, not the sling. I find it helps to point my index finger at the target after the "release"... it seems to help the accuracy, I just don't know why it does. )

Too often survivors in the wild happen upon birds on branches close, but just enough out of reach to take effectively. Squirrels, and rabbits also can be spotted close by. Rats and snakes , and even turtles make great food sources if you can nab em. The sling, effectively gives the survivor an effective advantage to procure some much needed sustenance.

Throwing a rock, just isn't the same. If you are a person with a major league arm, you might toss a rock in the upper 80-90 mph range, but all the velocity of the projectile is lost after just 10-20 feet. Accuracy is also lost pending the throw. The sling can generate tremendous power, giving a effective range up to 250 yards. ( so I am told, I try to stay in the "if I can see it clearly, it's a target in range". Anything over 30-50 yards I'm not going to try.) Those long range shots might be better suited to ward of predators, or sport/practice at those distances. Up close, the sling delivers a blinding speed attack, with little effort at all.

And talk about impact! I do not know the scientific measurements of how many pounds per square inch a sling can generate... but I do know it crushes bone easily. (My first attempt at using one in practice amazed me when I hit the target I was using. Old milk jugs filled with water, at about 100 feet away. The jugs filled up with water, have more resistance than any game you'd be hunting, and let me tell you the sling doesn't just hit and bounce off, it often bust the jugs to ruins in one blow, and has even penetrated right through them. Just imagine what it could do to a skull or rib cage.)

It's a cheap weapon, easily carried, light, and portable. I got a tip from watching Survivorman, the famous survivalist always carries a good multi-tool with him always. I now carry one too, and I always carry a pre-made sling with me in my pocket. Those are two tools I won't go out of the house with-out. I also keep one in my travel pack and hiking pack as well. Not only do I use it for light game hunting, I also use it for recreation. A good past time of mine is slinging stones at the local river. A few of my friends have also taken up the hobby.

Also, as I said before, it can be used in protection situations as well. I've killed persistent snakes, warded off coyotes, and dropped a wild boar running at me before. I know this was a bit long winded, but in addition to setting traps and snares, give this simple but highly effective tool a try. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

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A proven - true survival weapon !
by: Mel T. Deweese

Hello from Colorado,USA. EXCELLENT Info.! I have 40+ yrs.(age 74 and still)learning, teaching and sharing wilderness survival skills from the Arctic to the Amazon.( lived with the Negrito people of the P.I. 75-78.) People around the world know me as - "Mountain Mel". I have made and used several types of weapons. As for "being prepared" with a kit - I select my compact .22/410 folding rifle, the bow/arrow is next, then my folding sling shot (yes, fishing items are part of my "weapons".)

I backup my survival with "primitive skills knowledge" and select the throwing stick, the atl-atl and the sling. For myself, I find that the sling does require a lot of practice. But I love the idea and the facts about it's history . (At the same time my drag snares sets / Paiute dead-falls are working for me, ha.). I really enjoyed your exact info.! I offer you a USN super "Bravo Zulu"! THANKS, Mtn Mel-Ret. USN SERE-P.O.W. Inst./para-rigger (59-82) VN combat vet.(69-70)- tipi camp at 7,000 ft. .

Sling Ammo
by: Sam Morgan

Has any one tried recycled golf balls ?

Great article
by: Ivenionu

I actually started by looking at the slinging site, and making a few slings before I read your article. I found the article very helpful as well as many of the comments.
I made one from some Jute string. Wove the basket and ropes. A good little project. I have more respect now for the ancients who had to make the twine as well. I made a few others from 550 cord and that is what I use most.
I am still gaining experience and accuracy with my sling. I started out with being able to make the rock land within 180 degrees of my target every time. (Yes some rocks went directly behind me. The helicopter throw is not best for me.) Using the figure 8 throw I am now within 20 degrees regularly.
With more practice I expect to start hitting my target more often than 1 in 5 or 6.
Looking forward to reading more and perhaps gaining some useful tips too.

@ Daniel
by: Anthony Frailey

In all my years of this, the " shotgun" had never occurred to me. interesting, and thanks for the forum link! I bet it will help me, and many others that visit here!

Grape Shot
by: Daniel

Great article but one thing I saw missing is the shotgun technique. This is where you take a 5-10 grape sized pebbles and put them into a large enough sling pouch and fire the whole payload into a gander of birds or at any other target. This increases your chance/number of hits. It might not be 2 birds one stone, but it very well could be 2 birds one cast!

Here is a link to my favorite resource for slinging, but more specifically a forum on this very topic:

Also, very interested in :
by: Anonymous

Also very interested in how things are progressing with those that have posted and tried it.

Anyone use different ammo?

Anyone have any tips they'd like to share?

Any experiences to share?

My post, even though I thought might get one or two views at best, I've received over 100 PMs from folks all over the country thanking me for making the post, and how it sparked interest and was very helpful to them.

Thank you all, for supporting
by: Anthony

As always, I don't prowl this site but just a few times every year.

Thank you all for the encouragement, and kind words.
The best I can do, is simply grant my own opinion and experience in regards to sling use.

I am very sorry, to have left out any actual measurements, and accompanying distance/accuracy test.
The reason I had not included such in my descriptions, is because well ... I honestly never took the time to keep track of those things.

I also did not include any real means of describing how to make a sling.
That was because such information is readily available on the internet nowadays, possibly even in your local library somewhere.
Since every person is different, and materials can vary ... it boils down to personal preference , and experience using slings, to find " just the right length " , and suitable construction materials and construction types.

I'm very happy to hear, there are at least a few more slingers out there now. I honestly did not think, anyone would ever read this article when I wrote it.
I've made a few slingers out of local folks and friends over the years.( mostly for rec type use ... I'm about only one that would hunt with one that I know. )

Though the tool and use, is not the ideal absolute perfect thing to use always , especially in a survival situation ... but I had originally thought to include it, for the sake of ease of making one, it's simplicity to use, and the fact one would spend way less energy to attain small game by most other conventional means. ( snares, traps, spear/gig , catching with bare hands ... throwing rocks. ) It provides a higher percentage of food gathering, providing long ranged opportunity to someone needing to forage and seek sustenance.

Keep up the good work, and turn others onto this primitive and wonderful little device!

the best
by: Dwayne. C of Canada

I have been searching for days to find a good sling info site. I was looking for ranges and accuracy mainly. thank you for providing the info I needed. making a sling is easy various methods are implemented this is by far the best sling site I have found. co congratulations you have helped yet another person in the pursuit of this ancient hobby.
again thank you now I know that hunting with a sling is quite possible and it is reasonably easy to use. :)

Thanks for the words of encouragement
by: Anthony

I don't look here often enough it seems.

Thanks for the kind words and support.

I'm not an expert in survival by any means, nor would I say my tip is the best there is.

I'm glad so many people have found it useful and liked it though.

The sling is a very versatile tool, and helps anyone in any situation be able to spend less energy collecting food... with a bit of practice of course.

I made one recently out of old Wal-Mart bags lol. I had a bunch of them collected up, so I kinda cut them open, folded some into long strands, and braided them together to make "rope".
I made it shorter than I normally would make one. I used another two bags, folded them over onto each other to make "square-ish" pads, poked holes through em and attached the pre-made "ropes". It worked well for about 30 stones before starting to wear out and rip.
The ropes were fine, the pads needed help though.

I'll probably attach a leather pocket to it from some old scrap I got at some point.

It was interesting to use the bags.

I swear you can make them out of anything almost.

by: James Douglas

I have to say that I've been looking for a good "Hunting with a Sling" website or even just information and THIS is simply THE BEST OF THE BEST that I have found. So I don't need to look any further. As of NOW all I need to do is make my Sling and Practice.
Thanks Again for such an informational article in using a Sling for Hunting or Protection.


easy to make
by: Caleb

one thing i like about the sling is that it can be made out of nearly anything. i made mine out of a piece of old jeans and some leather cord

Reply to Accuracy Question...
by: Anthony

I dunno , It's really hard to say, especially with "underhand" slinging.

When I Underhand, it's always for distance... or to see how high I can "arc" the stone.
It's also harder to hit a target on the ground with the under-hand style I've noticed.

Up high, say in tree branches or up a cliff, would be better to "under-hand" the projectile up to a target I think.

Nothing beats practice... , but I would say my advice is to keep playing with your release style. You might be able to find some middle ground between an Under-hand and side sweep that works better for you.

The problem is here, it's not an EXACT science. Everyone's shoulders, arm lengths, depth perception, muscle mass/quantity is different, not to mention slings come in a variety of materials, weights, sizes... and so do the stones and projectiles.

It's awesome you kept your first one too! I still have my first, though it' seen so much use, it's in tatters. It was made from cast off shoe-strings and an old Daisy Sling-shot pocket.

-insert title here-
by: Anonymous

To boar killer:

(gave you a name =P ) I am pretty new to slinging, but I use pretty much only underhand... I am getting okay, but a boar, thats crazy! I too cant use a sling overhand at all... Sidearm just seems akward to me.
Any tips on how to gain some better accuracy(except practice, I figured that out myself).

Anyway, love the webpage. very detailed.
My first sling I made out of a boot and some twisty tie things (the little plastic strips with a metal strip in the middle that you get of of bread loafs). I actually still have it too, and it works ok, except the pocket is a little, well, little. No big deal, just cant shoot some rocks or they will be thrown out at a bad time and could be dangerous.

Continued ( though it'll be above last post)
by: Anonymous

Anyways, it wasn't a huge Boar... enough it could hurt ya though. I was impressed with the slings capability though. I didn't kill the Boar, but I stopped it. If it had been a real survival situation, the result would have been the same. Sling it, then finished off with spear or knife.

Now, at that time.. I had lots of practice and experience. I don't think a new slinger would have been able to do that as quickly as I did.

I've got about 26 years of slinging experience now. I'm pretty accurate, and fast. It comes with experience though. That's why I say play with it and practice.

I kinda sling in a side-arm sling style myself. ( Short range.) I point my hand or fingers at my target as I release too.
Long ranged shots ( mostly for fun )I use an underhand style... arching the flight of projectiles.
Over-hand just never felt comfortable to me.

I'm glad everyone liked the tip. Just keep slinging!

Anthony's Reply
by: Anonymous

Thanks everyone for the support. I hadn't checked here in a long time myself. ( Lost links I guess hehehe. )

Yes I dropped a boar charging me. It weighed about 60 lbs I'm guessing, ( got about 30 cut meat from it.)
I was hiking across a field with a friend, and the thing grunted and kinda ran away. I pulled the sling out of my pocket, and my friend laughed at me.
I grabbed a field rock, it was slightly odd shaped and jagged, but it was about the right size and weight.
The boar was young I could tell, maybe inexperienced, be cause it came back not in a line at us, but was running around in a semi-circle around us.
After a minute of me waiting and a few turns of my sling, thats when it came right at me. Instinctively I let the stone fly at it.. gauging it's distance and it's speed... the rock smashed it's collar bone area, and it rolled and flopped squealing. My friend put it down the rest of the way with is bowie knife.
Contacted a game warden, turned out it was a legal kill. Butchered it right there... took the meat back to camp.

sling hunting
by: Anonymous

you actually dropped a charging wild boar? I've been slinging for a long time and haven't bagged anything yet.

Great comments
by: Anonymous

I have just started using a sling and I too am amazed at the power and accuracy, well, reasonable accuracy. I have about an hours total sling time and have hit my Purple Martin house after three attempts. (Now I will have to fix it), A large terracotta pot on the first try, I really didn't expect to hit it, Got rid of the evidence before the wife saw it. One bulls eye shot at the wind chimes about 50 feet away with two friends looking on. "Wow, you hit it!". Lucky for me they didnt ask me to repeat it. I acted like it was an everyday thing and we went in for a beer. I pass a gravel pit and stop twice a week for about ten minutes at a time. i throw at what ever catches my eye, some long, some short. My arm got a little sore the first two or three times but I got over that.

These are a lot of fun and a little bit of practice pays off big.

I picked up a tip that improved my accuracy.
I use an overhead helicopter throw and release when my hand is pointing at the target. It helped a lot, with a little fine tuning, you get better fast. Still tryig to get the overhand throw down.

Not long winded
by: swampguy

I just read your article. I don't think that it was long at all. I am one who likes the details and I feel that your explanation was great. I also cannot wait to try and make one and use it. I do a lot of hiking and wander in the woods for a few days. I never get lost, because how can you be lost if you do not care where you are?

well explained
by: Anonymous

It is great that you explaied this in so much detail. It all makes perfect since and I cannot wait to try it.

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