The engraving is from a manuscript in the Royal Library, written about the commencement of the 14th century.
The engraving represents a Saxon chieftain, attended by his huntsman and a couple of hounds, pursuing the wild swine in a forest, taken from a manuscriptal painting of the ninth century in the Cotton Library.
The above is a representation of the manner of attacking the wild boar, from a manuscript written about the commencement of the fourteenth century, in the possession of Francis Douce, Esq.
The art of slinging of stones was well known and practised at a very early period in Europe, but we have no authority to prove that it was carried to so high a pitch of perfection in this part of the globe, as it appears to have been among the Asiatic nations. It is altogether uncertain, whether the ancient inhabitants of Britain were acquainted with the use of the sling or not; if the negative be granted, which hardly seems reasonable, we must admit the probability of their being taught the properties of such an instrument by the Romans, who certainly used it as a military weapon.
We can speak more decidedly on the part of our ancestors the Saxons, who seem to have been skilful in the management of the sling; its form is preserved in several of their paintings, and the manner in which it was used by them, as far back as the eighth century, may be seen below, from a manuscript of that age in the Cotton Library. It is there represented with one of the ends unloosened from the hand and the stone discharged. In the original the figure is throwing the stone at a bird upon the wing, which is represented at some distance from him.
This engraving represents a Saxon nobleman and his falconer, with their hawks, upon the bank of a river, waiting for the rising of the game. The delineation is from a Saxon manuscript written at the close of the ninth century, or at the commencement of the tenth; in the Cotton Library.
This engraving is made from a manuscript of the tenth century in the Cotton Library. The bow is curiously ornamented having the head and tail of a serpent carved at the ends; and was, probably, such a one as was used by the nobility. In all these bows we may observe one thing remarkable, that is, the string not being made fast to the extremities, but permitted to play at some distance from them. How far this might be more or less advantageous than the present method, I shall not presume to determine.
In other instances we see it depicted with both the ends held in the hand, the figure being placed in the action of taking his aim, and a bird is generally the object of his exertion, as in the following engraving from a parchment roll in the Royal Library, containing a genealogical account of the kings of England, to the time of Henry III.
It is evident, however, that the ladies had hunting parties by themselves.
We find them, according to this representation, in the open fields winding the horn, rousing the game, and pursuing it, without any other assistance: this delineation, which is by no means singular, is taken from a manuscript in the Royal Library, written and illuminated early in the fourteenth century.
We may also here notice, that the ladies not only accompanied the gentlemen in pursuit of this diversion, but often practised it by themselves; and, if we may believe a contemporary writer, in the thirteenth century, they even excelled the men in knowledge and exercise of the art of falconry, which reason, he very ungallantly produces, in proof that the pastime was frivolous and effeminate.
Hawking was forbidden to the clergy by the canons of the church; but the prohibition was by no means sufficient to restrain them from the pursuit of this favourite and fashionable amusement. On which account, as well as for hunting, they were severely lashed by the poets and moralists; and, indeed, the one was rarely spoken of without the other being included; for those who delighted in hawking were generally proficients in hunting also.
The hunting dresses, as they appeared at the commencement of the fifteenth century, are given from a manuscript of that time, in the Harleian Collection.
We see a party of both sexes hawking by the water side; the falconer is frightening the fowls to make their rise, and the hawk is in the act of seizing upon one of them. From a manuscript of the 14th century
Two Saxon Archers
The one accompanied by his dog, is in search of the wild deer; the other has no companion, but is depicted in the act of shooting at a bird; and from the adornment of his girdle, appears to have been no bad marksman.
The first represents Esau going to seek venison for his father, and the second, Ishmael, after his expulsion from the house of Abraham, and residing in the desert.
Much of his hunting is done from his canoe or kayak. This is narrow, sharp-pointed at both ends, and light. It consists of a slight framework over which skins are tightly stretched. The opening above is but large enough for him to get his legs and body through. When he has crept in, he ties a collar of skin, that surrounds the opening, about his body, below his arms, to prevent the water dashing into the kayak, and paddles away. His different weapons are all fastened in their proper places on top of the canoe, where he can seize them when wanted. The Eskimo are wonderful boatmen and drive their kayaks over the waves like seabirds. If they tip over, they easily right themselves.
Rocky Mountain men setting traps
Indian “Buffalo Jump”—Yellowstone Valley.
To pierce the skin of one of the large animals, such as a mastodon or mammoth, the hunters had to be close to the powerful beast. They hurled or jabbed their spears at the animal, and tried to confuse and immobilize their prey. Perhaps several hunters surrounded an isolated animal waving their arms and distracting it while one or two others speared it. If the animal was wounded, the hunters would have tracked it until it became very weak or went to water to drink. Even a mastodon, wounded and exhausted, or mired in the mud of a shallow lake, would have been relatively easy game for a small group of experienced hunters.
Dogs may have been kept as pets, and may have helped in hunting. Meso-Indians developed many new hunting and fishing techniques. They used fishhooks, traps, and nets for catching fish and other small animals, and they used a new weapon called the atlatl (pronounced at′lat′l) to help kill their most important prey, deer.
An atlatl was made from a flattish, two-foot long piece of wood and was used as a spear-thrower. It had a hook, made of bone or antler, attached on one end and a hand grip carved on the other end. A stone, clay, or shell weight was sometimes attached toward the hooked end to increase the force of the throw, or perhaps only for decoration. A spear was rested on the atlatl with the end of the spear shaft inserted into the atlatl hook. The hunter held the atlatl grip and the middle of the spear in the same hand, then he hurled the spear from the atlatl. The atlatl acted as an extension of his arm, giving extra power and accuracy to the throw.
The next operation is to introduce the tame elephants into the corral to aid in securing the captives. Cautiously the bars which secure the entrance are let down, and the trained elephants, each mounted by its mahout and one attendant, enter the corral. Around the elephant’s neck is a strong collar composed of ropes of coconut fiber, from which hangs on either side cords of elk’s hide prepared with a ready noose. Gradually each trained animal approaches one of the wild ones, until being sufficiently near, the nooser watching his opportunity, slips the noose over one of its legs. Immediately the tame elephant retires with its riders, drawing the rope tight, and hauling the captive toward some large tree
Wolves hunting a deer
Archeological explorations revealed that the colonists enjoyed archery. The iron lever shown, known as a “goat’s foot,” Was used for setting the string of a light hunting crossbow. It was found 4 miles from Jamestown. Illustration showing the use of a “goat’s foot” From Weapons, A Pictorial History by Edwin Tunis.
"The Way to catch Squirrels on the Ground in the Woods"--Fac-simile of a Miniature in the Manuscript of the "Livre du Roy Modus" (Fourteenth Century)
One of the best ways of pleasing Louis XI. was to offer him some present relating to his favourite pastime, either pointers, hounds, falcons, or varlets who were adepts in the art of venery or hawking
The mode of hunting with these animals was as follows: The sportsmen, preceded by their dogs, rode across country, each with a leopard sitting behind him on his saddle. When the dogs had started the game the leopard jumped off the saddle and sprang after it, and as soon as it was caught the hunters threw the leopard a piece of raw flesh, for which he gave up the prey and remounted behind his master
Hunting-Meal.--Fac-simile of a Miniature in the Manuscript of the "Livre du Roy Modus" (National Library of Paris)