Engraved decoration of a hunting scene

History of Hunting

The human species began as hunter-gatherers, and ever since men and women around the world have hunted for subsistence, for profit, or for sport.

Hunting has had a profound effect upon landscapes and ecologies, and has both preserved and destroyed whole species of animals and birds.

About 10,000 years ago man first began to domesticate animals and plant crops. From settled farming communities, now producing an excess of food, came the ability to specialise, to learn other craft skills, to live in towns, and to become civilised.

The change to settled agriculture and the development of civilisation led to increased populations, which ever since have threatened animals by destroying their habitats.

Despite the change to a settled agricultural existence, with its much reduced need to catch food to survive, man’s love of hunting continued.

Hunting offered excitement, tested strength, courage, skill and was an opportunity for the wealthy to show off, as can be seen by some of the fabulously decorated weapons.

For many today, hunting is repulsive and indefensible; to others it is a natural right; and for some it is still essential for survival.

Did you know?

American gifts re-open Japan in 1853

15 rifles, 3 muskets, 12 cavalry swords, 20 army pistols, 2 carbines, 2 telegraph instruments, a model steam locomotive and tender, 4 volumes of John James Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’, and 1 barrel of whiskey for the Emperor and much more!

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