Bola weaponThe bola is made from weights (typically heavy rocks) on the ends of interconnected cords.  It is especially effective for capturing running game or low-flying fowl in a flock and does so by entangling their legs.

Bola wrapped in leather strapsMost bolas have two or three stones of equal weight (some bolas as been built with as many as eight).  A bola can also be designed to utilize two heavier weights on shorter cords with one lighter weight on a single longer cord.  In this design, the heavier weights hit both sides of the animal’s leg while the longer cord wraps securely around the leg.

How to construct a Bola weapon

To construct a bola, tie three 2-foot long cords together using a simple overhand knot.

Start a bola with three 2-foot long cords

Find three, round rocks about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger.  Then securely tie the weight to the end of each of the cores.

Attach rocks to ends of cord

Use a monkey’s fist knot  to hold the rocks or enclose the rocks in pouches or tied leather straps..

Monkey Fist knotted bola

How to use a Bola weapon

To use the bola, hold it by the center knot and twirl it above your head. You can also hold it by one of the weighted ends (if the weights are unequal, hold the bola by the lightest weight).  While twirling, aim the bola a the legs of your prey.  Release the knot so that the bola flies toward your target. When you release the bola, the weighted cords will separate. These cords will wrap around and immobilize the fowl or animal that you hit.

Throwing a bola