One of the earliest weapons used by humans, the throwing stick, commonly known as the rabbit stick (or throwing club, kylie, or boomerang), is very effective against small game (squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits). The rabbit stick itself is a blunt stick or wooden club, straight or naturally curved at about a 45-degree angle. In the air it rotates rapidly, striking the target with one of its ends maiming or killing it. As a utility tool, it can also be used as a digging tool and as a weapon, it can be used as a club. It is ideal in open areas where game can easily be seen and no other structures exist that can inhibit the rabbit stick’s flight.
Making a Throwing Stick
Select a stick with the desired angle from heavy hardwood such as oak. They are typically 12-24 inches in length. If a stick cannot be found with the appropriate angle, it may be possible to warp green wood by heating it over coals to make is pliable, bending it, and placing the bent stick between two rocks until it cools off and dries. The diameter should be approximately the size of the thrower’s wrist.
The throwing stick can be round or flattened, much like the shape of an airplane wing. To flatten, shave off two opposite sides so that the stick is flat like a boomerang. A flattened stick is much more aerodynamic than a rounded stick and focuses the area of impact in a smaller area (the thinned edge). Either way, the bark should be removed and the surface smoothed to improve aerodynamics.
Note that the shape can vary greatly. Straight sticks are rare. Common shapes are “V’ shaped, slightly “L” shaped, or “Z’ shaped. If the stick is indeed straight, it is common to weight the ends with stones are a lead filled hole in the end of the stick.
Throwing a Rabbit Stick
You must practice the throwing technique for accuracy and speed. First, align the target by extending the non-throwing arm in line with the mid- to lower-section of the target. Slowly and repeatedly raise the throwing arm up and back until the throwing stick crosses the back at about a 45-degree angle or is in line with the non-throwing hip. Bring the throwing arm forward until it is just slightly above and parallel to the non-throwing arm. This will be the throwing stick’s release point. Practice slowly and repeatedly to attain accuracy.