HOW SHOOTING BEGAN
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HOW SHOOTING BEGAN

HOW SHOOTING BEGAN




      

HOW SHOOTING BEGAN


HOW SHOOTING BEGAN

It all started when the boy-ape was being developed into the ape-boy away back there in the making of the third crust of the earth, or Tertiary epoch as it is called by geologists, and that was nearly a million years ago.

About the middle of that dim and distant age the boy-ape was a tailless, narrow-nosed fellow who had tremendously long and powerful arms and by means of them he could swing himself from tree to tree with the agility for which his kind has ever since been famous and at a speed almost as fast as you, or I, can run.

The Throwing of a Missile—But he was showing signs of being clever, was this boy-ape, in other ways than swinging in trees, and one of them was that he could throw a little, for he had learned how to grasp a stone or a stick, impart the energy of his muscles to it and hurl it with a good deal of force toward the object of his wrath.

Mere brutish strength, though, was not enough to enable the boy-ape to throw a missile either hard or straight, for the nerves of his eyes and the muscles of his arm and hand lacked co-ordination, that is, he hadn't practiced enough to get the knack of making them work together smoothly.

These crude efforts of his at throwing were not wasted however, for when he had evolved into the ape-boy during the latter part of the Tertiary Age, and environment had shortened his arms and made them more nearly the length of the boy of today the old hereditary trait of throwing stood him in good stead and as he emerged from the forest and lived in a cave his sole means of protection and probably of obtaining food depended very largely on his ability to throw hard, throw straight, and to hit what he aimed at.

This, then, was the very beginning of what we call shooting, and as the ape-boy became a real boy—that is, a boy who could talk and think and do things—he was ready for an age of discovery and of invention.

The Discovery of the Boomerang Like nearly all discoveries made by the early real boy the discovery of the boomerang was purely an accident, but unlike the ape-boy who lived before him he had the mental ability to improve upon any new thing that chanced his way.

As an illustration, one day he picked up a small bent stick a couple of feet long; it was a curiously sharpen stick, nearly flat and with a smooth end and he thought it would make a good throwing stick for hunting.

The first time he threw it a mighty strange thing happened for it missed the bird and describing a beautiful curve he saw it returning toward him; frightened he ran back of a tree and a second later it struck him on the head and he promptly keeled over. Either the stick had become alive or else an evil spirit was guiding it and it was a long time before he was brave enough to throw it again.

Sometimes it would go the way of all sticks but once in a while it would make a return swoop. He experimented and finally found that what was needed to make it return was to hold it a certain way and give it a peculiar twist as it left his hand and when he did this the stick would loop back if it did not strike the mark he aimed at. And thus it was that the boomerang came to be.

This strange and uncanny stick is still in use among the aborigines of Australia as a weapon of offense and defense and these savages have attained a very high degree of skill in throwing it.

Collins, A. Frederick. Shooting, for Boys,. New York: Moffat, Yard and, 1917. Print.

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