How to Make a Bola

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You've been wandering in the wilderness for three days. By now you've pretty much resigned yourself to the fact that you are very, very lost. Luckily, you've been able to procure fresh water, and you've been able to erect a makeshift shelter that keeps you warm enough during the night. But your rumbling belly reminds you that in a survival situation, finding food follows the procurement of water and shelter. You've seen a fair amount of small game wandering about--if only you can snag one. Why not try a bola? It's easy to make and surprisingly effective, especially against small game. Here's how it's done.

Lay a rope out on the ground. Divide it into three 3-foot sections.

Use a knife, scissors, or a sharp rock to cut the rope into the three previously-measured sections. You should now have three separate 3-foot rope segments.

Locate three small, round rocks or stones. Ideally, these rocks would be slightly larger than golf balls in size.

Wrap and tie about 12 inches of each rope segment around one of the rocks. Make sure that the rock is secured tightly within the confines of the rope. You should now have three 2-foot rope segments with a rock tied to one end of each.

Tie the free ends of the rope segments together. You should now have a bola about 20 inches in length, tied together at one end and bearing three rocks at the other.

Hunt. Aim the bola at the legs of small game, raising it over your head and letting it fly, using the same form you might use in swinging and shooting a sling. The momentum of the rocks will cause them to wrap around your prey's legs, effectively preventing your prey's flight.

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.