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How to make and use a Bola (rocks on string weapon)

Bola tied around stones
Natives hunting with bola weapons

The 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 by entangling their legs. The weighted end can also strike the target to stun or kill it.

Most bolas have two or three stones of equal weight (some bolas have 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 bola 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 (paracord or thin rope) together using a simple overhand knot.

Bola weapon ropes cordage

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 cords.

Bola tied around stones

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

How to use a Bola weapon

How to throw a bola

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 at 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. Move quickly to the animal for the kill.

Image Credits

In-Article Image Credits

Natives hunting with bola weapons via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - Creative Commons License. March 23, 2016

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Bola tied around stones via


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