Fishermen: The Last True Hunters and Gatherers

two cavemen are fishing in the river
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If you want an approximation of the caveman’s foraging spirit, just take a look at a fisherman.

No, not the skipper of one of those massive commercial boats that dredges the sea for massive amounts of fish, or a fish farmer raising salmon for supermarkets and restaurants.

Rather, look at the fisherman who heads out every morning looking to catch something for dinner, and perhaps a little extra to sell or trade for whatever other food he’ll need—the true hunter-gatherer.

Fishermen often don’t have to spend as much time out tracking down their daily supply as those who rely on farming. Their time out on the water is, ideally, relatively short. After years of practice, they can develop a keen sense of where to go to get that day’s ration.

And there’s little percentage in hanging around after they’ve got enough to fill their boat’s capacity. In fact, it’s a smarter move to hurry back and take care of the considerable duties that wait on shore.

Many think cavemen followed the sea. After all, its waters can provide a rich bounty. But there’s a lot to do once the fish have been caught.

For starters, there’s the task of taking care of the catch. Those fish that are to be eaten have to be taken home and prepared for the next meal. If they’re to be sold, the task is to find customers while the catch is as fresh as possible.

Anyone who has been fortunate enough to spend time in a less-developed area by the water may know the pleasure of having such a fisherman row up and display what they’ve caught that day. How much better such catch tastes when consumed moments or hours later than the finest versions found in the local markets back at home.

In addition, there’s also a lot of work to be done that doesn’t occur on the water. As has been the case for thousands of years, fishermen rely on their tools.

Fishing nets have to be woven and mended, and hooks need to be fashioned out of the available local materials. Boats need to be maintained with care, as they essentially are a fisherman’s livelihood.

Watch a fisherman care for his tools, and you’ll see the care that occurs when the objects someone owns are critical to their survival and not easily replaced.

The hunter-gatherer is a casualty of time, and few from the days of the cavemen would recognize their modern counterparts. But the fisherman … he’s old school. He’s the last of the hunters who catches animals from the wild to be distributed as a food staple for others.

If you can find an indigenous fisherman who still works with the techniques and the materials that his forefathers passed down to him, you’ll get as close a version of that as exists in the present day.

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Rudi Cavemen

RUDI is the storyteller of the tribe. He knows a great many tales about the animal gods. To him, nature is a friend that should be cared for.

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