Want to start a great discussion—or full blown argument—next time things are feeling a little slow in camp? Just toss out the question: “What are the greatest inventions that changed hunting?” You’ll get plenty of answers, and, when you think about it, there are a lot of great candidates. If you want to go the full spectrum of man’s existence, then certainly discoveries such as arrowheads, fire, gunpowder, invention of the gun or even the atlatl (yeah, I saw that one on a message board and have to agree, you can make an argument for it) are all worthy of being declared the greatest things to set our great hunting tradition rolling ever forward.
Even coming into more recent history, say the last 100 to 150 years, there are still too many options to really pinpoint the best. So, we went with five. Maybe you’ll agree, maybe you won’t. But there’s no denying the following five inventions had an amazing impact on the way the majority of us hunt and even live today.
Got a different invention you believe should bump one of these off the top five? Chime in on the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts. For now, here’s ours:
- Imperfect sighting devices in some shape or form have been around since the middle of the 19th century, employing various types of magnifying glass and diopters. According to several sources, the first known telescopic sight for firearms was the Chapman-James telescopic sight, though issues with sealing the lenses inside the body of the scope were faulty allowing outside air in, which quite frequently caused fogging inside the optic. There were some crude scopes in use during the Civil War, but it wasn’t until 1880 that August Fiedler, a forestry commissioner in Austria developed the first practical rifle scope. Kahles, which has been in business since 1898 and is the longest continuing optic manufacturer in existence today, took the idea and ran with it just as much of Europe and the rest of the world were about to run smack into a pair of World Wars.
The impact rifle scopes have had on hunting in just a little more than a century is obvious as they allow shooters to see better, both in bright light and low light, and allows them to obtain a better aim. The fact is, without scopes, most of us would never be able to shoot much beyond 100 to 150 yards with simple iron sights.