Hey Hillbilly, Justin, and Mullet,
Thanks for the replies. I don't know if it's appropriate to call into question the superiority of stone on this site but the arguements that you are making in favor of stone do not answer the question 'is stone always better than steel for big game hunting?' I'm not saying that steel is better, just that you need better arguements.
Survival for thousands of years proves adequacy, not superiority to steel.
With some exceptions, technological progress tends to be just that (even though it may be at the cost of beauty or soul).
Sharper edges don't necessarily make better hunting points. The edge has to be strong enough to hold while being slammed into the side of an animal. Glass is used in surgery. My uncle develops medical research equipment (Sutter Insturments) that uses laser-breakers to make hollow points so small they can inject liquid into a single human cell. That's amazing, but that kind of sharpness doesn't necessarily translate to killing power. (Most people don't know this but there are still barbers in North America who offer shaves with obsidian edges).
The tests conducted by Pope used his trade points against Ishi's stone points. They were shot into a deer hide filled with livers. Bones would have skewed the results of course. While Pope did believe that Ishi's points penetrated soft tissue better than his points (30% better
), he wasn't convinced that they were always superior as hunting heads. Also note that Saxton Pope routinely achived penetration that today would be considered sub-par with his heads (i.e. steel heads have been improved since that particular test).
I read Marc's article and thought it was great, but again, it didn't prove the superiority of stone. That same season my friend made a 35 yard shot at a cow elk with a 53# longbow and his arrow bounced off a limb and hit the thing in the skull. Marc's stone point broke through the skull of a 85# deer and broke in the process. My friend's steel broadhead (Eclipse, two blade) broke through the thick skull of an 11 year old 700# elk, scrambled the brain and slipped out in perfect condition. Neither of these examples prove anything but adequacy.
The reason why I'm here is that I love this sport and the rich heritage we share. But, I believe in intellectual honesty, too. Primitive bows, arrows, and points are awesome and true technological advances to not take away from that. Compound bows have insane force-draw curves but they do not make Ishi's bows, or English warbows, or Pigmy bows any less amazing within their context. Our sport is one of heart and soul it doesn't have to have more killing power to be relevant. It's a much-needed refuge from the comfort and ease of modern life. I hunt primitive because I want to share in the struggle to live
that people of the past delt with all the time. It doesn't have to be more effective to be better.