The first peoples had a nomadic way of life and moved around to find game which provided them with food, fur to protect themselves against the elements, and materials (bones, hooves, horns) to make tools. The first carved stone tools were used to kill as well as to cut. After the domestication of fire some 400 000 years ago, hunter-gatherers honed their skills to turn raw materials such as flint into hunting weapons. They made use of the terrain (chasms, marshes) to capture and kill their prey, then created traps, often by digging trenches, to hunt more efficiently. Weapons became more refined and complex over time. The use of bows and arrows spread all around the world, except in Australia where the boomerang was the weapon of choice.
Other hunting techniques, such as beating, involve collaboration between humans and animals. It is thought that dogs have been tamed for this purpose since Neolithic times, and horses since the 2nd millennium BCE. The Assyrians already mastered the art of falconry 2700 years ago, a practice that was also known in China and India at that time. Several treatises on hunting techniques were written during Antiquity, including Kynegetikos (On Hunting) by the philosopher Xenophon in the 4th century BCE. This treatise mentions hunting hare, boar and deer.
In the Middle Ages, horses, falcons and dogs were still an essential hunting aide, as were bladed weapons and throwing weapons (bows, spears for boars, swords and knives). In general, weapons used in combat were also used for hunting. The first recorded use of firearms (arquebuses) dates back to the 16th century. Nowadays, in developed countries where hunting is mostly a leisure activity, guns and rifles have become the most commonly used weapons.