Topic: Could whistling arrows prove a good addition to ranged hunting ?  (Read 317 times)


Petike

« on: February 03, 2019, 08:23:46 AM »
I've read quite a few articles about whistling arrows already years back, when I was reading about historical archery, including the various forms of hunting archery in different cultures around the world. Having recently watched Sami's video from his separate archery channel - on making and testing a Siberian-style whistling arrow - the idea immediately struck me. This could be a potential addon, official or by the modders, for the game. Specialised for waterfowl hunting. Not useful as an actual hunting projectile, but shot as an initial decoy to scare the birds into landing, thus becoming easier targets for conventional arrows.

* * *

On the off-chance someone tries to develop whistling arrows as a mod/addon idea:

I think they wouldn't be too sophisticated to necessitate being a barter item. Unlike broadheads, they don't need a metal arrowhead, so the player should be able to craft them, much like the standard arrows (with lithic arrowheads) or the blunt arrows. In fact, I see the hypothetical in-game whistling arrows as something of a cousin to the blunt arrows - fulfilling a more specialised role in ranged hunting. Blunts don't damage the outside of small prey and birds that much, or just knock them unconscious, while whistling arrows are an indirect tactical utensil.

I could imagine the hollow wooden arrowhead with the openings being manufactured from a block of wood (given the size, maybe a single block could yield material for even 2 or 3 whistling arrowheads). Crafting-wise, the player would have to:
1.) carve out or split the raw version of the arrowhead from a block of wood
2.) split the arrowhead (or several, depending on the yield) with a knife or handaxe
3.) hollow out the halves of the arrowhead(s) with the use of a carving knife while next to a burning fire (either a campfire or a fire in the stove)
4.) put the pieces together with tying material or whatever is already used for gluing purposes

The remaining part of the whistling arrow (shaft, fletching, arrowhead attachment, etc.) would be crafted in the same manner as the standard (lithic) arrows, and the blunt arrows.

While hunting, the whistling arrow's flight over a particular area could generate some sort of trigger in that location, causing any bird in a particular radius to stop flying and land on the ground or a water surface. This would be especially effective with waterfowl, marginally or occassionally effective with the various grouse species, and completely ineffective with predatory birds.

I suppose some secondary uses (besides the primary one, waterfowl hunting) could include:
- startling a land animal (e.g. scaring away a predator without fighting it)
- startling a human adversary NPC at a distance (possibly as a temporary distraction)
- a signal for any human companion NPCs (rallying signal, warning signal, attack signal, etc.)

* * *

Concerning a historical realism perspective, I honestly don't know if there is any surviving material evidence of whistling arrows from Scandinavia from the pre-gunpowder era. I know a general problem in Finnish archaeology is that a lot of the soils in Finland are not too conductive to artefact preservation. Wood is an obvious material that can easily rot away and decompose over the course of several years, decades and particularly centuries. So it wouldn't be any wonder if no traditional Finnish hunting arrows from antiquity or the early Middle Ages survive today. Whistling arrows included.

It might be a stretch introducing them into the game, but you have the excuse of their usage among the wider group of Finno-Ugric language nationalities. Then there's the fact the game has the rare hand-and-a-half swords as a minor permitted anachronism. Personally, I think whistling arrows wouldn't be too weird in the existing setting.  ;)
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 11:06:00 PM by Petike »

« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2019, 01:59:46 PM »
Why would whistling arrows force waterfowl to land?  ???
When a loud noise scares birds, don't they all immediately fly off in a huge flock?


JEB Davis

« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2019, 02:30:15 PM »
I'm not the final word on modding, but making anything produce a noise with that effect on birds does not seem possible, Petike.

Petike

« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2019, 06:24:20 PM »
Why would whistling arrows force waterfowl to land?  ???
When a loud noise scares birds, don't they all immediately fly off in a huge flock?

Good point, that would be my first thought as well. However, it is a bit case dependent. All the more that in the real world, these types of arrow can come in several arrowhead configurations, producing different sounds depending on the design.

As Sami explains in the video, the particular design of whistling arrowhead he's demonstrating creates a sound that is reminescent of a falcon or other bird of prey's cry or chirp. Birds hunted by these species often have a tendency to seek cover if they hear these sounds. I suppose it's because many small bird of prey species, falcons included, are notoriously fast flyers. It might be a better survival strategy to ground yourself and hide, rather than trying to outfly them. (Waterfowl are still a bit more nimble while on land, than virtually all bird of prey.)

Given that the particular Siberian ethnicity that used these was apparently quite successful in using whistling arrows in ambush hunting strategies, I suppose the trick works. Yes, it does sound counterintuitive at first hearing, but there was probably something to it if it remained a popular bit of hunting equipment for so many centuries.

I'm not the final word on modding, but making anything produce a noise with that effect on birds does not seem possible, Petike.

Just to clarify: I didn't mean the whistling arrow's sound propagation would be tied to the area of effect. Instead, the arrow would directly project the area of effect, as an item in movement. Seems far simpler to code the outcome to the arrow itself, rather than to its sound effect.

If it's not possible to assign an action/effect like that to an arrow even in that simpler manner, then I suppose a functional whistling arrow addon will remain a pipe dream for now.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 06:33:51 PM by Petike »

Erkka

« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2019, 07:41:17 PM »
Quote
As Sami explains in the video, the particular design of whistling arrowhead he's demonstrating creates a sound that is reminescent of a falcon or other bird of prey's cry or chirp. Birds hunted by these species often have a tendency to seek cover if they hear these sounds. I suppose it's because many small bird of prey species, falcons included, are notoriously fast flyers. It might be a better survival strategy to ground yourself and hide, rather than trying to outfly them.

I don't have referenfe books at hand, but based on my memory: a whistling arrow works with aquatic birds, when the flock is flying above a body of water. The arrow is shot so that it flies above the flock of birds - they hear the whistling sound above them, take it as a sign of danger, and seek cover by diving into the water below them. Then the hunter readies ordinary hunting arrows, waits for the birds to surface one after one, trying to hit them the very moment when they surface - that often is the moment when they don't move for a second, and we all know that hitting a stationary target is far more easier than trying to down a flying bird.

Petike

« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 06:34:01 AM »
I don't have reference books at hand, but based on my memory: a whistling arrow works with aquatic birds, when the flock is flying above a body of water. The arrow is shot so that it flies above the flock of birds - they hear the whistling sound above them, take it as a sign of danger, and seek cover by diving into the water below them. Then the hunter readies ordinary hunting arrows, waits for the birds to surface one after one, trying to hit them the very moment when they surface - that often is the moment when they don't move for a second, and we all know that hitting a stationary target is far more easier than trying to down a flying bird.

Yes, that's what I meant. It's all about tricking the birds to land temporarily, making them an easier target to hit (even with conventional arrows) than if they were in flight.

Erkka

« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 05:21:06 PM »
Quote
Yes, that's what I meant. It's all about tricking the birds to land temporarily,

Yeah, I was somewhat vague with my quotation, as my main intention was to clarify on the comment by More_tribal_interaction; indeed, when scared by a loud noise, the natural reaction of most of the birds, most of the time, would be to scatter away, taking evasive manouvers in flight (making them even harder to hit with an arrow). So the special trick is with aquatic birds when they happen to be flying above a body of water - in that spesific case their insincts drive them to dive into the water, instead of trying to rapidly fly away.