Skunting: The ancient art of hunting on skis
By angelamontana

Posted: December 1, 2021

Now, our hunting season weather varies from year-to-year, and we don’t always have good snowfall–but sometimes we do.  Have you ever heard of “skunting”?  It is an interesting way to go about hunting that goes waaaay back.  But it really doesn’t have much to do with the skiing you may be thinking of.

Check this out:

Post-holing through knee-deep snow is the preferred method of winter hunting in America. On the other hand, skiing is generally embraced by those who lap groomed runs until the legs give out or the après booze starts flowing. There’s nothing wrong with this contemporary version of skiing, but it’s poles apart from the sport’s original purpose—a tool for traveling, warring, and hunting.

Origins of Skiing and Ski Hunting The Chinese, Russians, and Scandinavians were all early adopters of those practices. According to the International Skiing History Association, skis preserved in peat bogs and petroglyphs depicting figures riding planks suggest that humans have been riding the snow for over 5,000 years. But some evidence indicates that the sport could be much older than that.

Travel writer Mark Jenkins experienced traditional ski hunting first-hand with Tuvan and Kazakh tribesmen of Central Asia. In a National Geographic article, Jenkins wrote of the ongoing practice of hunting Asian elk on skis. In what looks like a subzero rodeo, traditional hunters run down elk in deep snow using a lasso and a pair of rudimentary planks.

Read more from Christopher Bancroft with Meateater.com here.