The 6 Manliest Ways People Still Hunt for Food

In a world where you can have hot food delivered to you within minutes even if you're in the middle of the wilderness, many of you probably believe that there are no more hunter-gatherers left. You would be wrong. There are still some places where buying a meal simply isn't an option. Fortunately, there are also still badasses who plunge through ice caverns, stare down lions and pop live testicles between their teeth just to survive another season.

#6. The Nepalese Dangle from Cliffs for Honey

The Bee Photographer – Eric Tourneret

Endangering oneself for the sake of honey is a task normally left to stuffed bears, but there are people from isolated villages in Nepal who routinely scale towering cliff faces to pilfer the homes of millions of bees for the sweet golden reward. The tremendous risk involved is unspoken, but understood by every villager (sort of like Grandma's racism at Thanksgiving), as is evidenced by the fact that many of the cliffs are named after people who fell to their deaths while trying to collect honey.

The Bee Photographer – Eric Tourneret
For example, this one is named "Tensu the Drunk."

The gathering is done by highly coordinated teams of insect-robbing specialists, each tasked with a specific duty, sort of like if the A-Team recruited a bunch of sugar-thieving cereal mascots to steal breakfast from withholding children. Presumably each group is prepped with a sobering viewing of Macaulay Culkin's bee sting death scene in My Girl before going out into the field.

Once at the cliff, the first step is pissing off hundreds of thousands of bees by igniting a massive blaze at its base. The logic here is to get all of the bees out of the hive -- if the bees are swirling around in a homicidal frenzy, they will sting the shit out of everyone, as opposed to just converging on whoever climbs up to take the honey and annihilating him. While the fire is being started, another squad lowers a ladder laden with buckets and ropes from the top of the cliff. Once it is in place, a team member called the guru carries two long bamboo poles up the ladder to stick his face into a one-ton gigafuck explosion of angry bees.

The Bee Photographer – Eric Tourneret
"Oh God, I think the EpiPen fell out of my pocket."

The guru ties himself to the ladder with one of the ropes and begins to blindly smash the poles into the beehive, following instructions being shouted at him from both above and below. The goal is to dislodge pieces of honeycomb into the buckets, which are then hoisted up by the team at the top of the cliff. The team at the bottom is responsible for moving the ladder around to reposition the guru as needed. Keep in mind that all of this is done via coordinated instructo-screams between the two teams -- the hurricane of furious bees keeps anyone from seeing what the hell they are doing for themselves.

The Bee Photographer – Eric Tourneret
The Deadliest Catch seems somehow less impressive now.

Meanwhile, the guru is being helplessly dragged across the cliff face and getting stabbed in the face and hands by the venomous ass-daggers of thousands of merciless insects. Most of the time, he's just covering up as best he can, but whenever there is a break in the bees, he maneuvers the dangling bucket into place with one pole while chopping away at the hive with the other.

An entire gathering usually takes over four hours, without a break, hanging from a cliff in a cloud of smoke while being stung by the world's biggest bees. Because honey is delicious.

#5. The Masai Steal Food from Lions


At some point in history, the Masai people of Africa decided that hunting would be way easier if they just stole all their food from lions (to be fair, there are definitely fewer steps involved). Before you dismiss this as hollow bravado, watch this video as three guys roll up on 15 blood-soaked lions and send them scattering into the underbrush:

It takes more people to successfully cover a Radiohead song, yet these dudes stroll in like they're booting a bunch of 12-year-olds off of a basketball court, and it totally works. The trick, according to the crusty English narrator who has never done anything like this before in his entire life, is to both maintain and project confidence, which is advice typically reserved for dating blogs, not situations where you're confronting a giant ravenous machine that sees you as a delicious walking hot dog.

"Don't worry: He won't hurt us. I brought confidence."

At any rate, the men stand straight and shoulder to shoulder, marching purposefully toward the lions without faltering, slowing or hesitating in any way, letting the lions know beyond a doubt that they mean business. They don't shout or brandish their weapons or make any obvious threats, but the lions are thoroughly intimidated and suddenly take off, abandoning their hard-earned kill to the three awesomest guys on the continent of Africa.

Now, the sobering reality is that this bluff won't last long -- it won't take but a minute or two for the routed jungle cats to figure out that 15 goddamn lions have an absurd advantage over three men with knives and arrows. But that's long enough for the men to hack off what they need and carry it back to feed their people, allowing the lions to return and sheepishly drag the carcass off to a more secure location to conceal their embarrassment.

"I swear to the great kings of the past, this had better not end up on YouTube."

#4. Percebeiros Free-Climb Ocean Cliffs for Barnacles

Denis Doyle

In the deepest, darkest depths of Spain's picturesque, tourist-friendly coastline, intrepid individuals risk their lives for goose barnacles, a kind of mollusk apparently named by someone who had never seen a goose before.

Human Planet
Not pictured: a goose.

The barnacles are known locally as percebes, and they're a popular delicacy, selling for around 200 Euros a kilogram. This is incentive enough for professional percebes gatherers, called percebeiros, because people will do absolutely anything for money. Percebeiros work in teams of at least two -- they head down to the rocky coast of Galicia, Spain (where the barnacles live), and take turns scrambling along the jagged outcroppings to scrape off bagfuls of the slimy sea boogers, scuttling up a safety line or leaping into cover as massive waves come crashing violently through like Jack Nicholson in a hedge maze.

At best, they have less than a minute between the surging blasts of ocean, which at first may not seem so bad, what with the safety line and all. The trouble is, if they want to get at the larger (and consequently more valuable) barnacles that grow lower down toward the base of the rocks, they can't use the rope. They just have to parkour their asses from stone to stone and hope that they don't slip and bust their skulls open or get hammerpunched by Poseidon's rage and carried out to sea.

The incentive actually increases in rougher conditions -- as fewer percebeiros are willing to risk a mangled drowning, the available supply of percebes dwindles, elevating both the demand and the price of the barnacles. And the risk of death is very real, with about five percebeiros dying every year so that restaurants across Europe can feed the slimy creatures to rich people.

Miguel Riopa / Getty
"I hope you choke on them."

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