Books by Stephen R. Coote

Ancient Skills by Stephen R. Coote. A 'how to' book about primitive technology.

A knowledge of the skills and methods described in this book could be extremely useful to anyone forced to rely on what nature provides.   But there is a wider value in learning these things: we can have a better understanding of what has happened in the past; we can develop a more practical, self-sufficient outlook on life; and our appreciation for the natural world can grow. 

Primitive crafts may provide a satisfying outlet for our creativity, and they can be a lot of fun. 

“Switch off the T.V. and the computer, and enrich your life…”  

Ancient Skills is available in paperback, and the most likely place to find it is online at The Copy Press who are based in Nelson, NZ. The book measures around 14 x 20 cm and contains about 150 pages.  Black and white line drawings are included. 

Ancient Skills was revised in August 2016 and is now available as a kindle book from Amazon.

Ancient Skills.  Contents:

Chapter one – Fire

Chapter two – String and Rope

Chapter three – Cutting Tools

Chapter four – Bows and Arrows

Chapter five – Rawhide and Hide Glue

Chapter six – Introduction to Iron Working

Chapter seven – Primitive Pottery

Chapter eight – Food for Thought

Chapter nine – Survival

Chapter ten – Ancient Wisdom

Harvesting Wild Meat - The Simple Art of Primitive Trapping by Stephen R. Coote.

If you like the idea of knowing how to catch animals and birds with nothing more than rocks, sticks and string, then you should read this book.  Stephen has had great success catching game with home-made traps.

Paperback in English.  Approximately A5 size.  Around 104 pages, including many black and white drawings.  The paperback version can be purchased from The Copy Press who are based in Nelson.

Also available as an inexpensive e-book from Amazon Kindle or the NZ company meBooks.


“Harvesting Wild Meat”   Chapter Headings:


Ethics, Sensitivity and Safety

Animal Territory and Behaviour

Where to Set Traps

The Simple Snare

Spring-Up Snares


Live-Catch Traps

Baits and Lures

Useful Knots, Materials and Equipment

When Stephen wrote the book “Ancient Skills” back in 2002, he did not write much about primitive trapping. He was concerned that he might encourage irresponsible people to set traps. But he is passionate about the subject, and having seen the proliferation of trapping information now available on the internet he decided that it was time to share his thoughts and knowledge.

Stephen  and his family like to grow their own fruit and vegetables, and to harvest wild meat and fish… as do many other people around the world. He believes that nothing in nature should be killed or harmed without a very good reason, and that killing should never be a sport.

While there is nothing wrong with eating ethically-farmed meat, wild meat can be a healthy and inexpensive alternative. It comes from a ‘free-range’ source, and during its life it should not have been fed any artificial chemicals or veterinary medicine. Before becoming food for another animal or a human, wild game has lived freely and naturally.

This book describes in detail a number of useful traps that Stephen has experimented with. It contains information that will help equip the reader to catch anything ranging in size from a mouse to a moose.  He has deliberately not described man-traps or any trap that is excessively dangerous.  He believes that things should be kept as simple as possible.

Here are some excerpts from the book’s introduction:

“…if trapping is currently against the law where you are now, there is no need to set aside this book.   The ideas written here could give you a greater understanding of animal behaviour, hunting and primitive technology.  You may get an insight into aspects of our ancestors’ lives.   And you will have knowledge that could be used or taught in order to help people survive.   It is conceivable that one day more people will want, or need,  to eat meat from the hedgerows and forests.  And if common sense prevails, trapping may once again be a legal and efficient means of harvest.   …..

“It is fair to say that most of us are here today because our ancestors were successful hunters.    Trapping is part of mankind’s cultural heritage, and an effective means of pest control, procuring food and gathering useful materials.    An understanding of trapping may help to provide our daily needs as well as give insight as to how our ancestors lived.  This book contains information to be used wisely and preserved for future generations.”

Stephen is always trying to learn more.  He has had a lot of experience since writing this book and he is generally happy to share what he knows with any sincere, ethical hunter who has a genuine respect for nature and its many inhabitants.