Wupen Bonkers / Shillelaghs
The term Bonker comes from the word Bonk which means "to bang or hit somebody or something". Fish bonkers have been around for a while but since I live in Cougar and Bear Country I decided to make , what I called Cougar Bonkers and Bear Bonkers. Actually, the first one I made was a novelty gift for a friend. I have sold many bonkers since, some buy them as a novelty item, while others actually carry them for insurance, while hiking.
My bonkers are really a relative to the Irish Shillelagh which is named after a village of the same name, in east central Ireland. The Irish Shillelagh is a short club (about 18-24" long) traditionally made of oak or blackthorn wood, that was carried as a defense against muggers and thieves in the old days. Shillelaghs are still very popular today. They are kept in homes and cars throughout Ireland for the same purpose.
I make most of my Bonkers (Shillellaghs) from maple (and recently from Diamond Willow), since oak and blackthorn are not available here. Anyways, a maple bonker (shillelagh) will be just as effective in the unlikely event that one had to be used.
Originally the Irish Shillelagh was a two handed club made from Oak. When the British invaded they cut down the oak forests (shipped the lumber to England) and put a ban on the making of oak weapons. The locals then began making their shillelaghs from Irish blackthorn (type of hawthorn). The blackthorn pieces were made longer, more like a cane or walking stick, to appear innocent of their true purpose. Many of the Irish Shillelaghs sold today as souvenirs are in the form of a walking stick or cane.