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Hunting - All but a few Indians lived by hunting.  One estimate is that nine tenths of the American Indians hunted.  Schoolcraft, the great Indian authority, estimated that it required 8,000 acres of land, kept in wilderness state, to support a single Indian by the chase.  This meant 40,000 acres to keep the average family in food.

The Indian hunted much as the white man goes to war.  He used strategy and tactics.  His strategy consisted in capturing the animals by traps, pitfalls, and nets.  He employed tactics in stalking his game, in using the proper weapons, and sometimes by the use of fire, when he smoked out his quarry.

The Indian regulated his life to the habits of the animals upon which he depended for food.  He lived as close to them as possible, and if they were roving animals like the buffalo, he followed them.

hunting was done by the men of the tribe, but the game was usually left for the women to skin and cut up.  Stalking was a necessary art.  The hunter tried to get as close as possible, especially if using a bow and arrow, for the average arrow was only effective at fifty yards or less.  When he saw a group of animals he wanted to kill as many as he could.  One writer says that on such occasions the Indian became very nervous, pointing his weapon at first one animal and then another before he could decide which to shoot first.  If using a gun he tried for a "pot shot," or one which would kill several animals at once - or more for the pot.

Hunting was regulated by tribal rules and sometimes took on a religious aspect.


Related Information within this Site
[ Arrow ][ Bow ][ Buffalo ][ Feasts ][ Fishing ][ Guns ]