Bows & Arrows of the Native American

Discussion in 'Archery' started by Geoff Randall, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. Geoff Randall

    Geoff Randall Guide

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    I posed this question in a post in the Media sub-forum, and thought I would do better here...the question I have is how were the Plains Indians able to take down one ton bison with the archery tools of the time? I have read elsewhere the difficulty of using what was considered "state of the art" rifle calibers in 44-40, which by today's standards would be considered anemic at best for buffalo hunting, but I am curious about the use of bows and arrows during that time.
     
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  2. LazyPK

    LazyPK Scout

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    Not all plains tribes hunted buffalo, because it was such a challenge. The ones that did used atlatls, spears, and the natural environment (i.e. cliffs). I think that the use of bows for buffalo is hollywood fiction, but I could be wrong
     
  3. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Supporter Supporter

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    If memory serves me there was mention of the use of bow & arrow hunting buffalo in the Ray Mears' Bushcraft S02 E03 - American Prairies series. The native Americans made their bows with big horn sheep antlers, with a tale that the bow was so strong the arrow passed through the buffalo being culled & hit the buffalo calf running nearby.. I shall have to ask Ray Mears or the Woodlore Team for the true facts of this story & look up if there's a YouTube link. *BBC link has been removed from iPlayer.
    Regards
    David
    Edited found it.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6dt8jt5j70
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  4. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Natives were pretty thrifty, metal arrow heads were very common. Made from wagon wheel hoops, old cooking pots, nails or any metal they might encounter. They also were effective at getting very close to their quarry. I doubt they were getting many pass through shots on buffalo but they were might efficient trackers and you put enough shafts into, even a bull buffalo, it will bleed out sooner or later.
     
  5. crunksknunk

    crunksknunk Scout

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    A well placed shot to a buffalo's diaphragm will cause the lungs to collapse pretty quickly.
     
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  6. crunksknunk

    crunksknunk Scout

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    Ed describes it best:

    [video=youtube;FK_XpM6SWTw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK_XpM6SWTw[/video]
     
  7. jeremyctry

    jeremyctry Outdoorsman Bushclass I

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    not to mention the fact that Archery not just primitive archery, but Archery in general has been grossly underestimated. The Kevlar vest issued to police officers are capable of stopping a bullet but an arrow will pass straight through. Bullets penetrate or not based on the kinetic force being strong enough to tear through the surface. But arrows, spears, and other such weapons have the benefit of not only kinetic force(lessened as it is) but also the ability to cut. and a razer sharp projectile needs a fraction of the energy that a dull projectile would.
     
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  8. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    Finally, a thread I can actually contribute too for reals! My information is coming from asking very similar questions on other archery related forums in my desire to know more about the NA (Native American) Indians and their weapons. I much prefer to make bows in the NA style, and it helps me greatly to understand what the weapon was really used for and how it was used. I love me some Eastern Woodlands or Plains Indian style bows, but the Plains Indians are the ones you are mostly talking about I think. I spoke to several guys who have studied the history of the Plains Indians to help them design historically accurate bows, and I also read Jim Hamm's excellent book "Bows and Arrows of the Native Americans", and these are the answers I got.

    Short answer, as I understand it - They were out for meat, and to get meat they didn't concern themselves so much with worrying about a one shot one kill mentality, they just got as close as possible to make sure they hit what they were aiming at, and they shot the thing with arrows till it died.

    Slightly long answer:


    • They used lances/spears, from horseback, and stabbed the buffalo multiple times, or ran them off cliffs as alluded to above, or ran them towards waiting hunters in ditches or depressions who then impaled them as they were running, using the body weight of the animal to provide more force/kinetic energy.
    • If they hunted with a bow, they hunted from horseback using short but pretty heavy weight bows (for the draw-length, I have seen them anywhere from 45# at 24" or so up to 60# at 24/25"), made from local hardwoods like Osage, and sometimes sinew backed
    • they ran the crap out of the buffalo, getting the thing hot, sweaty/tired/ and basically pumping blood as fast as their hearts would pump. Then, they shot them flat full of arrows at close range, like 5 yards or so. It was considered a really big deal if they dropped the animal with a single shot because it was pretty rare. They chased the thing, while pin cushioning it, till it bled out, collapsed and died.

    The short bows surprised me a bit, as well as the weight of the bows, but as it was explained to me, many of the PI tribes used a bulbous nock on their arrows:
    [​IMG]
    They fired with a pinch grip, and basically the bows were so heavy that they just sort of ripped the arrow and string from the archers fingers. But, a short draw and close distance were necessary to insure a hit from horseback.

    I'm in the process of letting an osage stave dry right now, so that I can make a short draw, sinew backed, bendy handle bow of the Plains Indian style, as well as some arrows with bulbous nocks and flint heads. My Osage isn't quite dry enough yet to shape, but soon, maybe within a month or two, I can get it floor tillered and then start working on sinewing it and such. I'm going to try to get a bow in the 50/55# range at 25" or so, and hunt with it this year almost exclusively.

    PS: you'd probably be quite surprised at the penetration you get with even a "lightweight" bow in the 40# range, with a good sharp head. I know several guys here in Bama that get passthroughs on whitetail using 35# longbows and selfbows, that aren't shooting arrows much faster then 150 FPS, if that. Granted, a whitetail ain't a buffalo, but I would not want to be downrange of anyone shooting pointy sticks at me, especially if said pointy stick was real sharp and the person shooting knew where my most important squishy bits were and could hit them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  9. 308HB

    308HB Scout

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    All due respect , but you are wrong .
     
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  10. Geoff Randall

    Geoff Randall Guide

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    I kind of suspected that with bows and arrows, and throwing in a spear or more, that death was by a "thousand cuts". I do appreciate the time and research you've all demonstrated in your responses, and I suppose I could have researched it myself, but the collective thought of this forum makes for a good read. I've been to the Amazon a few times, and have witnessed large game hunts by the indigenous people's, who with simple blow guns laden with neuro-toxins, can bring down a large jaguar in the trees. It's always a thought that I don't believe I could do the survival thing if I was suddenly telepoorted to the 18th or 19th century America with nothing more than a simple cutting tool...life was a real challenge then, but now that I think about it, it's a challenge today...just different obstacles, and different enemies.
     
  11. WesternAngler

    WesternAngler Scout

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    I also don't think bows were used all that much to hunt buffalo, at least not in the pre-columbian days when they would not have had horses. I'm sure they did it, but I don't think it was likely the primary technique. If you've ever been within 20 or 30 yards of a buffalo imagine wounding that animal and being charged. It would be a very dangerous endeavor to say the least, especially in the days before modern medicine when even a minor injury often meant death. Buffalo were more often killed by running them over a cliff, called a "buffalo jump". I know of several such places within a couple hours drive of my home. Later when horses and firearms were available that's when they started hunting buffalo in the way that many folks imagine these days, running along the herd and shooting multiple times into a bull until it finally collapsed. Arrows were probably used with this technique as well as a running buffalo was probably less likely to turn and charge towards the shooter, who could also get away a lot more easily being on horseback. But I don't think it would have been common to sneak up to within several yards of a herd and shoot an arrow into a buffalo with no retreat possible.
     
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  12. crunksknunk

    crunksknunk Scout

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    I shot a mature whitetail at 5 yards with a 55# osage bow and a cahokia point and only achieved 9-inches of penetration after striking rib. It took 14 hours to recover the deer. Primitive gear definitely works, but there's a lot of unpredictable variables involved that can make or break the hunt. I wouldn't set my expectations too high.

    The only guys I know getting pass-throughs with stone are shooting 60#+. Not saying a 35# bow can't do it, but they won't do it with any consistency.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  13. PERRO

    PERRO Supporter Supporter

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    FYI:
    "... 'Warpath', by Stanley Vestal. It's a biography of Chief Joseph White Bull, one of Sitting Bull's nephews. The author notes that the chief recalls twice in his lifetime getting pass-through shots on buffalo. If my remembering is accurate, he liked to use arrowheads made of iron from frying pans and wagon wheels. No mention, as I recall, of the draw weight of the bow, though. However, it's quite an interesting book about a very interesting man. He was one of a few who participated in both the Fetterman fight and the Custer battle at Little Big Horn. Not only should you get the book, I think I'll try to find mine and read it again....."
    http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=415404

    Warpath: The True Story of the Fighting Sioux Told in a Biography of Chief White Bull
    http://www.amazon.com/WARPATH-Story-Fighting-Sioux-Biography/dp/0739402560
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
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  14. PERRO

    PERRO Supporter Supporter

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    My personal opinion: They could only use natural materials, & could only make the " Bow Strings " to a maximum useable thickness/diameter.

    " These are two string made from goat gut. The gut was split in halfs (splits).
    String #1 is made up of 22 gut splits and was pull tested:
    -40 times to 70#
    -20 times to 80#
    -20 times to 90#
    -and 20 times to 100# + "
    http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/4792/Natural-bow-string#.VsT7eMdVW7c
     
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  15. rscornutt

    rscornutt Guide

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    When you put a lot of holes in something, then make it run so the heart pumps blood out the holes, things die.
     
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  16. rscornutt

    rscornutt Guide

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    With stone, sure, but I think the point was how people underestimate the amount of penetration that can be achieved with "light" bows.
     
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  17. The Stumpy One

    The Stumpy One Guide

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    I am really looking forward to reading more about your osage - sinew project, sidmand. Seriously interesting stuff!
     
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  18. crunksknunk

    crunksknunk Scout

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    Fair enough.
     
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  19. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    My son attempted to make a bow of a Brazilian mahogany, but it is so brittle I fear it will snap .
    should I leave I a wall hanger or is there a practical means of making it functional ?
     
  20. IADC

    IADC Scout

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    It's pretty much the same way they take down bulls in a bull fight. Many critical hits will eventual stop any beast.
     
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  21. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    Stone will break on bone for sure, even some metal points will foul and rob penetration from a bone strike. But, if you don't hit bone, a sharp point will go deep in a body, regardless of material. Note I said sharp, and honestly most stone points I've seen don't quite cut it (pun intended). But, the bow's draw weight has a lot less to do with penetration than I think folks believe. And, the bows design has a lot to do with speed, which does equate to kinetic energy. A light draw bow that can spit a light arrow at 160 fps or more can do bad things to critters. I will concede that a heavier bow can handle heavier arrows more efficiently and if the design is good, it can achieve the same fps, which means more kinetic energy, which means more bad things. But, a good light weight bow trumps a decent, mediocre heavy bow all day in my brain.
     
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  22. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    In my readings, sinew was used often for strings, as was dogbane and yucca. Sinew makes a great string.
     
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  23. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    Me too, thanks!
     
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  24. Brock63

    Brock63 Tracker

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    I hunt with selfbows, longbows, and recurves...douglas fir arrows with turkey or goose fletching and hand sharpened steel heads I sharpen with a file myself. I also have some arrows made from cane or bamboo with obsidian and flint points...and a couple with trade points. These weapons will take anything in north america...deer, elk, moose, bear, bison, turkey, etc. depending on my bow they all draw between 47# to 57# at my draw length except for two that are at 60# at my draw length. I have shot lengthwise through a wild boar at 15 yards with a 50# longbow... Last year I shot a huge black bear at 10 yards with a 53# longbow with 700 grain arrows only going about 165 fps...went high through right shoulder angling downward and exited the chest behind the opposite armpit down low. Arrow went through shoulder and ribs plus all the hair, hide and vitals. Bear only went 40-50 yards and was dead in less than a minute.

    There is no doubt that american indians can and did shoot buffalo, elk, mule deer and bears....that in arctic circle they shot polar bears and in alaska brown bears. Longbows and recurves have taken cape buffalo... and I hope to go on moose hunt with my longbow or selfbow in next couple years myself.

    Obsidian heads can be as sharp as scalpals....steel heads can be scary sharp as well. Shot placement, penetration and stealth to get close to your game is more important than the speed of the arrow. A simple two blade steel cut on contact broadhead will penetrate far easier than any of the modern mechanicals or three/four blade heads....it is physics. Plus the primitive bows shoot MUCH quieter than the modern bows so many times the animal does not even realize they have been shot and hit...or missed. My bear did not know I shot and due to my excitement and my nock sliding down my string a bit I shot two feet over its back on first shot. It heard the wood shaft break, ran off 5 yards...then sauntered back....and second shot went true.

    Nothing like getting within 5 yards of a nasty wild boar, a bear or a deer and slipping a scary sharp arrow through the ribs and watching them drop within sight.....when your own heartbeat is so loud in your ears you fear the animal will hear you....and you can hear them swallowing browse or acorns as they feed near your hiding location unaware that you are WOLF CLOSE and ready to pounce.

    Nothing more exciting nor as rewarding as being up and close hunter with primitive or traditional gear.

    411415113.jpg
    408763522.jpg

    If really interested...check out website for Primitive Archery Magazine or look up these sites....
    http://www.twistedstave.com/
    http://www.gillsprimitivearchery.com/

    Here are some pictures for you of large game with simple stick and string.
    Buffalo2007020.jpg DansBuffHunt009.jpg
    Markandmooseresize.jpg markbuf1.jpg
    markbuf2.jpg
    The above guy...Mitten...shot with selfbow and stone head. Here is some info http://tradgang.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=print_topic;f=1;t=082950

    SouthAfrica2009241.jpg
    bisonz.jpg

    They are very deadly weapons...no matter what television and manufacturers of modern weapons tell you. LOL
     

    Attached Files:

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  25. Brock63

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    00small53280002.JPG

    one last one....

    as you can see...it is NOT a death by a thousand cuts....it is a single arrow placed properly by a hunter that has practiced and knows his limitations based on equipment and personal accuracy....and makes it happen.


    Hope to see some of you in the woods with a stick and string one day.
     
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  26. PERRO

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    YES.. Sinew was used extensively for " Bow Strings " .. However, I wasn't able to locate documented information on how " Strong " it could be made.

    Heavy draw weights, are only as strong as the Bow Strings...?

    Part 1 Making a Primitive Bowstring from Elk Gut


    Part 2 Making a Primitive Bowstring from Elk Gut


    My personal opinion: They could only use natural materials, & could only make the " Bow Strings " to a maximum useable thickness/diameter.

    " These are two string made from goat gut. The gut was split in halfs (splits).

    String #1 is made up of 22 gut splits and was pull tested:

    -40 times to 70#

    -20 times to 80#

    -20 times to 90#

    -and 20 times to 100# + "

    http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/4792/Natural-bow-string#.Vse49sdVW7d
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017 at 11:16 PM
  27. NattyBo

    NattyBo Bon Vivant Supporter

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    From what I've gathered for most of bison hunting history it was the use of buffalo jumps and/or multiple hits with heavy impact weapons like the spear and atlatl. What made the bow and arrow awesome for bison hunting was it's coupling with the use of the horse (high speeds pumping the blood, light weight weapons providing multiple strikes).
    In regards to the .44-.40, I think there is a big difference trying to drop a stationary 2000lb than 2000lb running at 30mph. My opinion is that the running is harder to hit but more affected when hit.
    Disclaimer, never shot anything that big, just know that when I played dodge-ball you could knock a moving target off it's feet easily, but even the lightest, standing still wouldn't go down
     
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  28. NattyBo

    NattyBo Bon Vivant Supporter

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    With the bison kills, could you have killed more (if legal) than one during the same hunt? or would the others just leave?
     
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  29. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    Also a thing of note here is that there is a world of difference between modern hunting styles vs how the plains tribes hunted. They would probably act more like a pack of wolves weeding out an easy target. The slower ones, the less aggressive the better. Today with big game, we want a photo shot. Go big or go home. When you focus on sustaining the herd for thousands of years, you probably know a thing or two about how to hunt them and which ones to kill. What many people have forgotten also is that the horseless hunters were built more like marathon runner. A bison will be able to run faster then a human but those VERY fit humans could often run father then a bison and would literally be run to death. Keep up the chase with a group of hunters with spears until the animal collapses and then spear it in the heart or major neck artery. In fact, there was a hundred year old bar bet that was finally settled recently where a runner bet he could run a marathon faster then a horse could. They have since held an annual horse vs foot race with many contestants. The horse won every year until finally the race was held on an unusually hot day and the marathon runner finally won. It has to do with a combination or heat and lung capacity vs body weight. Larger animals tend to tire quicker due to less oxygen and lactic acid build up in the muscles. And horses have MUCH greater endurance then bison. I have no problem believing that bison were hunted by spear for thousands of years prior to the invention of the bow. The bow then made it easier.

    If the northern tribes could hunt moose and caribou with bow and arrow, why couldn't the plains tribes bow hunt bison?
     
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  30. Mazer

    Mazer Scout

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    Not all Bison were killed using arrows, or weapons for that matter. The plain states are known for dramatic shelves of land, Natives would either set fires or run the herd towards these cliffs hoping for some animals to fall from the cliffs, allowing for Mother Nature to do most of the work. Much easier to dispatch a huge dangerous animal if that animal is already somewhat incapacitated
     
  31. crunksknunk

    crunksknunk Scout

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  32. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    I did not know buffalo practiced birth control. :32::30::4:
     
  33. Brock63

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    true they were TRUE SUBSISTENCE hunters and not sportsmen....driving them off escarpments, cliffs or into false canyons where they could kill many without little risk of their own life was optimal.
     
  34. Brock63

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    you cant go on where the arrow broke as to penetration...as I have shot large game and had the arrow bury to fletching then break 2/3 of way up as the hydraulics of fluids and muscles moving pushed it out some. angle of shot, whether it hits ribs or not, whether leg was forward or not....all impact penetration...sometimes they go straight through and sometimes they dont. I have yet been able to effectively see and shoot between the rib bones.. ;)

    also, your draw length shooting traditional and especially selfbows of this type is shorter than what some of you may be used to seeing with modern wheeled/cam bows. My draw length dropped froom 31.5 inches with a compound to 28 inches on average with trad bows. Just due to shooting position (more open stance), bow arm (slightly bent not locked) and holding FULL TENSION when drawing since there is no let off. Some of the shorter native american horse bows or western tribe styles incorporate an even shorter draw style.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  35. billdawg

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    Truer words have rarely been spoken, lol
     
  36. ugar-6

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    Look up Thad Beckum, Ryan Gill, and Billy Berger. All are very knowledgeable and proficient at native American bows and hunting. Billy has actually built a Comanche bow and arrow set based off one at the Smithsonian. Speaking of the Comanche Indians, they would often hunt and kill buffalo from horseback seeing as they were a nomadic tribe and their livelihood was based around the buffalo, even so much as spiritually. They of course used many of the methods previously mentioned but they were badass in horsemanship and archery. They would also use dynamic physics, using the speed of the horse to further the kinetic energy of the arrow leaving the string. It was previously mentioned that they had shorter but strong bows. That is correct as they had to adjust and shoot from a running horse. There are stories from frontiersmen and army scouts that the Comanche Indians could be at full run on a bareback horse, turn around, shoot dead eye on target, and turn back around forward without missing a beat. They also had lances but they loved hunting with archery from horseback. If you've never read "Empire of the Summer Moon", it is an amazing book on the Comanche.
     
  37. IADC

    IADC Scout

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    What about the way they killed before horses appeared in the 1500's?
     
  38. Steve Cover

    Steve Cover Tracker

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    Interesting thread.

    There does seem to be some confusion about arrows.
    Arrows kill by hemorrhage, not kinetic energy.
    Other than the use of blunts on small game, they do not deliver any meaningful amount of shock like a bullet does.

    About penetration:
    Arrows have a massive ratio of mass to frontal area.
    I used to wow the rifle shooters when I was stationed in Texas back in the 1960s with how much deeper my arrows would penetrate a cardboard box full of sand compared to their rifle bullets.
    A sharp broadhead easily parts the tissue while the mass of the arrow pushes it through experiencing little friction. This translates into very deep penetration for the amount of energy possessed by the arrow.

    I hope this helps,

    Steve
     
  39. tashunka witko

    tashunka witko Scout

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    It should be mentioned I think about the point placement on the shaft. Hunting points were perpendicular to the ground to get between the rib cage of four legged creatures. War type arrow points were parallel to ground and loosely put on where the head would come off if the arrow was pulled out.
     
  40. Tor Helge

    Tor Helge Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Hmm.
    What about the Arrow rotation?

    IMO this is just a myth.
     
  41. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Tracker

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    I can definitely see how they would hunt buffalo with a bow without a horse. Itwould not be hard to fire from a concealed position at close range and not have a buffalo be aware of you at all. Their eyesight is garbage, and their primary senses are hearing and smell. Couple that with you were hiding at the edge of a large herd of buffalo there will be plenty of sound to cover your movements all you have to worry about is the wind.
     
  42. Robert Highhawk

    Robert Highhawk Tracker

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    Just finished reading "Black Elk Speaks" for the 4th or 5 th time. Written in 1932 from the interviews of Black Elk and some other Lakotas. I believe he was born in the early 1860s. He talks of hunting buffalo from horse back with bows. Written by John G. Neihardt. He remembers Pahuska too, (Custer) and the great victory at the Greasy Grass River.
     
  43. JMV

    JMV Tracker

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    In his book "Hunting the Hard Way," Howard Hill shot a buffalo from horseback and killed it with one arrow back in the 1930s IIRC. He also went to Africa and was the first white man to kill an elephant with a bow and arrow (this kill is on video).
     
  44. RockinU

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    I've guided 2 rifle hunts for bison, and one factor to successfully hunting them pre-horse might be the nature of the bison themselves. They aren't particularly bright animals, and both that I was involved with were shot multiple times. Both were hit with fatal shots on the first shot, but both basically just stood there, seemingly dumbfounded. From my very limited experience it would seem that the opportunity to poke more than 1 hole in them would be frequently possible.
     
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  45. chickasaw_hunter

    chickasaw_hunter Scout

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    I don't know much about pre-horse buffalo hunting. I have seen painting and read accounts of Indians approaching the herd on hands and knees draped in wolf hides. Buffalo wouldn't spook and they could get close enough for a bow shot.
    The problem with buffalo jumps is you had to have the buffalo in the neighborhood then some brave Indian out there trying to steer the herd in just the right direction. Sometimes that happened, and the natural history of it leave a lot of evidence because I don't think there was ever an Indian brave enough to say, that's all we need and rush out in front of the herd and stop them from continuing over the cliff. So we get a lot of evidence from that hunt. There is a myth that the Indians used every part of the buffalo, and it is not all myth, they did use every part of the buffalo for something, but they sure didn't use every part of every buffalo. After a successful hunt at a jump the meals may have just been buffalo tongue for a few meals and tremendous amounts of meat wasted before it could be used.
    Plains Indians, a horse culture, used different horses much like a golfer today uses different clubs. He would have a preferred horse for using his bow, and another for using his lance. That would be based on how the horse reacted as they ran along next to the buffalo. The hunter on horse back would shoot multiple buffalo and I don't think they cared one little bit about if it was cow calf or bull. If I'd been out there I'd have preferred a calf. And, after the dust settled the women folk would go out and start processing the carcasses, not before they made sure the great hunters had a place to sit, then while the women worked they would sit around and tell each other of the exploits of the hunt. Then the women folk would move camp if needed closer to the kill site and they might just stay there for a while processing what died during this particular hunt. If they killed more than they needed they just rotted on the plains. The buffalo that didn't die right away during the hunt, would die later sometimes miles away and feed the wolves, buzzards, etc. But, we do know that with all this waste the Indians had little effect on the buffalo populations, especially before firearms.
    I read a Calvary report by a young officer describing his encounter with a small band of Souix on the plains at the base of the Black Hills. He was trying to send them back to wherever the govt thought they should be at the time, they were having none of it. They had a group of buffalo "penned" up into blind canyon. The Indians were keeping riders on patrol across the mouth of the canyon 24/7, and shooting a buffalo every other day or so and having a good life not having to move camp and chase the herd. Life was good. Much to his credit the young officer was understanding of their situation and knew this band would present no problems as long as the buffalo held out and left them be. Interesting side note the biggest supporters the Indians had Pre-Custer were Army officers, that's my opinion from having read a lot of those officers reports.
    I can't go on for pages and pages on this but, I find it interesting the relative value of things in the Indian economy. Those arrows they were flinging at those buffalo were worth quite a bit of "cash" 10 arrows could barter you a horse. Everything in Indian culture had religious overtones. You couldn't just sit around camp and make up a bunch of arrows, there was a social process for arrow production. You had to throw a party and invite the guys over and feed them, the entertainment for the night would be they would each make you an arrow and of course put their own special mojo on it. You could kill a buffalo with an arrow made like that. You of course would go to their lodge and make an arrow for them. They also would have sub-groups within the tribe, kinda like Masons and Knights of Columbus, you'd belong to one of those too. I can't document any of this, it's just stuff I remember from research I did in College and then later for work during court cases in land disputes with Indian tribes. I learned a lot about the Plains tribe and it wasn't until I was well into my 40's I found my family ties had nothing to do with the Plains Tribes. Oh well, I have learned there are a lot of myth and misinformation out there about Indians, thank you Hollywood for a lot of that. I've enjoyed this thread, now I've got to go work on my Grand Daddy's tomahawk, it's been passed down thru the family for over 900 years. I have it now and can only document it having 4 new heads and 7 hafts. I think I'll replace the head.:)
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017 at 2:14 PM
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