The Buffalo Pound

Larry Trupp

Winnipeg, Canada

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Featured photography on Redbubble Explore 14 July 2013

Featured in the ImageWriting (2/24) Group

Location: This Point of Interest was captured at FortWhyte Alive, our Nature Center, southwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The Story:

Before the time of horses and guns on the prairies, Aboriginal hunters had to sneak up on individual Buffalo (Bison) and kill them with spears and arrows. This hunting style drove off the rest of the herd, and any future chance of increasing the tribes food cache.. Taking advantage of the herding instinct, these hunters devised a way to kill large numbers of animals at one time while on foot.

This repilca buffalo pound built one quarter of its actually size, illustrates a common method of communal Bison hunting on the prairies. When Buffalo jump sites, such as cliffs and valleys were uncommon on the landscape, a pound was used to corral Bison into the confined area.

Scouts were sent out many days in advance to hunt the nearby herds. The scouts used prairie fires to slowly move the herd towards the pound. A mile long lane built of branches, rocks and fibres was used to funnel the Bison into the corral or pound. Behind each drive lane clump, were women and children, flapping bison hides to keep the Bison moving toward the pound.

Once in the pound the Bison realized that they were trapped. Turning around and stampeding around the pound, resulting in thunderous crashes as the animals collided, often breaking their necks, or impaling themselves on one another’s horn. Hunters around in position, and around the outside of the pound shot the wounded and those animals that escaped injury.

Women of the tribe slaughtered the animals, and carried the meat and hides back to the encampment for processing. A successful hunt meant much celebration and cermony, as it assured the tribe’s survival over the long cold winter months ahead.

Info Gleaned from the plaque at the Center.

Camera Details: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi, 55mm Lens, Aperture exp 10.0, Shutter speed 1/250, ISO 400

Artwork Comments

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