How did Plains Indians hunt buffalo and Why was Hunting on horseback so much easier?

Before Plains Indians had horses, they hunted buffalo on foot. A hunter often draped himself in the skin of a wolf to trick a buffalo into letting him get close enough to stab the animal with a spear.

Hunting on horseback was much easier. Traveling with their families in small bands, hunters with horses could go wherever buffalo herds went. Riding alongside their prey, they used bows and arrows to shoot the mighty animals. On a well-trained horse, a hunter could get close enough to a running buffalo to kill it with a single arrow.

Another method of hunting buffalo was the jump-kill. By riding toward a herd screaming and yelling, a group of hunters steered the frightened buffalo off a cliff. Any animals that survived the fall were killed with spears by hunters waiting below. A successful jump-kill might kill 100 buffalo and yield tons of meat.

Blackfeet Indians named a favorite jump-kill site “HeadSmashed-In.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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