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Survival by Hunting

Survival by Hunting: Prehistoric Human Predators and Animal Prey

George C. Frison
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Pages: 285
  • Book Info
    Survival by Hunting
    Book Description:

    The North American Great Plains and Rocky Mountains have yielded many artifacts and other clues about the prehistoric people who once lived there, but little is understood about the hunting practices that ensured their survival for thousands of years. Noted archaeologist George Frison brings a lifetime of experience as a hunter, rancher, and guide to bear on excavation data from the region relating to hunting, illuminating prehistoric hunting practices in entirely new ways. Sharing his intimate knowledge of animal habitats and behavior and his familiarity with hunting strategies and techniques, Frison argues that this kind of firsthand knowledge is crucial for understanding hunting in the past.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92796-4
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations and Table
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. CHAPTER 1 Where the Buffalo Once Roamed
    (pp. 1-11)

    My paternal grandparents, Jake and Margaret Frison, were true pioneers. Jake was a railroad engineer, and he and my grandmother married and moved to Leadville, Colorado, In 1890. Their dream of the future was to own a cattle ranch; so three years later, they purchased a small place along the Roaring Fork River at Basalt, Colorado. However, they were not able to expand the property into the kind of ranch operartion they were searching for, and In 1901, in their late thirties and with four young children, they decided to abandon a secure but to them unsatisfying life in Colorado...

  7. CHAPTER 2 The Education of a Hunter
    (pp. 12-37)

    Times were difficult in ranching communities in much of the Rocky Mountain West during the drought and depression days of the 1930s, and for many families wild game animals were an important supplement to the winter food supply. Wild anirnal populations—especially elk, deer, and pronghorn—were recovering from overexploitation at the turn of the century and regulated hunting seasons were established. For many, the fall hunt became an integral part of the yearly cycle; the result was a generation of experienced hunters, a group concerned more with feeding their families than with garnering trophies to hang on the wall....

  8. CHAPTER 3 Paleoindian Hunters and Extinct Animals
    (pp. 38-61)

    Ecological conditions on the Great Plains, and to a lesser extent in the Rocky Mountains to the west, were favorable for large grazing and browsing mammals; as a result, these two areas together became the main focus of land mammal hunting in North America. Earlier anthropologists wrote off the Great Plains as lacking any prehistory worthy of note before the introduction of the horse and the rise of the historic Plains Indian bison hunters (see Kroeber 1939; Wissler 1907). However, after the confirmation of human artifacts in association with extinct bison at the Folsom site in northern New Mexico (Figgins...

  9. CHAPTER 4 The North American Bison
    (pp. 62-120)

    The earliest North American bison derived from a species that originated in the Old World and migrated across the Bering Strait into North America sometime during the Illinoian glacial period of the Pleistocene, which began about 0.5 million years ago and ended about 0.125 million years ago. Leg bones were larger in all proportions, indicating a bigger, heavier animal standing higher off the ground than modern bison. Most noticeable are the larger skull and the widespread horn cores; earlier taxonomists relied on them to differentiate between a number of species, unaware that these were the most variable features of the...

  10. CHAPTER 5 The North American Pronghorn
    (pp. 121-142)

    Antilocapra americana,the species often referred to asantelopethat lives at present on the plains of North America, is not a true antelope, a designation properly reserved for species found in Africa. To avoid confusion, the preferred common name for the North American species ispronghorn.Because the inclusion ofcaprain the nomenclature suggests some relationship to goats, they are frequently called “stinking goats”—another misnomer. While it is true that during the rutting season mature males acquire a strong smell (which detracts from their desirability as food), the pronghorn fossil record fails to conform any genetic connection...

  11. CHAPTER 6 The Rocky Mountain Sheep
    (pp. 143-168)

    Beginning at an early age and as the result of a multitude of unrelated events over several decades, I developed a lifelong fascination with mountain sheep(Ovis canadensis).In the immediate area of the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming where I was raised, they had been nearly liminated by hunters soon after the beginning of the twentieth century. However, sheep horns and skulls were much in evidence, attesting to their former presence in considerable numbers, and a few managed to survive in the more inaccessible and rarely visited backcountry. A large ram silliouetted against the sky, or traversing what...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Hunting Deer, Elk, and Other Creatures
    (pp. 169-194)

    Rocky Mountain mule deer(Odocoileus hemionus)and white-tailed deer(Odocoileus virginianus)belong to a genus believed to have originated in the Old World and thought to have arrived in North America more than 2 million years ago, though the fossil record is far from clear. While the two species are distinct, their ranges overlap; and at the present time at least, interbreeding does sometimes occur and produces aberrant pelage coloring and antler forms. Mule deer are an adaptable species and their habitat range includes most of the western United States and Canada (see Wallmo 1981: 3).

    The multitudinous habitats of...

  13. CHAPTER 8 Weaponry and Tools Used by the Hunter
    (pp. 195-221)

    Robert Edgar of Cody, Wyoming, is an accomplished marksman with a handgun. At a distance of 10 meters, he can light any number of matches attached to a board without missing one—a trick effected by having the bullets barely graze the tips of the matches. Before they hit the ground, with five separate shots, he can shatter as many as five small glass bottles or other objects simultaneously thrown high into the air. He shoots the end off a lighted cigarette held in a person’s mouth; and given enough encouragement, he performs this feat by sighting his handgun through...

  14. CHAPTER 9 Concluding Thoughts
    (pp. 222-230)

    After a lifetime of hunting, guiding, trapping predators, and observing wild animals in their natural habitat, I find several thoughts about human and animal relationships coming to mind. For one thing, there is a difference in the way in which hurnan and animal predators affect their prey. Four-legged predators attack animal populations from the bottom, first seeking out the old, the weak, the very young, and the crippled; human predators attack from the top, choosing if they can the individual animals in the best condition that promise to provide the most and best-tasting meat. If there is a good balance...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 231-254)
  16. Index
    (pp. 255-266)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-268)