The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

In spear hunting, when children and not dogs are employed, the children shout as soon as the animal has been found, and then retreat; and, when the animal has been found by either children or dogs, the hunting men attack it with their spears, if possible surrounding it.

In net hunting, which of course can only be adopted in fairly open spaces, the hunters place their net by means of pole supports in the form of a crescent, perhaps as much as 50 or 60 yards long, this length, however, requiring several nets put end to end together, and 2 or 3 feet high.  The net is generally put across the base of a narrow ravine, or across a narrow ridge, these being the routes along which the animals usually travel.  The children or dogs search for the animal, as in spear hunting; and when it is found, most of the hunters place themselves in a crescent-shaped formation behind the animal, so that it is between them and the net, and then gradually close in upon it, and so drive it into the net.  Behind the net are other hunters, more or less hidden, who kill the animal with club or adze when it is caught in the net.  They sometimes use spears in the event of an animal jumping over the net, and so trying to escape; though in net hunting the spears are more especially carried for purposes of self-defence in case of an attack by the animal.

There is always an enormous amount of shouting all through the hunt.  When the animal has been caught, they generally kill it then and there, except as regards pigs required alive for village ceremony, and which are disabled, but not killed.  The huntings, except when pigs are specially required, are usually general; and when any sort of animal has been killed the hunters are content.  They surround the beast, and make three loud shouting screams, by which the people of the village or community know, not only that an animal has been killed, but also what the animal is.  It is then brought home, and eaten by the whole village, if the hunt be a village hunt, or by the community, if it be a community hunt.

Individual hunting, in which I include hunts by parties of two or three, is also common.  Solitary hunters are generally only searching for birds (not cassowaries); but parties of two or three will go after larger game, such as pigs, cassowaries, etc.  Such parties hunt the larger game with spears, clubs and adzes, and shoot the birds, other than cassowaries, with bows and arrows.  They kill their victims as they can, and bring them home; and they, and probably some of their friends, eat them.

Trap hunting is much engaged in by single individuals.  A common form of trap used for pigs is a round hole about 6 feet deep and 2 feet in diameter, which is dug in the ground anywhere in the usual tracks of the pigs, and is covered over with rotten wood, upon which grass is spread; and into this hole the pig falls and cannot get out.  The maker of the hole does not necessarily stay by it, but will visit it

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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