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For thousands of years the natives of North America hunted the bison. These people became entirely dependent on the animal for their livelihood using as much of the carcass as possible. Hides would be used for clothing, shelter, and bedding. The hair and tail could be used to make rope and fly brushes. Sinew from the muscles went into making threads, glue, and bow strings, while bones and horns were used to make a variety of tools for everyday use. In order to feed, clothe, and shelter a community, mass hunting was necessary.

With skillful planning, organization, and some luck, prehistoric hunters succeeded in killing dozens or even hundreds of animals at a time, using little or no weaponry. One such sophisticated technique developed by the native people to kill buffaloes was the buffalo jump, where herds of buffaloes were driven off a high cliff to their deaths.

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“Driving Buffalo Over the Cliff”, a painting by Charles Marion Russell. Photo credit

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