The Bhuinhar (Known as Pando), the Gond Tribe and the Cherwas were the traditional hunters. They used bows and arrows. Some arrows were poisoned. The poison was applied on the lower portion of the arrow. They either sat on water holes of wild animals or arranged small Hakas (beats). The good bowmen would sit at selected places. The others would drive the animals and when the animals came within twenty yards the bowmen would release their arrows. The bow used to have a thin bamboo strip connecting the two ends of the bow. This was pulled by the second and third finger, the legend goes that Eklavya (One character of Mahabharata) had lost his thumb as Guru Dronacharya had demanded his thumb as Guru Dakshina, so ever since then the tribal community do not pull the bow with the help of the thumb. Dogs were also used in the Haka or beat.
They were used to locate animals and search for the wounded animals. Rabbit hunting was done in small fields. Three sides of the field were barricaded by small branches of trees. The rabbits were driven in to it through the open side and then they were beaten to death. A special way of hunting was practised by the use of musical sounds. A Jhumka, which makes a musical sound, was used. It consists of an iron rod at the end of which are a number of small chains with Ghunghroos and rings.
In the night a group of people formed a party, and went to the forest where they could find deer and rabbit. In place of torch, they kept a small pitcher which had a three inch circular hole in the centre. In the pitcher they placed burning bamboo sticks, the flames threw a light which was projected through the hole in the pitcher. This acted like a torch. One person played the Jhumka, the rhythmic music attracted rabbits and deer. They came near and were sort of hypnotised by the music. When they were within reach one or two persons of the party kept in front and beat those sticks. It is said that some times even panthers and tigers were attracted by the music. In such cases the group gradually slowed down the music of the Jhumka and gradually withdrew from the forest.
Wild partridges were caught with the help of a tamped partridge. The tamed partridge was kept in a cage near a tree. The cage was camouflaged with leaves. A net was placed encircling the cage. The owner of the tamed partridge sat on the top of the tree. The partridge was trained to perch when the owner started whistling. Once the partridge started perching, the wild partridges from nearby bushes moved towards the place from where the perching sound was coming. Then they got snared in the net, sometimes eight to nine partridges were caught at a time. The tame partridge was known as Kutni.
Some communities went to the rivers in the night with flares made of Bamboo sticks. The light of the flares attracted the fish to the surface and then the villagers used a three pronged spear to kill the fish. In shallow streams bows and arrows were used to shoot the fish that came to the surface.
Birds sitting on tree were caught by what is known as Lasa. The sticky milky sap of Mahua, Bar, Peepul was mixed and kept in a small bamboo container. Very thin 18 inches long Babool sticks were dipped in the milky liquid and kept on the branches of trees where birds sat. When the birds sat on the branches, the sticky milk liquid got transferred to their wings. The stick clung to their wings. They were unable to fly and fell down. Green Pigeon, wild Peen Pigeon, wild Pigeon, Doves, Maina, Parrot etc were all brought down in this way.
Another technique practised for killing birds was by shooting birds with bow and arrow in the night. The villagers watched the birds when they came to roost in the trees for the night. In the night, they lighted a bundle of dry Bamboo sticks below the tree. The light of the fire gave them enough light to locate the bird. It was then shot with a bow and arrow. The arrow didn't have a metal piece. It had a small wooden stump at the end. Birds were shot with this type of arrow. The wooden piece at the end of the arrow is known as Thepa.
Wild boars were killed during the Kharif season when they come to the village. Three feet wide and six feet deep long trenches were dug and the villagers drove the pigs towards this and they fell in the trench and were subsequently killed with spears. The Sambhar stag was an easy prey for the village hunters. They chased it with the help of dogs. It can not run fast in the thick forest as the long antlers get entangled in the branches or trees. It was run down and then shot with arrows.
When poison was used on the arrows then the hunters had to be careful in eating the flesh of the animal. The flesh around the arrow was thrown away. In some cases there had been casualties when they had taken flesh of animals killed by poisoned arrows.
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