Political & Economic Organizations - Additional Reading

Economic Organization

B. The Metis Buffalo Hunt

Metis Buffalo hunt

The hunting technique used by the Metis differed from that of their First Nations ancestors.  Instead of driving buffalo over cliffs or into enclosures and killing them with spears or arrows, the métis used guns and horses called buffalo runners in a technique called “running the herd”. 

At the beginning of the hunt, scouts were sent to locate the herd.  When it was spotted, the hunting group rode forward in single-line formation.  At a signal from the captain of the hunt, the riders charged the buffalo, causing them to stampede.  The riders would then gallop into the herd, select an animal, and fire at point-blank range from their galloping horses.

The 1840 buffalo hunt occurred at the peak of the buffalo trade.  The hunting party left its organization camp near the Red River in early June.  It included:

                620 men

                650 women

                360 children

                586 oxen

                503 horses

                1240 Red River carts.

They travelled 402 kms in nineteen days before the first buffalo were spotted.  When the hunt ended on August 17, the party had over 454,000 kilograms of meat and hides to transport back to Red River.