Hunting with the Bow & Arrow - Saxton T. Pope - E-Book

Hunting with the Bow & Arrow E-Book

Saxton T. Pope

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The glory and romance of archery culminated in England before the discovery of America. There, no doubt, the bow was used to its greatest perfection, and it decided the fate of nations. The crossbow and the matchlock had supplanted the longbow when Columbus sailed for the New World. It was, therefore, a distinct surprise to the first explorers of America that the natives used the bow and arrow so effectively. In fact, the sword and the horse, combined with the white man's superlative self-assurance, won the contest over the aborigines more than the primitive blunderbuss of the times. The bow and arrow was still more deadly than the gun. With the gradual extermination of the American Indian, the westward march of civilization, and the improvement in firearms, this contest became more and more unequal, and the bow disappeared from the land. The last primitive Indian archer was discovered in California in the year 1911.

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Saxton T. Pope

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ISBN: 9783748112808

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THE STORY OF THE LAST YANA INDIANThe glory and romance of archery culminated in England before the discovery of America. There, no doubt, the bow was used to its greatest perfection, and it decided the fate of nations. The crossbow and the matchlock had supplanted the longbow when Columbus sailed for the New World.It was, therefore, a distinct surprise to the first explorers of America that the natives used the bow and arrow so effectively. In fact, the sword and the horse, combined with the white man's superlative self-assurance, won the contest over the aborigines more than the primitive blunderbuss of the times. The bow and arrow was still more deadly than the gun.With the gradual extermination of the American Indian, the westward march of civilization, and the improvement in firearms, this contest became more and more unequal, and the bow disappeared from the land. The last primitive Indian archer was discovered in California in the year 1911.When the white pioneers of California descended through the northern part of that State by the Lassen trail, they met with a tribe of Indians known as the Yana, or Yahi. That is the name they called themselves. Their neighbors called them the Nozi, and the white men called them the Deer Creek or Mill Creek Indians. Different from the other tribes of this territory, the Yana would not submit without a struggle to the white man's conquest of their lands.The Yana were hunters and warriors. The usual California natives were yellow in color, fat and inclined to be peaceable. The Yana were smaller of stature, lithe, of reddish bronze complexion, and instead of being diggers of roots, they lived by the salmon spear and the bow. Their range extended over an area south of Mount Lassen, east of the Sacramento River, for a distance of fifty miles.From the earliest settlement of the whites, hostilities existed between them. This resulted in definitely organized expeditions against these Indians, and the annual slaughter of hundreds.The last big round-up of Mill Creek Indians occurred in 1872, when their tribe was surprised at its seasonal harvest of acorns. Upon this occasion a posse of whites killed such a number of natives that it is said the creek was damned with dead bodies. An accurate account of these days may be obtained from Watterman's paper on the Yana Indians. [Footnote: Vol. 13, No. 2, Am. Archaeology and Ethnology.]During one of the final raids upon the Yana, a little band of Indian women and children hid in a cave. Here they were discovered and murdered in cold blood. One of the white scouting party laconically stated that he used his revolver to blow out their brains because the rifle spattered up the cave too much.So it came to pass, that from two or three thousand people, the Yana were reduced to less than a dozen who escaped extermination. These were mainly women, old men and children. This tribal remnant sought the refuge of the impenetrable brush and volcanic rocks of Deer Creek Canyon. Here they lived by stealth and cunning. Like wild creatures, they kept from sight until the whites quite forgot their existence.It became almost a legend that wild Indians lived in the Mount Lassen district. From time to time ranchers or sheep herders reported that their flocks had been molested, that signs of Indians had been found or that arrowheads were discovered in their sheep. But little credence was given these rumors until the year 1908, when an electric power company undertook to run a survey line across Deer Creek Canyon with the object of constructing a dam.One evening, as a party of linemen stood on a log at the edge of the deep swift stream debating the best place to ford, a naked Indian rose up before them, giving a savage snarl and brandishing a spear. In an instant the survey party disbanded, fell from the log, and crossed the stream in record-breaking time. When they stopped to get their breath, the Indian had disappeared. This was the first appearance of Ishi, [Footnote: Ishi is pronounced "E-she."] the Yana.Next morning an exploring expedition set out to verify the excited report of the night before. The popular opinion was that no such wildman existed, and that the linemen had been seeing things. One of the group offered to bet that no signs of Indians would be found.As the explorers reached the slide of volcanic boulders where the apparition of the day before had disappeared, two arrows flew past them. They made a run for the top of the slide and reached it just in time to see two Indians vanish in the brush. They left behind them an old white-haired squaw, whom they had been carrying. She was partially paralyzed, and her legs were bound in swaths of willow bark, seemingly in an effort to strengthen them.The old squaw was wrinkled with age, her hair was cropped short as a sign of mourning, and she trembled with fear. The white men approached and spoke kindly to her in Spanish. But she seemed not to understand their words, and apparently expected only death, for in the past to meet a white man was to die. They gave her water to drink, and tried to make her call back her companions, but without avail.Further search disclosed two small brush huts hidden among the laurel trees. So cleverly concealed were these structures that one could pass within a few yards and not discern them. In one of the huts acorns and dried salmon had been stored; the other was their habitation. There was a small hearth for indoor cooking; bows, arrows, fishing tackle, a few aboriginal utensils and a fur robe were found. These were confiscated in the white man's characteristic manner. They then left the place and returned to camp.Next day the party revisited the site, hoping to find the rest of the Indians. These, however, had gone forever.Nothing more was seen or heard of this little band until the year 1911, when on the outskirts of Oroville, some thirty-two miles from the Deer Creek camp, a lone survivor appeared. Early in the morning, brought to bay by a barking dog, huddled in the corner of a corral, was an emaciated naked Indian. So strange was his appearance and so alarmed was the butcher's boy who found him, that a hasty call for the town constable brought out an armed force to capture him.Confronted with guns, pistols, and handcuffs, the poor man was sick with fear. He was taken to the city jail and locked up for safekeeping. There he awaited death. For years he had believed that to fall into the hands of white men meant death. All his people had been killed by whites; no other result could happen. So he waited in fear and trembling. They brought him food, but he would not eat; water, but he would not drink. They asked him questions, but he could not speak. With the simplicity of the white man, they brought him other Indians of various tribes, thinking that surely all "Diggers" were the same. But their language was as strange to him as Chinese or Greek.And so they thought him crazy. His hair was burnt short, his feet had never worn shoes, he had small bits of wood in his nose and ears; he neither ate, drank, nor slept. He was indeed wild or insane.By this time the news of the wild Indian got into the city papers, and Professor T. T. Watterman, of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, was sent to investigate the case. He journeyed to Oroville and was brought into the presence of this strange Indian. Having knowledge of many native dialects, Dr. Watterman tried one after the other on the prisoner. Through good fortune, some of the Yana vocabulary had been preserved in the records of the University. Venturing upon this lost language, Watterman spoke in Yana the words, Siwini, which means pine wood, tapping at the same time the edge of the cot on which they sat.In wonderment, the Indian's face lighted with faint recognition. Watterman repeated the charm, and like a spell the man changed from a cowering, trembling savage. A furtive smile came across his face. He said in his language, I nu ma Yaki--"Are you an Indian?" Watterman assured him that he was.A great sense of relief entered the situation. Watterman had discovered one of the lost tribes of California; Ishi had discovered a friend.They clothed him and fed him, and he learned that the white man was good.Since no formal charges were lodged against the Indian, and he seemed to have no objection, Watterman took him to San Francisco, and there, attached to the Museum of Anthropology, he became a subject of study and lived happily for five years. From him it was learned that his people were all dead. The old woman seen in the Deer Creek episode was his mother; the old man was his uncle. These died on a long journey to Mt. Lassen, soon after their discovery. Here he had burned their bodies and gone into mourning. The fact that the white men took their means of procuring food, as well as their clothing, contributed, no doubt, to the death of the older people.Half starved and hopeless, he had wandered into civilization. His father, once the chieftain of the Yana tribe, having domain over all the country immediately south of Mt. Lassen, was long since gone, and with him all his people. Ranchers and stockmen had usurped their country, spoiled the fishing, and driven off the game. The acorn trees of the valleys had been taken from them; nothing remained but evil spirits in the land of his forefathers.Now, however, he had found kindly people who fed him, clothed him, and taught him the mysteries of civilization. When asked his name, he said: "I have none, because there were no people to name me," meaning that no tribal ceremony had been performed. But the old people had called him Ishi, which means "strong and straight one," for he was the youth of their camp. He had learned to make fire with sticks; he knew the lost art of chipping arrowheads from flint and obsidian; he was the fisherman and the hunter. He knew nothing of our modern life. He had no name for iron, nor cloth, nor horse, nor road. He was as primitive as the aborigines of the pre-Columbian period. In fact, he was a man in the Stone Age. He was absolutely untouched by civilization. In him science had a rare find. He turned back the pages of history countless centuries. And so they studied him, and he studied them.From him they learned little of his personal history and less of that of his family, because an Indian considers it unbecoming to speak much of his own life, and it brings ill luck to speak of the dead. He could not pronounce the name of his father without calling him from the land of spirits, and this he could only do for some very important reason. But he knew the full history of his tribe and their destruction.His apparent age was about forty years, yet he undoubtedly was nearer sixty. Because of his simple life he was in physical prime, mentally alert, and strong in body.He was about five feet eight inches tall, well proportioned, had beautiful hands and unspoiled feet.His features were less aquiline than those of the Plains Indian, yet strongly marked outlines, high cheek bones, large intelligent eyes, straight black hair, and fine teeth made him good to look upon.As an artisan he was very skilful and ingenious. Accustomed to primitive tools of stone and bone, he soon learned to use most expertly the knife, file, saw, vise, hammer, ax, and other modern implements.Although he marveled at many of our inventions and appreciated matches, he took great pride in his ability to make fire with two sticks of buckeye. This he could do in less than two minutes by twirling one on the other.About this time I became an instructor in surgery at the University Medical School, which is situated next to the Museum. Ishi was employed here in a small way as a janitor to teach him modern industry and the value of money. He was perfectly happy and a great favorite with everybody.From his earliest experience with our community life he manifested little immunity to disease. He contracted all the epidemic infections with which he was brought in contact. He lived a very hygienic existence, having excellent food and sleeping outdoors, but still he was often sick. Because of this I came in touch with him as his physician in the hospital, and soon learned to admire him for the fine qualities of his nature.Though very reserved, he was kindly, honest, cleanly, and trustworthy. More than this, he had a superior philosophy of life, and a high moral standard.By degrees I learned to speak his dialect, and spent many hours in his company. He told us the folk lore of his tribe. More than forty myths or animal stories of his have been recorded and preserved. They are as interesting as the stories of Uncle Remus. The escapades of wildcat, the lion, the grizzly bear, the bluejay, the lizard, and the coyote are as full of excitement and comedy as any fairy story.He knew the history and use of everything in the outdoor world. He spoke the language of the animals. He taught me to make bows and arrows, how to shoot them, and how to hunt, Indian fashion. He was a wonderful companion in the woods, and many days and nights we journeyed together.After he had been with us three years we took him back to his own country. But he did not want to stay. He liked the ways of the white man, and his own land was full of the spirits of the departed.He showed us old forgotten camp sites where past chieftains made their villages. He took us to deer licks and ambushes used by his people long ago. One day in passing the base of a great rock he scratched with his toe and dug up the bones of a bear's paw. Here, in years past, they had killed and roasted a bear. This was the camp of Ya mo lo ku. His own camp was called Wowomopono Tetna or bear wallow.We swam the streams together, hunted deer and small game, and at night sat under the stars by the camp fire, where in a simple way we talked of old heroes, the worlds above us, and his theories of the life to come in the land of plenty, where the bounding deer and the mighty bear met the hunter with his strong bow and swift arrows.I learned to love Ishi as a brother, and he looked upon me as one of his people. He called me Ku wi, or Medicine Man; more, perhaps, because I could perform little sleight of hand tricks, than because of my profession.But, in spite of the fact that he was happy and surrounded by the most advanced material culture, he sickened and died. Unprotected by hereditary or acquired immunity, he contracted tuberculosis and faded away before our eyes. Because he had no natural resistance, he received no benefit from such hygienic measures as serve to arrest the disease in the Caucasian. We did everything possible for him, and nursed him to the painful bitter end.When his malady was discovered, plans were made to take him back to the mountains whence he came and there have him cared for properly. We hoped that by this return to his natural elements he would recover. But from the inception of his disease he failed so rapidly that he was not strong enough to travel.Consumed with fever and unable to eat nourishing food, he seemed doomed from the first. After months of misery he suddenly developed a tremendous pulmonary hemorrhage. I was with him at the time, directed his medication, and gently stroked his hand as a small sign of fellowship and sympathy. He did not care for marked demonstrations of any sort.He was a stoic, unafraid, and died in the faith of his people.As an Indian should go, so we sent him on his long journey to the land of shadows. By his side we placed his fire sticks, ten pieces of dentalia or Indian money, a small bag of acorn meal, a bit of dried venison, some tobacco, and his bow and arrows.These were cremated with him and the ashes placed in an earthen jar. On it is inscribed "Ishi, the last Yana Indian, 1916."And so departed the last wild Indian of America. With him the neolithic epoch terminates. He closes a chapter in history. He looked upon us as sophisticated children--smart, but not wise. We knew many things and much that is false. He knew nature, which is always true. His were the qualities of character that last forever. He was essentially kind; he had courage and self-restraint, and though all had been taken from him, there was no bitterness in his heart. His soul was that of a child, his mind that of a philosopher.With him there was no word for good-by. He said: "You stay, I go."He has gone and he hunts with his people. We stay, and he has left us the heritage of the bow.


HOW ISHI MADE HIS BOW AND ARROW AND HIS METHODS OF SHOOTINGAlthough much has been written in history and fiction concerning the archery of the North American Indian, strange to say, very little has been recorded of the methods of manufacture of their weapons, and less in accurate records of their shooting.It is a great privilege to have lived with an unspoiled aborigine and seen him step by step construct the most perfect type of bow and arrow.The workmanship of Ishi was by far the best of any Indian in America; compared with thousands of specimens in the museum, his arrows were the most carefully and beautifully made; his bow was the best.It would take too much time to go into the minute details of his work, and this has all been recorded in anthropologic records, [Footnote: See Yahi Archery, Vol. 13, No. 3, Am. Archaeology and Ethnology.] but the outlines of his methods are as follows:The bow, Ishi called man-nee. It was a short, flat piece of mountain juniper backed with sinew. The length was forty-two inches, or, as he measured it, from the horizontally extended hand to the opposite hip. It was broadest at the center of each limb, approximately two inches, and half an inch thick. The cross-section of this part was elliptical. At the center of the bow the handgrip was about an inch and a quarter wide by three-quarters thick, a cross-section being ovoid. At the tips it was curved gently backward and measured at the nocks three-quarters by one-half an inch. The nock itself was square shouldered and terminated in a pin half an inch in diameter and an inch long.The wood was obtained by splitting a limb from a tree and utilizing the outer layers, including the sap wood. By scraping and rubbing on sandstone, he shaped and finished it. The recurved tips of the bow he made by bending the wood backward over a heated stone. Held in shape by cords and binding to another piece of wood, he let his bow season in a dark, dry place. Here it remained from a few months to years, according to his needs. After being seasoned he backed it with sinew. First he made a glue by boiling salmon skin and applying it to the roughened back of the bow. When it was dry he laid on long strips of deer sinew obtained from the leg tendons. By chewing these tendons and separating their fibers, they became soft and adhesive. Carefully overlapping the ends of the numerous fibers he covered the entire back very thickly. At the nocks he surrounded the wood completely and added a circular binding about the bow.During the process of drying he bound the sinew tightly to the bow with long, thin strips of willow bark. After several days he removed this bandage and smoothed off the edges of the dry sinew, sized the surface with more glue and rubbed everything smooth with sandstone. Then he bound the handgrip for a space of four inches with a narrow buckskin thong.In his native state he seems never to have greased his bow nor protected it from moisture, except by his bow case, which was made of the skin from a cougar's tail. But while with us he used shellac to protect the glue and wood. Other savages use buck fat or bear grease.The bowstring he made of the finer tendons from the deer's shank. These he chewed until soft, then twisted them tightly into a cord having a permanent loop at one end and a buckskin strand at the other. While wet the string was tied between two twigs and rubbed smooth with spittle. Its diameter was one-eighth of an inch, its length about forty-eight inches. When dry the loop was applied to the upper nock of his bow while he bent the bow over his knee and wound the opposite end of the string about the lower nock. The buckskin thong terminating this portion of the string made it easier to tie in several half hitches.When braced properly the bowstring was about five inches from the belly of the bow. And when not in use and unstrung the upper loop was slipped entirely off the nock, but held from falling away from the bow by a second small loop of buckskin.Drawn to the full length of an arrow, which was about twenty-six inches, exclusive of the foreshaft, his bow bent in a perfect arc slightly flattened at the handle. Its pull was about forty-five pounds, and it could shoot an arrow about two hundred yards.This is not the most powerful type of weapon known to Indians, and even Ishi did make stronger bows when he pleased; but this seemed to be the ideal weight for hunting, and it certainly was adequate in his hands.According to English standards, it was very short; but for hunting in the brush and shooting from crouched postures, it seems better fitted for the work than a longer weapon.According to Ishi, a bow left strung or standing in an upright position, gets tired and sweats. When not in use it should be lying down; no one should step over it; no child should handle it, and no woman should touch it. This brings bad luck and makes it shoot crooked. To expunge such an influence it is necessary to wash the bow in sand and water.In his judgment, a good bow made a musical note when strung and the string is tapped with the arrow. This was man's first harp, the great grandfather of the pianoforte.By placing one end of his bow at the corner of his open mouth and tapping the string with an arrow, the Yana could make sweet music. It sounded like an Aeolian harp. To this accompaniment Ishi sang a folk-song telling of a great warrior whose bow was so strong that, dipping his arrow first in fire, then in the ocean, he shot at the sun. As swift as the wind, his arrow flew straight in the round open door of the sun and put out its light. Darkness fell upon the earth and men shivered with cold. To prevent themselves from freezing they grew feathers, and thus our brothers, the birds, were born.Ishi called an arrow sa wa.In making arrows the first thing is to get the shafts. Ishi used many woods, but he preferred witch hazel. The long, straight stems of this shrub he cut in lengths of thirty-two inches, having a diameter of three-eighths of an inch at the base when peeled of bark.He bound a number of these together and put them away in a shady place to dry. After a week or more, preferably several months, he selected the best shafts and straightened them. This he accomplished by holding the concave surface near a small heap of hot embers and when warm he either pressed his great toe on the opposite side, or he bent the wood backward on the base of the thumb. Squinting down its axis he lined up the uneven contours one after the other and laid the shaft aside until a series of five was completed. He made up arrows in lots of five or ten, according to the requirements, his fingers being the measure.The sticks thus straightened he ran back and forth between two grooved pieces of sandstone or revolved them on his thigh while holding the stones in his hand, until they were smooth and reduced to a diameter of about five-sixteenths of an inch. Next they were cut into lengths of approximately twenty-six inches. The larger end was now bound with a buckskin thong and drilled out for the depth of an inch and a half to receive the end of the foreshaft. He drilled this hole by fixing a long, sharp bone in the ground between his great toes and revolved the upright shaft between his palms on this fixed point, the buckskin binding keeping the wood from splitting.The foreshaft was made of heavier wood, frequently mountain mahogany. It was the same diameter as the arrow, only tapering a trifle toward the front end, and usually was about six inches long. This was carefully shaped into a spindle at the larger end and set in the recently drilled hole of the shaft, using glue or resin for this purpose. The joint was bound with chewed sinew, set in glue.The length of an arrow, over all, was estimated by Ishi in this manner. He placed one end on the top of his breast-bone and held the other end out in his extended left hand. Where it touched the tip of his forefinger it was cut as the proper length. This was about thirty-two inches.The rear end of his arrow was now notched to receive the bowstring. He filed it with a bit of obsidian, or later on, with three hacksaw blades bound together until he made a groove one-eighth of an inch wide by three-eighths deep. The opposite end of the shaft was notched in a similar way to receive the head. The direction of this latter cut was such that when the arrow was on the bow the edge of the arrowhead was perpendicular, for the fancied reason that in this position the arrow when shot enters between the ribs of an animal more readily. He did not seem to recognize that an arrow rotates.At this stage he painted his shafts. The pigments used in the wilds were red cinnabar, black pigment from the eye of trout, a green vegetable dye from wild onions, and a blue obtained, he said, from the root of a plant. These were mixed with the sap or resin of trees and applied with a little stick or hairs from a fox's tail drawn through a quill.His usual design was a series of alternating rings of green and black starting two inches from the rear end and running four inches up the shaft. Or he made small circular dots and snaky lines running down the shaft for a similar distance. When with us he used dry colors mixed with shellac, which he preferred to oil paints because they dried quicker. The painted area, intended for the feathers, is called the shaftment and not only helps in finding lost arrows, but identifies the owner. This entire portion he usually smeared with thin glue or sizing.A number of shafts having been similarly prepared, the Indian was ready to feather them. A feather he called pu nee. In fledging arrows Ishi used eagle, buzzard, hawk or flicker feathers. Owl feathers Indians seem to avoid, thinking they bring bad luck. By preference he took them from the wings, but did not hesitate to use tail feathers if reduced to it. With us he used turkey pinions.Grasping one between the heel of his two palms he carefully separated the bristles at the tip of the feather with his fingers and pulled them apart, splitting the quill its entire length. This is called stripping a feather. Taking the wider half he firmly held one end on a rock with his great toe, and the other end between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand. With a piece of obsidian, or later on a knife blade, he scraped away the pith until the rib was thin and flat.Having prepared a sufficient number in this way he gathered them in groups of three, all from similar wings, tied them with a bit of string and dropped them in a vessel of water. When thoroughly wet and limp they were ready for use.While he chewed up a strand of sinew eight or ten inches long, he picked up a group of feathers, stripped off the water, removed one, and after testing its strength, folded the last two inches of bristles down on the rib, and the rest he ruffled backward, thus leaving a free space for later binding. He prepared all three like this.Picking up an arrow shaft he clamped it between his left arm and chest, holding the rear end above the shaftment in his left hand. Twirling it slowly in this position, he applied one end of the sinew near the nock, fixing it by overlapping. The first movements were accomplished while holding one extremity of the sinew in his teeth; later, having applied the feathers to the stick, he shifted the sinew to the grasp of the right thumb and forefinger.One by one he laid the feathers in position, binding down the last two inches of stem and the wet barbs together. The first feather he applied on a line perpendicular to the plane of the nock; the two others were equidistant from this. For the space of an inch he lapped the sinew about the feathers and arrow-shaft, slowly rotating it all the while, at last smoothing the binding with his thumb nail.The rear ends having been lashed in position, the arrow was set aside to dry while the rest were prepared.Five or ten having reached this stage and the binding being dry and secure, he took one again between his left arm and chest, and with his right hand drew all the feathers straight and taut, down the shaft. Here he held them with the fingers of his left hand. Having marked a similar place on each arrow where the sinew was to go, he cut the bristles off the rib. At this point he started binding with another piece of wet sinew. After a few turns he drew the feathers taut again and cut them, leaving about a half inch of rib. This he bound down completely to the arrow-shaft and finished all by smoothing the wet lapping with his thumb nail.The space between the rib and the wood he sometimes smeared with more glue to cause the feather to adhere to the shaft, but this was not the usual custom with him. After all was dry and firm, Ishi took the arrow and beat it gently across his palm so that the feathers spread out nicely.As a rule the length of his feathers was four inches, though on ceremonial arrows they often were as long as eight inches.After drying, the feathers were cut with a sharp piece of obsidian, using a straight stick as a guide and laying the arrow on a flat piece of wood. When with us he trimmed them with scissors, making a straight cut from the full width of the feather in back, to the height of a quarter of an inch at the forward extremity. On his arrows he left the natural curve of the feather at the nock, and while the rear binding started an inch or more from the butt of the arrow, the feather drooped over the nock. This gave a pretty effect and seemed to add to the steering qualities of the missile.Two kinds of points were used on Ishi's arrows. One was the simple blunt end of the shaft bound with sinew used for killing small game and practice shots. The other was his hunting head, made of flint or obsidian. He preferred the latter.Obsidian was used as money among the natives of California. A boulder of this volcanic glass was packed from some mountainous districts and pieces were cracked off and exchanged for dried fish, venison, or weapons. It was a medium of barter. Although all men were more or less expert in flaking arrowheads and knives, the better grades of bows, arrows, and arrow points were made by the older, more expert specialists of the tribe.Ishi often referred to one old Indian, named Chu no wa yahi, who lived at the base of a great cliff with his crazy wife. This man owned an ax, and thus was famous for his possessions as well as his skill as a maker of bows. From a distant mountain crest one day Ishi pointed out to me the camp of this Indian who was long since dead. If ever Ishi wished to refer to a hero of the bow, or having been beaten in a shot, he always told us what Chu no wa yahi could have done.To make arrowheads properly one should smear his face with mud and sit out in the hot sun in a quiet secluded spot. The mud is a precaution against harm from the flying chips of glass, possibly also a good luck ritual. If by chance a bit of glass should fly in the eye, Ishi's method of surgical relief was to hold his lower lid wide open with one finger while he slapped himself violently on the head with the other hand. I am inclined to ascribe the process of removal more to the hydraulic effect of the tears thus started than to the mechanical jar of the treatment.He began this work by taking one chunk of obsidian and throwing it against another; several small pieces were thus shattered off. One of these, approximately three inches long, two inches wide and half an inch thick, was selected as suitable for an arrowhead, or haka. Protecting the palm of his left hand by a piece of thick buckskin, Ishi placed a piece of obsidian flat upon it, holding it firmly with his fingers folded over it.In his right hand he held a short stick on the end of which was lashed a sharp piece of deer horn. Grasping the horn firmly while the longer extremity lay beneath his forearm, he pressed the point of the horn against the edge of the obsidian. Without jar or blow, a flake of glass flew off, as large as a fish scale. Repeating this process at various spots on the intended head, turning it from side to side, first reducing one face, then the other, he soon had a symmetrical point. In half an hour he could make the most graceful and perfectly proportioned arrowhead imaginable. The little notches fashioned to hold the sinew binding below the barbs he shaped with a smaller piece of bone, while the arrowhead was held on the ball of his thumb.Flint, plate glass, old bottle glass, onyx--all could be worked with equal facility. Beautiful heads were fashioned from blue bottles and beer bottles.The general size of these points was two inches for length, seven-eighths for width, and one-eighth for thickness. Larger heads were used for war and smaller ones for shooting bears.Such a head, of course, was easily broken if the archer missed his shot. This made him very careful about the whole affair of shooting.When ready for use, these heads were set on the end of the shaft with heated resin and bound in place with sinew which encircled the end of the arrow and crossed diagonally through the barb notches with many recurrences.Such a point has better cutting qualities in animal tissue than has steel. The latter is, of course, more durable. After entering civilization, Ishi preferred to use iron or steel blades of the same general shape, or having a short tang for insertion in the arrowhead.Ishi carried anywhere from five to sixty arrows in a quiver made of otter skin which hung suspended by a loop of buckskin over his left shoulder.His method of bracing or stringing the bow was as follows: Grasping it with his right hand at its center, with the belly toward him, and the lower end on his right thigh, he held the upper end with his left hand while the loop of the string rested between his finger and thumb. By pressing downward at the handle and pulling upward with the left hand he so sprung the bow that the loop of the cord could be slipped over the upper nock.In nocking his arrow, the bow was held diagonally across the body, its upper end pointing to the left. It was held lightly in the palm of the left hand so that it rested loosely in the notch of the thumb while the fingers partially surrounded the handle. Taking an arrow from his quiver, he laid it across the bow on its right side where it lay between the extended fingers of his left hand. He gently slid the arrow forward until the nock slipped over the string at its center. Here he set it properly in place and put his right thumb under the string, hooked upward ready to pull. At the same time he flexed his forefinger against the side of the arrow, and the second finger was placed on the thumb nail to strengthen the pull.Thus he accomplished what is known as the Mongolian release.Only a few nations ever used this type of arrow release, and the Yana seem to have been the only American natives to do so. [Footnote: See Morse on Arrow Release.]To draw his bow he extended his left arm. At the same time he pulled his right hand toward him. The bow arm was almost in front of him, while his right hand drew to the top of his breast bone. With both eyes open he sighted along his shaft and estimated the elevation according to the distance to be shot.He released firmly and without change of position until the arrow hit. He preferred to shoot kneeling or squatting, for this was most favorable for getting game.His shooting distances were from ten yards up to fifty. Past this range he did not think one should shoot, but sought rather to approach his game more closely.In his native state he practiced shooting at little oak balls, or bundles of grass bound to represent rabbits, or little hoops of willow rolled along the ground. Like all other archers, if Ishi missed a shot he always had a good excuse. There was too much wind, or the arrow was crooked, or the bow had lost its cast, or, as a last resource, the coyote doctor bewitched him, which is the same thing we mean when we say it is just bad luck. While with us he shot at the regulation straw target, and he is the first and only Indian of whose shooting any accurate records have been made.Many exaggerated reports exist concerning the accuracy of the shooting of American Indians; but here we have one who shot ever since childhood, who lived by hunting, and must have been as good, if not better, than the average.He taught us to shoot Indian style at first, but later we learned the old English methods and found them superior to the Indian. At the end of three months' practice, Dr. J. V. Cooke and I could shoot as well as Ishi at targets, but he could surpass us at game shooting.Ishi never thought very much of our long bows. He always said, "Too much man-nee." And he always insisted that arrows should be painted red and green.But when we began beating him at targets, he took all his shafts home and scraped the paint off them, putting back rings of blue and yellow, doubtless to change his luck. In spite of our apparent superiority at some forms of shooting, he never changed his methods to meet competition. We, of course, did not want him to.Small objects the size of a quail the Indian could hit with regularity up to twenty yards. And I have seen him kill ground squirrels at forty yards; yet at the same distances he might miss a four-foot target. He explained this by saying that the target was too large and the bright colored rings diverted the attention. He was right.There is a regular system of shooting in archery competition. In America there is what is known as the American Round, which consists of shooting thirty arrows at each of the following distances: sixty, fifty, and forty yards. The bull's-eye on the target is a trifle over nine inches and is surrounded by four rings of half this diameter. Their value is 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, successively counting from the center outward. The target itself is constructed of straw, bound in the form of a mat four feet in diameter, covered with a canvas facing.Counting the hits and scores on the various distances, a good archer will make the following record. Here is Arthur Young's best score:March 25, 1917.At 60 yards 30 hits 190 score 11 golds 50 yards 30 hits 198 score 9 golds 40 yards 30 hits 238 score 17 goldsTotal 90 hits 626 score 37 goldsThis is one of the best scores made by American archers.Ishi's best record is as follows:October 23, 1914.At 60 yards 10 hits 32 score 50 yards 20 hits 92 score 2 golds 40 yards 19 hits 99 score 2 goldsTotal 49 hits 223 score 4 goldsHis next best score was this:At 60 yards 13 hits 51 score 50 yards 17 hits 59 score 40 yards 22 hits 95 scoreTotal 52 hits 205 scoreMy own best practice American round is as follows:May 22, 1917.At 60 yards 29 hits 157 score 50 yards 29 hits 185 score 40 yards 30 hits 196 scoreTotal 88 hits 538 scoreAnything over 500 is considered good shooting.It will be seen from this that the Indian was not a good target shot, but in field shooting and getting game, probably he could excel the white man.