Hunting and Trapping
An important requirement for obtaining food is a thorough knowledge of the habits and movements of a variety of large and small animals throughout the year. In fall, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in travelled up the Klondike River valley to hunt moose. In the high country on either side of the Yukon River, they hunted sheep and caribou. There are accounts of several groups of people coming together in fall to hunt using a caribou fence. Animals were driven into a large open-ended structure made of poles and brush, inset with snares. They then killed the penned caribou with spears or bows and arrows. Charlie Isaac recalled how his father Chief Isaac killed two caribou using just a knife.
People used an ingenious variety of snares and deadfall traps to catch a variety of small and large animals. When our people began trading for European goods, they did more trapping for fur. In spring, they trapped beaver and caught a variety of returning waterfowl either with snares or bows and arrows, using light arrows that didn’t damage the skins. Grouse and ptarmigan were snared year round.
Caribou on the Blackstone Uplands.
Young hunters learning to dress out a caribou.
Snowshoe hares are an important food source for many species.