Journal of Glacial Archaeology, Vol 1 (2014)

Wild Reindeer and Saami Hunting with Bow and Arrow

Yngve Ryd
Issued Date: 6 Nov 2014


Despite the disappearance of wild reindeer more than 100 years again, the Sami of Northern Sweden still possess detailed traditional knowledge of the hunting, capture and ecology of wild reindeer. Interviews with Sami elders conducted over the past 30 years have carefully documented the techniques and technology for hunting reindeer on alpine snow patches. Elders report that wild-reindeer behavior was largely conditioned by avoidance of two parasitic insects- sjlávtjá (Hypoderma tarandi, warble fly) and nuhpak (Cehpenemyia trompe, nose bot fly) and understanding the reindeer response to insect harassment allowed Sami hunters to successfully harvest the animals on the snow patches. This article provides a summary of Sami traditional knowledge in the hunting on wild reindeer on alpine snow patches, including the construction and use of bow and arrow technology, the capture and use of wild reindeer. The main source for this information is 88 year old retired reindeer herder Ola Omma, who recalls the stories of older Sami hunters in great detail.

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DOI: 10.1558/jga.v1i1.11


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