, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 219-252

A comparison of the efficiencies of the shotgun and the bow in neotropical forest hunting

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Whenever introduced into Amazonia and its neighboring regions, the shotgun has quickly replaced the bow and arrow and other aboriginal weapons of the hunt. The quick and widespread adoption of the shotgun is plainly a matter of its superiority over most aboriginal weapons. This paper compares the hunting efficiencies of the shotgun and the bow by means of a controlled field experiment among the Ye'kwana and Yanomamö Indians of the Upper Orinoco River of southern Venezuela. It also examines the impact of the shotgun on local animal populations and the economic changes brought about by the need to cash-crop in order to purchase Western hunting technology.

Funds for the research and writing of this paper were made possible by an NIMH predoctoral fellowship to Napoleon A. Chagnon, Grant No. NIMH 5 R01 MH 26008-SSR.