On Shooting Iguanas
During rainy season the rivers rose many feet to flood the surrounding jungle. The center main part of the rivers flow swiftly and dangerously with the added volume of water. Fishing was not good and the rivers were hard to navigate in heavy dugout canoes. Many of the vines and trees bordering the rivers produced fruit during this time, and large iguanas were to be found in great numbers feeding in the fruit-laden trees along the rivers.
Some of the Indians made their fields by the river and had to travel by canoe to get to them. I was along with Pooto and his family for a trip to their field. After gathering some fruit and manioc we got in the canoe to paddle back. We paddled hard and hugged the bank. When going upriver it is best to stay as close to shore as possible as there is less current there.
Suddenly Pooto started talking excitedly. He had spotted some iguanas up in a tree. We steadied the canoe as much as possible as he stood up, drew, aimed and let fly an arrow. The iguana came thrashing down from the tree, its neck transfixed by an arrow. It’s hard enough to shoot from a tipsy dugout canoe, but you also have to hit the iguanas in the head or neck or they will not fall down. Wiripi, Pooto’s son, shot another one in the same tree and then we crossed the river to continue on the other side.
We soon stopped at another iguana filled tree. The Indians have incredible eyes to be able to spot these camouflaged reptiles in the trees. This tree was high and the shots would be much more challenging. I watched completely amazed as they shot several more iguanas.