Sunday, July 1, 2007

On Shooting Iguanas by Todd Hill

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.

Todd Hill
Primitive Point

The Perfect Shot by Todd Hill

The Perfect Shot

We threaded our way silently through the jungle, following the way of least resistance, around vines and tree trunks, pushing softly through bushes. Every so often Parara (our Amazonian guide) would stop to listen. We stopped too, listening for the sounds of potential game.

As we walked my senses drank in my surroundings. Each plant was familiar, each sound, even the earthy, loamy smells. I felt alive there in the jungle.

Suddenly we sensed activity up ahead. Parara grew very alert. We stepped forward quietly and then froze. In a blur of motion, Parara raised his bow, nocked an arrow, and let it fly into the jungle ahead of us.

We followed our friend forward about 25 yards where we saw his heavy metal-pointed arrow pinning an agouti to the ground at the very entrance to its hole. One half second later and it would have been safe. The arrow had cut an inch wide hole through its lungs, killing the animal almost instantly.

My brother and I exchanged admiring looks, marveling at the incredible performance we had just witnessed.

Todd Hill

The Amazon

A fellow Blogger, Todd Hill, ( Primitive Point ) has graciously forwarded a couple of adventures from his time in the Amazon. It has always been fascinating when I have had the opportunity to be with indigenous peoples to observe their incredible skills.

I made the comment to Todd that many years ago, when I was on the northern border of Costa Rica, the uncanny skill the children had with nothing more than a one inch round river stone. If a fowl or iguana was sighted, the kids unerringly launched a stone that would knock the creatures head almost off. Meal collected they went on their merry way doing what all kids do: looking to get into something.

I have asked Todd to consider putting together a series of stories from his time in the rain forests. I know that there are bound to be fascinating annecdotes that we would all love to hear and learn!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...