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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Inferences Regarding Aboriginal Hunting Behavior in the Saline Valley, Inyo County, California


The documented use of stone "hunting blinds" behind which marksmen hid themselves "ventre a terre" (Baillie-Grohman 1884: 168) waiting for sheep to be driven along trails, can be found in the writings of a number of early historians (Baillie-Grohman 1884; Spears 1892; Muir 1901; Bailey 1940). Recent archaeological discoveries of rock features believed to be hunting blinds at the Upper Warm Springs (Fig. I) in Saline Valley, Inyo County, California, provide a basis to substantiate, build upon, and evaluate these observations and the ethnographic descriptions of hunting in the Great Basin (Steward 1933, 1938, 1941; Driver 1937; Voegelin 1938; Stewart 1941). An examination of these features, their location, orientation, and associations in conjunction with ethological attributes, strongly support the notion of a hunting function, and the argument is made that Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) were the primary target of this activity with perhaps a secondary emphasis on hunting of Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana).

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