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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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

  • Author(s): Brook, Richard A
  • et al.

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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