Posted by Jo's LOTM husband on December 21, 1997 at 23:43:31:
My wife pointed out that it seems there is quite a bit of discussion regarding age and loin cloth's. Having also commented on those topics myself, I feel compelled to make a relevant comment about the movie.
Having spent a number of years of my life hunting Elk, I did not consider the opening scenes of the movie realistic. (I know I might be opening up a can of worms with the animal rights enthusiasts) First off, I am unaware of a technique of running down your prey like a Watusi warrior unless your goal was to drive a herd over a cliff. A human is not fast enough to run down an Elk in heavy timber. In the opening scenes so much noise was being made it would sent all the game running for cover. When you enter the woods its like entering a pond you send ripples of your presence all over.
With limited range weapons as a bow or black powder rifle one technique would be to hunt from a blind (hiding spot) along a well traveled game trail. This technique ambushes the game at close range. This is used often today in the east.
Another technique is to stalk your game silently through the woods and get within range by stealth. This technique if done with say three hunters, who know the terrain well, would have them begin from three different positions in the hunting grounds. Say one at the top of a pass and two working their way up, either side from the bottom of a ravine. They would then converge on each other one from the top, and two from the bottom. This would drive any game flushed by the hunter into his companions. They would move through the woods like the French and Indians who were hunting the party held up in the Indian graveyard. This is the technique we use out west.
I know movies take a poetic license with things but I thought it would have been a more interesting beginning if it appeared as though the two Indians were hunting Hawkeye, and at the last minute have it turnout to be an elk hunt. The other poetic license taken was the range of the black powder rifle. Having the ability to put two bullets in the heart of a running object at two hundred yards, I doubt that feat could be done from the fort with a black power rifle of that era, and if it did it would take quite a bit of luck.
I don't mean to degrade the movie, it was well done. I thought you'd like to know about hunting. I have also the distinction of getting lost dragging a four hundred pound dead Elk with four other guys over miles of terrain. Oh well, those stories are best told around a campfire. Did Jo mention we have a twenty foot diameter Sioux Indian teepee? To add a comment about age sometimes it's not the mileage as much as how rough was the road it was driven on.
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