A Look at Hunting in Igboland


hunting in igbolandHunting in Igboland is an important occupation in communities that exist near thick forests, and it is basically done for meat, and sometimes for commercial purposes.

Most male adults who take up hunting as occupation in Igboland do so from their childhood days. Kid-hunters typically accompany adult-hunters on expeditions to learn and understand the basic tricks and  skills such as targeting, trap setting, etc necessary for success in the forests.

Igbos encourage their male children to learn how to conquer their environments; and kid-hunters are permitted to use catapults to hunt for lizards, squirrels, and pigeons. They are strictly forbidden to use rifles or machetes when hunting. Only adult hunters are allowed in Igboland to hunt using more complex weapons such as rifles, machetes, daggers etc

On any day an expedition is scheduled, the lead hunters in the community blow flutes  as well as beat gongs as call-out signals to other hunters, because hunting in Igboland is a group activity.

Igbo traditional hunters hit the forests for expedition with trained dogs that wear bells around their necks to scare preys and expose them. The hunters also carry baits and traps to the forests.

Sometimes, when a prey is chased, it is pursued and lured to seek refuge in well concealed traps, where it is either becomes stuck, hooked or locked up for a while before it is killed.

In a forest during an expedition, adult-hunters strategize and pursue after preys, while kid-hunters and the dogs make noise to frighten preys and force them to run so they could be exposed and killed.

Dogs are important to hunters in Igboland, because the nasal membrane of dogs can detect and “sniff” out preys from their hiding places. Most times dogs assist in pursuing preys and killing them or, just biting their tails before the hunters catch up and do the killing.

Sometimes, women get involved when the preys killed by their hunter-husbands are so much in the sense that they are allowed to accompany their husbands back to the forests to bring back the remaining meat.

At the end of each expedition, the hunters gather to share the meat. That hunter that fired the shot that killed a prey, usually, takes its head before the remaining body is shared.

Igbo hunters express generosity with meat by inviting friends and neighbors to partake in the meat sharing exercise whenever large animals are killed.

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