About Apache Buffalo Hunting


Different people have practiced many different methods of survival throughout time, whether it be hunting or gathering. The Apache largely relied on hunting for their daily survival. Depending on where the tribe was located, the type of game that the Apache hunted varied. However, one of the main game hunted by the Apache nation were buffalo.

Time Frame

  • It is unknown exactly when the Apache nation started hunting buffalo as their history started far before the pilgrims started settling the East Coast of North America. Most Apache nations remained uncovered until settlers started moving west lured by promises of riches, land and the gold rush.

    The modern view of the Apache began to come clear once the US started limiting the Apache people to reservations around 1875 and as the history and culture and hunting methods of the Apache people became more public. Today, most Apaches shop for their food at grocery stores like most people in the US.

History of

  • When the word Apache is used to denote a group of Native Americans it actually is a parent name for a many culturally associated groups of Native Americans. Since the Apaches were separated throughout the South Western United States and they were not known for their political unity and thus it made it hard to distinguish one group from another within the Apache people.

    This was important to know as each group had their own methods and source of game. However, regardless of the methods of hunting, if buffalo were present they became a source of food. It is widely believed that the Apache people entered into the American Southwest around 1000 AD because of historical and archaeological evidence. From their early beginnings in the Southwest buffalo became a prime source of sustenance for this people.


  • The function of the Buffalo varied depending on which Apache tribe they were being hunted by. However, the one thing that the buffalo hunt signified to the Apache people was a massive source of food. Wild buffalo were plentiful and one buffalo could easily feed many tribal people. Buffalo also had sacred, religious and legendary significance to most tribes who the spirit of the buffalo was a significant part of their heritage and culture.


  • The Apache's use of buffalo were a significant part of their lives. Apaches derived their food from five main sources that included growing their own plants, hunting, harvesting wild roots and plants when available, trading with neighboring tribes and communities. Although the Apache people obtained their food from many sources, their diet still consisted of about 40 to 45 percent meat. This percentage of meat usually was deer or buffalo.


  • The hunting of buffalo was primarily done by men within the tribe. Each hunt involved a multitude of religious ceremonies and ceremonial fasting before hunting the animal. In many facets of the Apache Nation buffalo were so sacred that they could only be hunted and slaughtered in a significant way so as to not upset the spirits.

    Even the way that the bones were disposed of was done ceremonially in many parts of the Apache tribes. The hunt was usually done with a bow and arrow and hunting methods involved everything from dressing themselves up by wearing buffalo head masks to elaborate chasing patterns that would tire the buffalo out to surrender to the hunter.

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