In his 1851 book, Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation, George Copway describes a few of the species hunted by the Ojibwe at Red Lake and how successful they were in their endeavors. Copway wrote:
“Moose and Deer are taken, chiefly however in the northern parts of Lake Superior and in the vicinity of Red Lake. The Moose is one of the largest animals found, and the hunters have quite a merry time when three or four are taken at one time. It is considered best to take them before they leave their yard in the winter. If they are not thus taken, it is very difficult to secure them, as they are very fleet [and are usually found in boggy areas].
The Reindeer [Caribou] is also taken…it is the hardiest animal in the country. They are often chased for days in succession by the Indians, and a coat of ice is seen to cover them, caused by their perspiration; at the same time a thick steam arises from them. They go in droves, and when they are on the run, the light snow rises in clouds in every direction.”
In speaking about the Buffalo, Copway describes hunting incorporating Red River carts, skilled horsemen, and well-trained horses being part of the annual event:
“The Buffalo are taken at the head of Red River, where the Chippewa and the half-breeds kill between eight and ten thousand every year. The Indians form into companies and take their wagons with them when they go on a Buffalo hunt. The drove of Buffalo is very large, and grazing they blacken the prairie as far as the eye can reach.
The tread of the Buffalo makes the earth to tremble. The hunters are mounted on ponies whom are so taught that when a wounded animal falls they immediately start for an encounter with another. The Indian gathers his arrows from the grass while he is riding at full speed—a feat which is considered very dexterous, but which is quite common on the western prairies."
Copway, G., & Hulan, S. (2014). Traditional history & characteristic sketches of the Ojibway nation. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities