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The Culture of the Luiseño Indians, by Philip Stedman Sparkman, [1908], at


The largest game animal was the black-tail deer, formerly very abundant and still found. They were formerly hunted with bow and arrow, and were also, it is said, taken in snares.

Those who hunted with bow and arrow sometimes used a stuffed deer head with the antlers attached. This they fastened on their head, and on seeing a deer, would slowly approach it, lowering and raising, or bobbing the deer head from side to side. In this manner they often approached sufficiently near to the deer to kill it. The snare was made by placing a running noose in a deer trail, so that the animal would entangle its feet in it. The noose being fastened to a pole which was bent over and lightly fastened to the ground, the struggles of the deer would loosen it; it would then fly back and leave the animal suspended in the air.

There is a place where deer were once said to have been killed by being driven over a precipice, at the foot of which they would be found dead; but it is also said that after a time it was impossible to drive them over it, as they would double back in spite of every effort to prevent them.

Venison was cooked by broiling on hot coals, also in the earth oven, and sometimes, though less often, by boiling in water. When cooked in the earth oven it was sometimes pounded up finely in a mortar, and stored away for future use. The entrails and blood of deer were both used.

In some parts of the territory occupied by the Luiseños antelopes were formerly abundant, notably between Temecula and San Jacinto, but the last were killed about twenty years or more ago. It is said there never were any in the upper San Luis Rey valley.

It is doubtful if much large game was ever killed by the Luiseños with their crude weapons. The principal animal food probably always consisted of jackrabbits and rabbits, which are still the chief game animals. But an exception must be made of

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the people who lived permanently on the coast, whose chief flesh diet was fish and mussels.

Now-a-days jackrabbits and rabbits are either killed with a shotgun or small caliber rifle, or hunted on horseback with sticks two and a half or three feet long.

Formerly these animals were hunted with bows and arrows, or trapped by draw nets and snares placed in their runs. They were also driven into a long net stretched across a suitable place, a number of Indians assembling for the purpose.

They were also killed with a flat, curved stick, wakut, which has erroneously been spoken of as a boomerang. Formerly when an Indian went to the field he carried one of these sticks in addition to his bow and arrows. If he saw a rabbit or other animal that he wished to kill standing, he shot at it with the bow; if it was running, he threw the stick at it.

There are two kinds of rabbits, the cottontail and a smaller, darker one weighing only a little more than a pound when full grown.

Rabbits and jackrabbits were usually cooked by broiling on hot coals. They were also sometimes cooked in the earth oven. Sometimes, after being cooked in the latter manner, their flesh, together with the bones, was pounded up in a mortar, and either eaten at once or stored away for future use.

A wood rat is much liked. This animal builds a nest of small sticks, sometimes quite large, in the brush or undergrowth, in the cactus, and occasionally in trees. In hunting it the nests are often set on fire to drive it out, one, or rarely two, being found in each nest. Usually the nest is overturned, and the rats killed with bows and arrows or sticks. Numbers are sometimes killed after a flood has driven them out of their nests in the undergrowth along the river. Several other kinds of rats were formerly used as food, as well as ground squirrels and different kinds of mice. These animals were often trapped. Two flat stones were taken. On the lower one an acorn was placed on end, the upper stone resting on it, so that when the acorn was gnawed through by an animal the stone would fall and kill it. Since only small animals could get between the stones when baited in the above manner, for larger ones, as wood rats and ground

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squirrels, a short stick was placed on top of the acorns. This made room for them to crawl between the stones and reach the bait.

Tree squirrels were not eaten. Neither were wild pigeons nor doves until quite recently, the latter from superstitious motives. The valley quail, found in great numbers in the San Luis Rey valley and adjacent country, even to the summit of Palomar, have always been eaten. They were formerly killed with the bow, and were also hunted at night with fire, dry stems of the cholla cactus being set on fire and used to attract them; when they flew towards the light they were knocked down with sticks. During a prolonged period of cold rainy weather they become chilled so that they cannot fly far; when in that condition they were formerly sometimes run down by boys. Mountain quail were also eaten. Rats, mice, quails, and squirrels were cooked by broiling on coals.

Ducks, formerly plentiful, were killed with the bow or with the throwing stick. Mudhens were not eaten. Larks and robins and the eggs of ducks and quails were eaten.

Bears were formerly quite common on Palomar, and also in Bear valley. They were occasionally killed, but their flesh was never eaten. Their skins and claws were saved, the latter being used to make necklaces. A stone was erected wherever a bear or mountain lion was killed.

Before a hunt a fire was sometimes built of white sage and Artemisia Californica. The hunters stood around this and in the smoke, the belief being that this absolved them from any breach of social observances they might have committed, which would otherwise bring them ill luck.

Grasshoppers have always been abundant in the San José valley, this being one of the localities in which they hatch. They were formerly eaten by the Indians who lived there, and sometimes by others. The manner of taking them was by digging a pit, which was surrounded at a distance by Indians with boughs, who drove them from all sides into the pit. This was of course before they had reached the flying stage of their existence. A fire was built upon them and they were killed and roasted at the same time. They are said to have been eaten without any further

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A large green grub was eaten. It was boiled in water and eaten with salt.

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