Years back in Acholiland, hunting was looked at as one of the most important activities. It was an activity of men and grown up boys.. It was also an occupation for others. In some instances, women also accompanied men in hunting especially during "apet" type of hunting. But even in this case, they went to cook and helpers.Every boy child was taught to hunt at a tender age by the elders.This kind of tutoring was also part of leisure. "Oken " were men who took hunting as a career/ occupation. Some great hunter earned themselves "-moi" names although these names ending with moi was for great warriors who had excelled in wars by killing many people. Kurumoi, Giramoi Manamoi are some of those names.

In those days many animals roamed the country very freely.The rich vegetation especially forests supported their well being.

Acholi people were very skilled in huntying and so had various forms of hunting. One of the methods I am going to tackle is hunting with traps. One should note that this type of hunting is not as easy as it sounds.It takes an ingenious to manage it. This brings me to say Acholi hunters were very clever people.They learnt to use the limited resources they had to take advantage of the wild animals. They did not have complicated weapons but used simple traps to get the animals.

Method One
This is the most primitive way of getting animals. The stone-age people used it; the Acholi people also used it. The hunters would dig a hole at strategic point where animals treaded like near water points. The hole was then covered with grass and twigs. The unsuspecting game would fall in the hole and get caught up there. Another style was that they would fix sharpened sticks either at the sides of the hole of at the bottom.
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Sometimes desperate men would just look for grazing animals and with audacity chase them towards where they had dug the hole.For sure one unlucky animal would get trapped. The unlucky animal would then be clobbered to death. It would then be dragged home where a fine feast wound ensue.

Another method was using "akum" to get smaller animals like squirrels, edible rats, hares etc.
A set up like the one is strategically put in a place where the animals visit. A piece of cassava is used as a bait.




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As time went by people started using slightly modern methods of trapping animals. Metalic traps called 'kwaka or kwak" were invented. The Acholi people bought their first metallic traps from their neighbhours the Madi who had had the practice of iron-smelting for a long time. With time they too became black smiths. These traps have a crocodile-like mouth which opens and closes. Sharp spikes are fixed on the sides of the mouth. When the mouth closes, the animal is tightly gripped and a lot of pain inflicted on it. When the trap was set, the hunter visited the trap on a daily basis. He had to be patient until luck comes his way.

I had my own experience one time when I was living with one of my uncles. My sleep was interrupted by a loud terrific scream. Never before had I heard such a scream of rage bit that was pure fury of a fight-to-death cry.I woke up confused not knowing what had happened. Worst, my door flew open. It was my uncle . He came to alert me that a wild pig had been trapped. Half dressed, I hurried out with a huge desire to have my first experience. For never before had I been party to a hunting expedition. Two of my other uncle carried spears and a torch. A nieghbour came running. He too had a spear. I had no spear so they gave me a machete sharper than a butcher's and off we went that very minute. The beast was still screaming as if it was being roasted alive. The nearer we got, the louder the scream became; one would think there were a million of them screaming. I became very frightened the minute I set my eyes on it.Its eyes, my God, was redder than blood. My eldest uncle was the first to throw his spear which sank into the lower limb of the animal. Another spear went down the chest and down went the beast still screaming. The next was the use of my machete; but who could use it for I was as cold as ice as fear surrounded me.My uncle yelled scolding me yet warning me to be a man. Reluctantly, I swung into action; gave the animal a cut on the head and then another. Down the monster went as its scream died down. We carried the carcass home.
One unpleasant thing about hunting with traps is that is unpredictable when one would succeed in getting a catch. It is also unpredictable which animal you will catch.It is also unsafe as sometimes hunters get trapped by their own traps of that of their friends. Imagine two metal spikes going deep into a human leg !!!!!!!!!!!!.I think the animals would rejoice watching a man wail with pain from a trap meant for them. Just like the Prophet Isiah said: "they set a trap for me but they ended up falling in their own trap." Call them carnivorous but they were not; they were just great hunters.

by kinyera seraphine