The Vore Buffalo Jump
Hunting Large Bison Took Teamwork and Ingenuity
The Coordinated Bison Hunt
The hunters camped and made ceremonial preparations downwind and out of sight of the jump. Days before the hunt, scouts would gather 200-500 bison cows and calves a few miles from the kill site, a large here being easier to control and providing more food than a small one. To set the hunt in motion, one hunter - dressed in a bison hide to resemble a calf - would slowly decoy the herd toward the sinkhole. Dominate cows would lead the group to investigate the distressed "calf." Other hunters followed, urging the herd forward but not stampeding it until the very end. running toward the sinkhole from a curved, natural drainage ditch, the bison did not see the pit before finding themselves toppling into it. Those that survived the fall were killed by hunters waiting
The Horse Brings Change
This is one of thousands of jump sites in the West, many dating back thousands of years. making this one significant is the fact that it was used relatively late - from 1500 to 1800 - and shows evidence of the encounter of European with Plains Indian cultures. The presence of arrow points from six or more different tribes during this short period documents the social upheaval partially caused by Euro-American expansion westward. Layered 25 feet deep, the bison bones also illustrate changes in hunting and food processing practices, from the use of dogs to the use of horses as beasts of burden in moving carcasses. Introduced by Europeans, the horse revolutionized Plains Indian life. Once fully integrated into their cultures, it replaced the need of the fall bison harvest; with the aid of horses, bison could be hunted year-round.
Varves Reveal Buried Secrets
The Vore site stands out among archaeological investigations because of its dating precision. Every year rains and snowmelt wash eroded soil into the pit, burying bones and grasses. Called varves, these layers of sediment can be counted like tree rings. Not only are they used for dating, but they also witness changes in weather and other ecological events. For example, the layers are thick in wet years and thin in dry years. They show that the jump was used every five
Location. 44° 31.661′ N, 104° 12.346′ W. Marker is in Sundance, Wyoming, in Crook County. Marker is on Interstate 90. Marker is at the Wyoming Welcome Center. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sundance WY 82729, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Petrified Trees (here, next to this marker); Bird of the Black Hills (here, next to this marker); Rich Colors, Rich Lands (here, next to this marker); The Custer Trail (here, next to this marker); Paha Sapa, Black Hills (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Vore Buffalo Jump (approx. 2½ miles away); Understanding Bison Behavior Brought Success (approx. 2½ miles away); The Ideal Hunting Ground (approx. 2½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sundance.
Categories. • Animals • Paleontology •
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 4, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 818 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 4, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.