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Luhya hunting traditions

Hunting was very common in the old days. Often people hunted to get meat. But in other cases they hunted to keep away the wild animals which destroyed their crops. In this second case hunting was an important affair of a village or olukongo. Every adult man in the area was to join in. Even in the case of hunting for the sake of getting meat, only a few people stayed at home.
           
A signal for hunting was given early in the morning by blowing the horn in a particular manner. All the strong men then came out with their spears, knives and dogs. In some areas bows and arrows were used. There were definite rules for hunting, and everyone was expected to obey them strictly. This was to avoid accidents such as someone piercing another with his spear or arrow. Also, such discipline made it possible for those who speared the animal to get their rightful share of the meat.
           
The dogs had bells (bikhule or amabwobo) round their necks so that their whereabouts could be known. A dog which co-operated in killing got its share of the meat.


Hunting stories:
This short story shows that in some hunts the hunters were not so lucky and they killed no animals. It also tells something about the character of the sort of man who remained at home while others went to a hunt. The story goes like this: One day the people blew their horns and the men went to a bushy area to hunt. It was a very hot day. The people tried their best, but they killed no animals. They saw a few squirrels and hares but no bucks. More...
horn
The villagers were often called to a hunting expedtion by a horn blower. All male were expected to join in the hunt. Some of the hunting trophies such as skin were used to make ceremonial gear such as huts as seen below when Musalia Mudavadi was made a Luhya elder in 2007.
musalia mudavadi

Fish hunting:
Fishing was a special type of hunting. It was an important occupation among the Luhya living close to Lake Victoria and the lower valleys of Rivers Nzoia, Sio and Yala. Two sub-tribes in Luhyaland are particularly famous as fishermen: the Banyala of Buongo and the Abasamia. More...
Hunting trophies

Meat was the most important one. Then there were the skins which were used for a number of purposes.  Some were used for sleeping on, for instance, that of the buffalo.  Others provided flat strapped shoes for protection against thorns. Yet others were worn as dresses or decorations, for instance that of the colobus monkey (its skin is called ituru in western Luhyaland).

Colourful robes and headgears were made out of this. Rare articles were made out of other things like the hairs of the tails of the giraffe (obutiga), which made rare bracelets worn round the ankles, the wrists and the neck by women. The tail of the zebra (imbwori) was a rare and expensive flywhisk used only by chiefs and famous medicine men. The feathers of certain birds, too, were much sought after. For instance, the feathers of the Ostrich (amawudo) and those of a little, rare bird with long tail feathers called isimbikhira. The latter was used in western Luhyaland on ceremonial headgears which were used only on the most honoured occasions such as going in procession to the funeral of a mother or father-in-law; or when one has killed a lion or leopard. More...


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