Blowgun Hunting...
The ancestral way of Amazon Indian Tribes


One of the techniques mastered by Amazon rainforest Indians is blowgun hunting, principally among the Yaguas (Yahuas), Matis and Korubo tribes, being the Korubo the most recient contacted tribe in the Amazon rainforest.

Read more about the Korubo here.

Yahua blowgun. Iquitos, Peru
Yagua (Yahua) Blowgun. Iquitos. Peru - © Jialiang Gao

Also known as blowpipe or cerbatana, it's called pucuna in Peru.

A skilled hunter can hit a small monkey at 90 feet.

Blowguns are made from the "blowgun tree" of the nutmeg family, following a very skilled process..

After a long branch is selected and split in half, the inside is reamed out - carved by hand- and put back together again using resin.

Yaguas use brea for this and then tightly wrapped it using rods from the philodendron tree (palmira palm).


The blowgun's bore has to be perfectly true, a key factor for a good blowgun. To smooth it, they use a rod of the pona palm - rock-hard wood also used to make spears.

Another technique used by the Yaguas is to blow their darts with a wad of fiber (cotton-like) from the kapok tree that acts as a gasket, preventing the air form the hunter's lungs from passing around the dart.


Blowgun darts. Peruvian amazon.
Blowgun Darts. Peruvian Amazon


Darts of about 10 inches long are made from palm leaf stalks (inayuga palm) and then smoothed and sharpened using piranha teeth. Red more about the piranha at Amazon river fish page.

The end is tipped with a curare mixture.
The curare potion - that can come from 75 plant species and families - as well as the way to carry it - varies with each tribal group. Visit the Curare page for more info on this.


Matis Indians, for instance, are expert blowgun hunters. They are known as the yaguar people (cat people) and live in the Javari (Yavari) valley, border of Peru and Brazil.
Primarily hunters, they use four-meter long blowguns and curare-tipped darts.

Yaguas (Yahuas), in the Loreto province, Peru, are also known for their ancestral technique in crafting blowguns and preparing the curare mixture.




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