Blowgun for poisoned darts
The blowgun, used to shoot poisoned darts, is a very effective way to kill animals and birds in the dense forest.
Hunting for meat in order to supplement the diet of vegetables and fish is an important task for Amazonian men, who learn from a young age. Although they can now buy guns, men often prefer blowguns because they are less destructive and also silent; the hunter can miss the first shot without the prey noticing. These weapons, often up to ten feet long, shoot thin darts of palm wood tipped with poison as far as 100 feet or more.
To make the long tube straight and smooth enough for the dart to fly through, a man takes a long piece of palmwood, carves and smooths it into a perfect cylinder, and then splits it in half to gouge out and smooth the tube. The two halves are then joined together again, bound and glued. This one also has decorative inlay of bone or shell.
The darts are tipped with curare poison, made from the bark of a tree. When curare enters the bloodstream it paralyses the animal, but has no effect when the meat is eaten. A small wad of cotton wool is used to catch the blast of air which the hunter blows down the pipe, so propelling the dart.
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