What Animals Did the Iroquois Hunt?
Animals hunted by the Iroquois people included forest species such as deer, bears, pigeons, muskrats and beavers. Rabbits, wild turkeys, geese, ducks, wolves and moose were also common prey. The Iroquois also caught various species of fish that included walleye, white and yellow bass, shovelnose sturgeon and trout.
Iroquois men were responsible for providing meat for the tribe. They caught animals by using snares or hunting them with bows and arrows. Hunting was mainly engaged in during the fall season.
The main birds hunted by the Iroquois were the now-extinct passenger pigeons. These birds bred and nested on Iroquois land during the spring. As the Iroquois were careful to hunt only the young birds so that older birds would be able to breed again, the extinction of this species was largely due to white hunters.
Iroquois hunters caught fish by netting them using a fence-style trap known as a weir. They then speared them using bone harpoons. Fish were an important part of the Iroquois diet due to their abundance.
Most families ate just one fairly large meal a day. Women were responsible for growing crops and gathering wild foods. Corn, beans and squash were staple foods for the Iroquois. Sunflower seeds were grown so that their oil could be used for cooking.