Bow hunt produces buffalo; local artisan recognized | Teri’s Notebook | NevadaAppeal.com

Bow hunt produces buffalo; local artisan recognized | Teri’s Notebook

Teri Vance
For the Nevada Appeal

John Rupert has been hunting his whole life — even before he was born.

"Even when Sherry was pregnant, he went out hunting," John's dad, Ben, said. "He hasn't missed a single year since then, except when he broke his collar bone when he was 12."

He started out just going along with his dad, helping to spot the animals. At about 6 or 7, he started packing out the meat. Little by little, he learned how to harvest the animal.

But to the Ruperts, who are Washoe and Paiute, it's not just about getting the kill.

"We fast and pray for the animal," Ben said. "We pray over the harvest. We ask the spirit of the animal to continue on, and we give thanks for what it's provided for us."

This year, John used a bow and arrow to shoot a buffalo on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mon.

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"It was really cool," said John, 15. "With a rifle, you can be back around 300 yards. With a bow, you have to get up close. I was about 20 yards away when I got the buffalo. It took about two-and-a-half hours to get that close."

During the hunt, the elders from the local tribe attended and sang traditional songs over the buffalo.

In return, the Ruperts gifted them with the blood and entrails from the buffalo, which will be used to make a blood broth and other traditional dishes.

Ben and John will use the sinew to make backing for bows and bow strings as well as to tie arrowheads and fletchings to the arrows.

They also use the hides to make drums and other traditional artifacts.

John's ultimate goal, he said, is to one day hunt using a bow and arrow he made himself.

"That will be a ways into the future," he said. "I have to build up my confidence and skill."

•••

Dayton silversmith Jon Austin was featured in Parade Magazine's gift guide this year. The magazine compiled unique gifts from each state as a way to celebrate local artisans.

Austin's bolo tie in the shape of the state, available at the Legislative gift shop, was selected as Nevada's featured gift.

See the list at parade.com/526816/parade/made-in-america-gifts-from-each-of-the-50-states/.