Jumping the Buffalo
Long before the arrival of horses to North America, native people hunted bison on foot, stampeding these massive animals over steep cliffs so they would fall to their deaths. This method of hunting was dangerous but the rewards could be enormous. A single jump could feed, clothe, and shelter the people for a whole year. Much planning went into this perilous endeavor.
A cliff or steep slope was needed. Once a cliff was located the people had to prepare the area to make sure the buffalo would arrive. Many methods were used to attract these unpredictable creatures. One method was to use fire. A prairie fire would burn the grasses. Soon after the fire, if there was enough moisture and sunshine, the prairie plants would begin to grow again creating lush green carpets of vegetation. This new growth would attract various species of grazers - one of them being bison. Once the bison arrived the plan to chase them over the cliff could begin.