Before the arrival of European firearms, hunting caribou required a great deal
of skill and hard work. Several techniques were used and entire communities
were often involved.
Hunting styles changed with the seasons and the caribou's migration patterns.
In the spring, when the barren-ground caribou moved westward through the wooded
areas between Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes, Dene hunters set snares and
built drift fences to entrap them. The spear and the bow and arrow were used
to bring the animals down. For very large numbers of caribou, a fence such as
the one built at Fence Narrows might be used.
In the fall and winter, Dene hunters often simply stalked individual caribou,
when deep snow hindered the caribou's speed. Again, spears and bows and arrows
were used to hunt the animals. With the arrival of European explorers and fur
traders came firearms and ammunition, items which would make hunting caribou
far easier for the Dene.