or Fence Narrows, was once bustling with activity, as Dogrib hunters herded
large numbers of caribou along fences, often miles long. Built on lake ice in
March and April during the northward migration of the Bathurst caribou herd,
these fences were instrumental in harvesting enough caribou for the band to
eat through the spring and summer.
Success in building and using a caribou fence required the cooperation of several
families. Spruce trees were cut and placed in the ice approximately ten to fifteen
metres apart, with sticks and ribbons in between, forming a line or fence that
mimicked the lake shoreline. While the fence directed the caribou, the movement
of ribbons blowing in the wind, and the sound of baying wolves, drove them,
creating an efficient entrapment device. Snares were typically set in openings
in the fence, or near the end of the line. An ambush location was situated near
the end of the fence, where the awaiting hunters could harvest the greatest
number of caribou.