Men frequently go hunting in the company of their brother-in-law. Preferably, the hunter who kills an animal never touches it, carries it nor boasts about the kill, lest he lose his eagle spirit and acquire the vulture's carrion-eating habits. He lets his brother-in-law carry the woolly monkey back to the village, ensuring that life-sustaining meat is shared.

Cesar makes no comment, barely looks at his prey. His brother-in-law removes the arrow, returns it to its owner, and rips a few thin vines off a nearby tree for binding the monkey into a bundle. He carries the burden while Cesar leads the way back home.


Machiguenga hunters like Cesar living in the Manu National Park learn to craft and shoot their own bows and arrows when they are scarcely old enough to walk.

From tiny toy contraptions used for impaling butterflies and frogs from the age of three on, a Machiguenga boy at about ten years old graduates to a half-size palm wood bow for hunting small birds, accompanying his father and uncles on hunting trips for larger animals. By sixteen, the boy is a man, and has acquired the skills and physical stamina required to hunt game animals, especially monkeys, peccaries, tapir and agoutis as well as a large variety of game birds.

Since infancy, young boys practice with tiny toy bows hunting butterflies, beetles and lizards.

By the age of seven or eight, boys already know how to make their own palm wood bows and reed arrows.

A boy practices hunting small birds and green papayas in the garden.
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