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Home > Books > Mason > North American Bows, Arrows and Quivers > Plate LIX
Plate LIX
The Dissection of a Sea-Otter Arrow, Cook's Inlet

This is the most elaborate and ingenious arrow known, and all of its parts, in every specimen, are most delicately finished. Such a weapon may well have been used in hunting the most costly of fur-bearing animals-the otter.

The shaft is of spruce, gently tapering toward the nock, which is large and bell shape. Into the end of this shaft is inserted a foreshaft of bone, and into the end of this fits the barb. Feathers, three, symmetrically trimmed and seized at both ends with delicately-twisted sinew thread. The barbed head is perforated, and through these perforations is attached a braided line at least ten feet long. The other end of the line is attached to two points on the shaft by a martingale. When not in use, the line is coiled neatly on the shaft and the barb is put in place in the foreshaft. When the arrow is shot, the barb enters the flesh of the otter, the loose fastening is undone, the line unrolled, the foreshaft drops into the arrow; the shaft acts as a drag and the feathers as a buoy to aid the hunter in tracing the animal. See fig. 4., Pl. LII.

FIG. 1. Arrow with line unrolled showing relation of parts.

FIG. 2. The shaftment. Attention is drawn to the delicate seizing with sinew thread, the natty trimming of the feather, the most efficient nock.

FIG. 3. The lines and knots. Notice is given of the elegance of the braid, the efficient manner of "doing up" the line, the peculiar knot for the martingale.

FIG. 4. The arrow ready to be shot.

This form of arrow with its southern type of sinew-backed bow is found also on the Keniles, where these were taken by Alents, carried over by the Russians to hunt sea otter.

Plate LIX
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