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Hunting – an integral part of the traditional Mentawai lifestyle sees the hand crafted bow and arrow as the most commonly used method for fatally wounding their prey. So how could a handmade arrow possibly stop a rampaging wild boar? Well, by gathering a selected mixture of flora from the nearby jungle, the huntsmen are able to extract a poisonous liquid which is then pasted onto the tips of the hunting weapons – as pictured here with a Mentawai Sikerei, or shaman – and once penetrated into the bloodstream of the boar, deer, or monkey, the result is death within 5 minutes. Suffice to say this is a rather dangerous piece of equipment, as are the hunting expeditions. In fact, there were numerous occasions during my stay where young men fell victim to the sharp tusks of an angry boar. Despite their perceived plump and lazy appearance, they run, and incredibly fast.


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