The longhunters of the classic era, from the early 1760's to the 1770's, were professional hide hunters who would routinely embark on grand hunts that would sometimes last for over a year. They were commonly employed as market hunters who sought the red deer skins of the summer and early autumn, meat, and tallow to furnish to the settlement traders. These men would roam wherever they pleased, reaping the rewards from the bounty of the forest. They were perhaps the freest and most enduring of any other eastern American frontier character.
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Chasseurs du Datchurat (Hunters of Datchurat) is a group of historical reenactors that recreates the lives of the longhunters of the Illinois country and Spanish Louisiana from the middle 1760's to the middle 1770's.
During this time period, Jean Datchurat, a wealthy merchant and influential trader in the French town of Ste. Genevieve, in Spanish Louisiana, employed a group of chasseurs (hunters). These men of varied backgrounds and lineage, worked as hunting and trapping parties throughout the Mississippi valley, Aux Arcs, the lower Missouri, and lower Ohio valleys.
To give a better representation at historical reenactments, we spend the majority of our time in this hobby, practicing our 18th century skills in the woods. We hone these woodsman skills by going on hunts and scouts, on foot, horseback, and by bateaux, outfitted exactly as the original longhunters. These historical rambles are where we partake in what is known as experimental archaeology. Or, where we subject ourselves to many of the same difficulties and situations that the original longhunters encountered and try to uncover lost methods that may help us to learn to cope as our fore fathers would have with their limited equipage.
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