This last Sunday in November is the time each year that I give thanks for all the animals that still live in our forests as well as mourn those that suffered or died needlessly, especially for the “high” that so many hunters seem to experience when they bring down their kill.
At dusk last night the three month – baiting hounding, trapping – hunting season ended for the Black Bear ( or four month season if you include hounding which allows hunters to “train” their dogs by running the bears to exhaustion and then treeing them – the only thing missing is the actual kill). The bears that survived are now able to enter the dens they dug last fall for an “almost” winter sleep. Bears don’t actually hibernate. In fact the mothers that will be giving birth in January will be sleepy now but will be fully awake and alert as they give birth and care for their cubs…
Deer season also came to a close last night at dusk (except for hunting with a musket and I don’t know of anyone around here that uses this method to kill a deer). Every year when the season ends I put out horse grain for those White -Tails that live around here. Last night I spread the grain on a board calling the deer in…Sure enough, they must have been listening because the board was clean this morning. I like knowing that the deer are aware that food will be available here all winter.
Although, some like the grouse, quail, snowshoe rabbits, and coyotes will continue to be hunted this moment of “thanks -giving” re-aligns me with the soul and spirit of Nature even in the aftermath or in the continuing round of death and dying – or at least this is what I hope.
Postscript: The picture of the doe was taken today (11/29) at 4:15 PM as she finished off the grain.