keeping tracks

IMG_2094This 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.

7 thoughts on “keeping tracks

  1. The animals in your neighbourhood must know (telepathically, let’s say) that you are keeping track of them, both those who are killed and those who live on. It’s got to help them want to stay alive. People let themselves go when no one notices or cares whether they live or die, so why wouldn’t it be the same with the other animals?


  2. Telepathy must account for the ongoing communication between the animals and birds and me – there is simply no other rational explanation for the consistency of these experiences – but I don’t know that it keeps them alive. This is a new idea for me. It may help – I’d sure like to think so. I also think of the Indigenous idea that there is a contract made between predator and prey that allows for the death of an animal to occur. I wonder how this might work with respect to hunting around here. One respectful life long hunter who was a friend of mine, and who also fed the deer during the winter, had an unusual experience the night of the winter solstice. The deer left him a perfect pair of antlers at their feeding place. This man died two years later on the night of the winter solstice… (and inexplicably an antler that this man had given me toppled over as I was in the middle of my winter solstice ritual that same night…) Perhaps some hunters still do have intimate relationships with the animals they also kill allowing for the “contract” to be made with or without conscious awareness on the hunter’s part…Thanks for this thought provoking reply Harriet.


  3. Exquisite poignant post… And I liked the above dialogue you had with a commenter about indigenous hunters and the contract between predator and prey — I view it has a covenant more than a contract, as it is sacred, and I also believe that the prey (as more-than-human, as David Abram puts it), when agreeing to this covenant, are then able to release their souls without suffering.


    1. I like the word covenant much better than contract – you’re right, the latter word expresses the sacred aspect of predator -prey relationships. I would like to believe that this covenant does alleviate suffering.


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