Last Rites---Your Rituals


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HGUNHNTR
October 15, 2010, 09:55 PM
In the current issue of Outoor Life there is an article about rituals performed by hunters around the globe to honor game they had taken. The article has gotten me thinking about my own rituals, although not very formal, after taking game. I typically just give pause and thanks. I also frequently feel reverence for the animal that gave its life to feed myself and my family.

I wish I had a link to the article, but sadly I do not. It is possible you could find the article online.

I did notice that several rituals commonly practiced by American hunters focused more on the hunter and less on the game.

What are your rituals if any, and your opinions?

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JDMorris
October 15, 2010, 10:24 PM
with squirrels? a toss into an open field for Mr. Hawk. he never lets one by.

jbkebert
October 15, 2010, 10:35 PM
Much like yourself I pause and thank the lord for the animal that I had just taken. Most always I feel a little bit bad and a little bit glad for the experience. After that I take as great of care as possible during the feild dressing and butchering of the animal. I have always told myself that if I get to the point where the taking of a animal gives me no feelings of reverance as you said. That is the day I stop hunting.

HGUNHNTR
October 16, 2010, 09:51 AM
I think a lot of it boils down to the respect you have for the animal you have taken. It annoys me when I see people dress up their mounts with ball caps and cigars.

buck460XVR
October 16, 2010, 10:44 AM
with squirrels? a toss into an open field for Mr. Hawk. he never lets one by.

...around here, that is considered wanton waste and is illegal.

I too take the time to thank the Lord for my success and try to show respect for the animal I have just harvested. From my observations, most of those that I see showing no respect for game animals after the shot, have little respect for anything else in life.....whether it be other game animals, game laws or their neighbors property.

jimmyraythomason
October 16, 2010, 10:49 AM
and is illegal.
it isn't illegal here but unless it had bot fly larvae in it I would not waste it.I too take the time to thank the Lord for my success So do I ,at the time of harvest and before I eat it.

Art Eatman
October 16, 2010, 12:27 PM
My ritual? First I grin. Then I do all the field dressing and later the skinning and butchering. All through that, however, is a sort of, "Thankee, Lord," emotion.

It's the following years, every time I look at the horns nailed to the rafters in my garage that I think about a particular hunt, bringing back memories of that day.

In a way, I never quit appreciating the whole package that is hunting.

But, no, no particular ritual at the time. Like I said, to me it's a total package deal, and the kill is just part of it.

cottswald
October 16, 2010, 03:09 PM
Due reverence is good for the soul. Practice it.

Ike R
October 16, 2010, 04:08 PM
I thank God for helping kill the animal cleanly, and If for some reason I didn't have a clean kill, I curse myself for whatever mistake I made...


After that, its a matter of cleaning, cooking, and eating

CoastieShep
October 16, 2010, 04:17 PM
After the shot, I field dress the animal and go on my way. After all, I took the shot, not "god" and I'm pretty sure the animal would rather be alive, than have me thank it for giving it's life (that I took without his permission in the first place) to feed me and mine. I'm happy that I have the animal, and that's all there is. I don't waste any meat if I can help it either.

jimmyraythomason
October 16, 2010, 04:54 PM
CoastieShep,this is a thread asking what YOU do after a successful hunt. Not to ridicule someone else's actions or beliefs.

joshk-k
October 16, 2010, 05:22 PM
I give thanks to Spirit and to the animal that chose to give its life for my sustenance. I might say a small prayer of thanksgiving for a successful hunt and to honor the life that has just ended. Even for a little squirrel.

Josh

Geno
October 16, 2010, 06:19 PM
HGUNHNTR:

Cool thread idea! This will be fun reading for me, because I have no real rituals.

Me? I simply admire the animal and am simply appreciative that I live in a country where I can hunt, own firearms, and share the cultural richness of it all. I also don't think that it is bad or improper for folks to have rituals.

I'll stop back and enjoy some more reading here. Thanks for starting the thread! Great idea!

Geno

Asherdan
October 16, 2010, 06:44 PM
I didn't realize I did it until I had my oldest boy along for the first time and he asked me why I talked to the (dead) deer like one of the horses.

Superstition? Sure. But I still tell the animal what a good looking animal it is and what I'm going to do next. It's pretty much out of appreciation. I tend to think out loud a bit anyways.

dagger dog
October 16, 2010, 07:07 PM
Saying grace over the meal that was provided by the maker is one of the best!

joshk-k
October 16, 2010, 07:43 PM
Does anyone eat any part, like a bite from the heart, raw right then and there? I know folks who do. I know folks who drink some blood and take that animals life-force into their bodies immediately and thankfully.

JOsh

CoastieShep
October 16, 2010, 08:10 PM
CoastieShep,this is a thread asking what YOU do after a successful hunt. Not to ridicule someone else's actions or beliefs

I didn't ridicule, I simply stated what I do and do not do. And this thread asked what people do after the shot. The OP did not ask for people to share their opinions on other people's posts. Thank you.

jimmyraythomason
October 16, 2010, 08:15 PM
After all, I took the shot, not "god" Not ridicule?

CoastieShep
October 16, 2010, 08:59 PM
Do I need to type slower for you Jimmy? If you want I can ridicule, so you can see the difference. Just remember, if you don't like what somebody wrote, scroll on to the next post. It's super easy. Now, please drop it before this thread gets locked and everybody else has to suffer from the lack of this thread because you lacked the ability to move on.

joshk-k
October 16, 2010, 09:05 PM
I think that the tone of your post seemed mocking and made it seem like those who do perform some ritual are superstitious/religious crazies.

"After the shot, I field dress the animal and go on my way" doesn't sound like any sort of ritual. It seems like the response to your post was essentially, "if you don't have anything to add, and are going to make what could could be interpreted as offensive comment, then there's no need to post."

Josh

offroaddiver
October 16, 2010, 09:15 PM
I always check the animal for where my shot landed. I do thank the animal for it meat if I intend to eat it, If it was a pest I (for lack of a better word) console the animal and wish it a fair journey. But then again that's me.

chas08
October 16, 2010, 09:17 PM
Much like yourself I pause and thank the lord for the animal that I had just taken. Most always I feel a little bit bad and a little bit glad for the experience.
DITTO, maybe with an exception to HOGs, then I'm just glad I killed it.

Arkansas Paul
October 16, 2010, 09:37 PM
The only ritual I go through is at the table.

Robert Wilson
October 16, 2010, 11:39 PM
I used to freedive and spearfish, and that crowd tends to get all metaphysical about it. Many of us had a ritual of admiring the "spirit" of the fish and thanking Gaea (or whatever) while cleaning the fish and eating little nibbles of raw flesh. Eventually that sort of thing got to seeming a little silly to me, and these days I prefer my animals cooked and no longer thank anyone but John Nosler. I don't have anything against the folks who invoke their deity of preference, but I'm personally not too sure about it for myself. I get a kind of "Hail Mary, full of grace, help me win this stock-car race" feel about the whole thing...

Robert Wilson
October 16, 2010, 11:41 PM
Oh, and Ruark wrote that it was "proper to cry at the taking of one's first elephant". That sounds pretty reasonable to me...

earlthegoat2
October 17, 2010, 12:36 AM
Thank....whoever.....maybe myself that this deer did not end up dead on the highway I hunt near. That is all deer are to me. They are a threat and a pest.

thomis
October 17, 2010, 09:45 AM
There was an article in Wildlife in North Carolina magazine a couple years ago on this very subject. There were a lot of cool ideas in the article. The one I remember the most is a native American tradition to bury the heart back in the woods at the site of the kill. The idea being that the spirit of the animal stays alive in the woods. I have done this several times since reading the article.

coastie shep-
That comment was just rude and led everyone to believe you are obviously not a believer. Which is fine, for you, but your comment and the way you said it was disrespectful.

stsimons
October 17, 2010, 09:54 AM
I put the plate in the dishwasher...

FLAvalanche
October 17, 2010, 11:06 AM
I put it's picture on Facebook.

EmbarkChief
October 17, 2010, 01:12 PM
I never really thought about this until now, most animals I shoot are in the pest catagory (hogs for example) and the only thanks I give was for God giving me the skills and abilities necessary to accomplish my task. With deer after making sure the animal is down and expired I take a little bit to examine my shot placement, the effect of the bullet and the overall condition of the animal. At that time my heart generally returns to its normal rythm and I take a minute to appreciate everything that has let me up to this moment. I also pause and reflect upon the natural beauty of my surroundings and my good fortune of living and experiencing that day.

countertop
October 17, 2010, 03:57 PM
First, jimmyraythomason, the OP stated:

What are your rituals if any, and your opinions?


Opinions. Sorry, but if his opinion is that your religious reverence is hookie, then he's entitled to it an its on topic based on the original post. FWIW, I didn't see it as mocking, but I guess opinions can vary.

Me, well, I usually am overcome with a bit of emotion about the beast I'm about to put down immediately after I pull the trigger. Then I walk up and enjoy a moment of silence and take in the beauty of earths bounty and say a short prayer to myself on behalf of the deer.

Strangely (for me at least) I don't get the same emotional charge out of killing birds as I do deer. Perhaps that's just the nature of the hunt- pick them up and toss em in the pocket and keep moving on. Never really thought about that till I read this post and drafted my response. Not sure why, but that's a topic probably worthy of further exploration (and its not just a size deal, as I don't feel the same reverence when I shoot a feral hog or a coyote).

courtgreene
October 17, 2010, 07:44 PM
I sit back, replay the shot over and over in my head, and breathe deeply while enjoying the feeling. I never really thought about it before reading all of your posts, but I'm a Christian minister and yet, I don't thank God. As much as I know people will resent this, I actually agree with Costie when he said "I made the shot" (or something like that). I'm not going to pajoritivally say or imply that others are wrong, I just never thought about it like that and probably won't in the future. I'm glad y'all posted because it's good reading. I'm also glad I read it because it made me think of that (above) for the first time. Thinking is good so I thank ALL of you who took the time to post. Because you made me reflect, and reflection is also a good thing.

Robert Wilson
October 17, 2010, 09:13 PM
I don't know if there is a god or not, so take it with a grain of salt, but... I would tend to think that an almighty being would have more important things to do than help you aim your gun (or throw that football, or win that stock car race, etc.) and it seems to me that constantly invoking Him trivializes the relationship.

But as always, what other folks do is not really my business, as long as they're not taking risks with the game animals or my safety.

HGUNHNTR
October 18, 2010, 08:20 AM
Hey Robert, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I think what most people mean when they say they thank God, or any other diety is that they are thankful to be part of the ecosystem. I don't say "thanks" for helping me aim my rifle, but pause to reflect on the complexity of the life I took. In the universe, life as complex as a large mammal is quite rare. For me to harvest that animal I feel that I owe it a debt of reflection.

BTW, any and all opinions are welcome, not just those that are parallel with mine. If you shoot,gut, clean, and eat the animal thats just fine as well.

rbernie
October 18, 2010, 09:19 AM
What are your rituals if any, and your opinions? My only real ritual is to check the entrance and exit holes for shot placement and replay the shot in my head. I also find that I cannot stand over an animal without putting hands on it and admiring its coat. Then, as Art said, it's down to the business of getting the meat.

I don't begrudge anyone their rituals, as long as they don't begrudge me mine (although I'll admit to wincing at the sight of folk that either feel the need to consume some raw element of the animal or who treat it like a Halloween prop).

CoRoMo
October 18, 2010, 10:10 AM
No rituals.

But my reaction to such blessings is to offer up a word of thanksgiving.

stonecoldy
October 18, 2010, 10:45 PM
Our ritual when hunting with good friends up Nort' involve discussing how we worked a plot pushing woodcock and grouse, talking about the how the dogs worked the birds, how tough the hunting was or how many birds there were, all while we're at the trucks dressing birds out. Great comraderie. We had fantastic woodcock shooting last week, ruffed grouse was tougher unfortunately.
Personally I'm more concerned about ending any suffering of game and thankful when it's recovered and sliding into my game bag.

Loyalist Dave
October 19, 2010, 07:56 AM
Much like yourself I pause and thank the lord for the animal that I had just taken.

I do as well.

After all, I took the shot, not god.

Ah but I believe that the shot is available because God places the animal there for the hunter. That's just me. :D

LD

~z
October 19, 2010, 09:57 AM
One commonality of my ‘ritual’ is at the beginning of the hunt when I say a small prayer to keep us all safe during the hunt and to guide our shots straight and true should we get the opportunity.

After that I guess for me it depends on the critter, as countertop said. Small 'eatin’ critters' such as squirrels and birds of any kind don’t get much attention. Varmints and pigs get a brief cussing for their existence followed by a well wishing for their journey to wherever varmints and pigs go after the shot.

Deer and game critters get a bit more of the respect. When I was younger I think I took more reverence, maybe I have become callous. I hope to bring it back full circle when I teach my daughter to hunt.

As others have stated I too take the time to examine the shot placement and do a bit of an autopsy during the cleaning but it is typically down to business with the knife.

The other commonality of my ‘ritual’ is at the end of the hunt when dinner is on the table; I again say a small prayer to keep us all safe and to guide our lives straight and true should we get the opportunity.

I guess in hindsight I bracket the hunt with reverence and get down to the business during the hunt.

~z

Mamertine
October 20, 2010, 10:03 PM
I think what most people mean when they say they thank God, or any other diety is that they are thankful to be part of the ecosystem. I don't say "thanks" for helping me aim my rifle, but pause to reflect on the complexity of the life I took. In the universe, life as complex as a large mammal is quite rare. For me to harvest that animal I feel that I owe it a debt of reflection.

nicely put HGUNHNTR
I also reflect on the beauty of the animal I took and appreceate that I will gain sustenance from the animal.

usmccpl
October 20, 2010, 11:42 PM
I stop and thank the critter for feeding me and my kids. And I thank the weapon used for helping me to put food on my table.

ljnowell
October 21, 2010, 12:21 AM
I always thought it was proper to thank god for the opportunity to harvest his animals. It was God, after all, that put the animals there for me. I always feel a slight amount of sadness at the life that I ended, but thats the way it is. I am a meat eater, and wild animals are meat, so I eat them.

wrs840
October 21, 2010, 12:35 AM
I do the same pre-meal prayer as if I was eating a ChikFil-a sammich. Other than that, it may involve the solemn rituals of lighting a grill and mixing-up some garlic-butter. Did I miss the actual thrust of the question? Sorry. God's animals are God's animals, whether you harvested them or someone else did. I'm not gonna do some extra ritual or dance because I shot a rabbit.

Les

k4swb
October 21, 2010, 05:23 PM
The older I get, it usually goes like this.
Why the crap didn't you fall right where I shot you. Now I have to get help in dragging your sorry butt outta this mess you did fall in. I know it's not really your fault but this little pipsqueak gun is about all I can manage to tote into the woods and I'm not quite as good a shot as I once was. I'll feel better about you once I get what's inside out and what's outside off but right now I just feel like shooting you again.

CoRoMo
October 21, 2010, 06:01 PM
...for being created as an American, where I am free to have this opportunity. For having been given the means. For having been given the ability to walk. Given eyesight to see. Given a career that would allow it. That I didn't die in my sleep last night, or that one time, when I was younger. That I was given the time to put towards it. I say thanks, for a family that gave me an exposure to this. A loving father who indulged his interested son. For giving me the health to participate. Given a safe passage down the highway. For the air in my lungs. For an accident free hunt. For giving me the experiences that developed the hunting knowledge I have been given. For putting me in the right spot at the right time. For keeping me from messing it up. For making it all happen. For making it all possible.

The thanks never end.

CoastieShep
October 21, 2010, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the great laugh K4.

wankerjake
October 21, 2010, 10:59 PM
...for being created as an American, where I am free to have this opportunity. For having been given the means. For having been given the ability to walk. Given eyesight to see. Given a career that would allow it. That I didn't die in my sleep last night, or that one time, when I was younger. That I was given the time to put towards it. I say thanks, for a family that gave me an exposure to this. A loving father who indulged his interested son. For giving me the health to participate. Given a safe passage down the highway. For the air in my lungs. For an accident free hunt. For giving me the experiences that developed the hunting knowledge I have been given. For putting me in the right spot at the right time. For keeping me from messing it up. For making it all happen. For making it all possible.

That about sums it up for me. I used to get more emotional when I was younger, like being sad about taking the life even though it was food etc. Now I'm just appreciative that I am allowed the freedom to take part in the ecosystem and experience for myself the full circle of life, from the forest to the table. A whole lotta folks don't get the opportunity for many different reasons, I'm thankful every year that I am able to participate.

788Ham
October 21, 2010, 11:02 PM
I'll have to side with CoRoMo in his statements, as far as his reflections. As far as eating the raw meat of the heart, and drinking the blood of the dead animal, God tells us not to drink the blood of any of His animals, it is to be a heathen if one does. JMHO Thanks for having this thread on here, its given me time to reflect on my past days of hunting with my family.;)

Uncle Mike
October 21, 2010, 11:32 PM
Oh, and Ruark wrote that it was "proper to cry at the taking of one's first elephant". That sounds pretty reasonable to me...

Yeah, you know how much it's going to cost to mount that thing...that would make anybody cry! hehehehe

And Yeah, I thank GOD for ever creature I kill!

jbkebert
October 24, 2010, 09:00 AM
k4swb you cracked me up with your post. I often times wondered about those guys who shoot goats and sheep in the high mountains on for it to roll off a cliff and fall a thousand feet to be pre tenderized. Hauling that sucker out must be a chore and a half.

Perhaps I am weird or the only one. When my family eats game I look at the package and can identify the animal that we are about to eat. While cooking or grilling and throughout dinner. I can remember with amazing detail almost everything about the hunt. The sights, smells, experiences, the blood trail, every detail about the hunt. Most of the same feelings return and I reflect on a happy time spent in the woods. More so if one of my children were with me or took the shot themselves. I once again give thanks to the animal and the blessing of being part of being a hunter.

Does anyone else have this or is it just me?

schnarrgj
October 24, 2010, 04:56 PM
Yes I do give thanks when I take a deer. First when I get to the animal, I thank it for giving its life for me and my family. Then I thank God for the grace he shown me by giving me the all the things that allow me to hunt. Yes I made the shot, but God gave me the ability and opportunity to hunt.

Big Bill
October 24, 2010, 06:29 PM
I don't laugh out loud and do high fives with my buddies and the camera crew.

Peakbagger46
October 26, 2010, 01:06 AM
As I walk up slowly to the animal everything seems sharper and more acute. Bending down, I touch the hide, give thanks to the Big Chief, and sometimes say a few words to the deer. Then its off to the real ritual, giving the respect to the creature to gut it quickly, get it out of the woods, and keep the meat cool. Butchering and packaging is done carefully to avoid waste.

Sevenfaces
October 26, 2010, 01:11 AM
I haven't been hunting in a while, but I always am thankful for the food I now have. I always try to immediately kill the animal with minimal suffering, and will not hesitate to "finish off" a wounded animal still alive, shock or no shock, suffering is still suffering. I also in the case of deer will keep the heart, and consume it. (I have only ever hunted hogs and deer.)

stevelyn
October 26, 2010, 04:29 AM
No rituals, but I learned that the Athabascans believe that the animals we kill give themselves over to us as food so that we may live. I've come to kinda think in that manner too and I guess it makes a difference on how I approach hunting these days especially when I'm out with them.

THe Dove
October 26, 2010, 06:13 PM
Alot depends on the weather! If I'm cold and hungry I pretty much say to myself "eggzelent",,,,, now lets get this @#$%^&* back to the camp and get on with it. If it's nice weather, early morning and I'm feeling good, I usually re-live the approach and shot in my brain before I ease down from the stand to see if I got the buck or not! This is just for deer. For small game I simply pick it up and tote it home for cooking.

The Dove

Pony Express
October 26, 2010, 06:35 PM
Not a ritual really, I just sit and let the adrenaline run out and reflect on the shot and then pack up and take my catch home. Usually that night I thank God for a great day, and a successful hunt.

HGUNHNTR
October 27, 2010, 06:51 PM
Speaking of letting the adrenaline run out of your body, this is a good time to make sure you have unloaded your gun or at least put the safety back on if you are unsure if the animal is dead. Its essential to remind any youngsters that are with you at this point as well. They will be all excited over the hunt, and thats when accidents happen.

Robert Wilson
October 27, 2010, 09:22 PM
"First when I get to the animal, I thank it for giving its life for me and my family."

"...the Athabascans believe that the animals we kill give themselves over to us as food so that we may live."

Guess I may be lacking in imagination but I'll bet if the animal had a choice he would happily let you starve. ;)

Sevenfaces
November 1, 2010, 02:05 PM
"First when I get to the animal, I thank it for giving its life for me and my family."

"...the Athabascans believe that the animals we kill give themselves over to us as food so that we may live."

Guess I may be lacking in imagination but I'll bet if the animal had a choice he would happily let you starve. ;)
Sure, the animal doesn't just walk up to you and put your barrel in its mouth, but the bottom line is the animal sacrificed itself life so you can sustain yours. That is, to me, a reason to be grateful.

1911 guy
November 7, 2010, 12:14 AM
I begin each hunt with the thought that I and those I am hunting with should stay safe.

I plan for and am grateful for success when (or if) it comes.

I work as hard getting the meat cleaned up and out of the woods as I did getting it on the ground.

I end each hunt with thanks for the good times and success.

Call 'em thoughts, call 'em prayers, whatever floats your boat.

Shadow 7D
November 7, 2010, 12:39 AM
Say thanks and make sure it's a clean death.
I hate to make an animal suffer, better me be a little bloody than it suffer, and I prefer to hang and bleed quickly.

hboy35
November 8, 2010, 02:29 PM
After every deer I have ever killed, I offer up a prayer of thanksgiving. Because I have a personal relationship with Christ, is only natural to recognize where the blessing has come from. The way I see it, If I didn't, it would be like a friend giving me a new pocketknife or something great, and just taking the gift and walking away without saying "thanks" or anything.

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