In my research on the CoronaVirus I discovered some very interesting connections between the Virus, the Pangolin and THE HUNT.   If you have not seen that article, I suggest you look at it before you continue.  You can find it HERE:


The information that I found left me curious and wanting to learn more.  The Lord lead me down a deep hole.  I found so much information I could not possibly address it in one article. SO, sadly, this has to be a series.  I know it is hard to get people to stay with a series and complete it.  I hope you will not  drop off before the end.  I apologize for the time it will consume, but the information is worth the investment. 

Just for the record, rather than write what I believe, which really means nothing to you.   I prefer to post a collection of items that reveal and/or support what I believe.  It is better that you see it from multiple sources and documented.  Seeing is believing so I like to provide visuals as much as possible, including videos.  I appreciate the hard work that my sources have put into their presentations and I pray that you will visit their sites and support them, if you can. I always provide links.  It is my desire to present enough information to lead you to THE TRUTH.  

You may wonder why you would need to know all this stuff.  Believe me it is very relevant to what is happening in our world today.  The more you know, the better prepared you will be.  God’s Word says that in the last days, men’s hearts will fail them for FEAR of what is coming on the EARTH.  I believe that is because they are caught unaware.  But, God’s Word says that those who belong to Him should not be UNAWARE… Because He never does anything without first revealing it to his prophets.  Now, I am certainly not a prophet of GOD.  But, I am a witness!  And HE speaks to me.  I am sharing with you, what I hear from HIM.  You do with it what you like.  I suggest you to go to HIM and HEAR for yourself.  

Anyway… here is where I was lead and what I learned.

Please make note of the etymology of the word HUNT and meaning of the root terms.

Etymology of the word HUNT

The word hunt serves as both a noun (“to be on a hunt”) and a verb. The noun has been dated to the early 12th century,act of chasing game,” from the verb huntOld English had huntunghuntoþ. The meaning of “a body of persons associated for the purpose of hunting with a pack of hounds” is first recorded in the 1570s. Meaning “the act of searching for someone or something” is from about 1600.

The verb, Old English huntian “to chase game” (transitive and intransitive), perhaps developed from hunta “hunter,” is related to hentan “to seize,” from Proto-Germanic huntojan (the source also of Gothic  hinþan “to seize, capture,” Old High German  hunda “booty“), which is of uncertain origin. The general sense of “search diligently” (for anything) is first recorded c. 1200.[18]


To help us to rightly understand and discern the nature of the hunting practices and rituals we need to have a better understand of RELIGION.  So, let us get a clear definition of what constitutes Religion/Religious practices.



Religionhuman beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence. It is also commonly regarded as consisting of the way people deal with ultimate concerns about their lives and their fate after death. In many traditions, this relation and these concerns are expressed in terms of one’s relationship with or attitude toward gods or spirits; in more humanistic or naturalistic forms of religion, they are expressed in terms of one’s relationship with or attitudes toward the broader human community or the natural world. In many religions, texts are deemed to have scriptural status, and people are esteemed to be invested with spiritual or moral authority. Believers and worshippers participate in and are often enjoined to perform devotional or contemplative practices such as prayermeditation, or particular rituals. Worship, moral conduct, right belief, and participation in religious institutions are among the constituent elements of the religious life.


Let us do the same with RITUAL.


Rituals: Definition, Types & Challenges

Now we will delve into the some of the various Rituals related to “The HUNT”.  

Hunting and Cultivation Rituals

Pp. 83-94 (12) / John Alan Cohan/ Abstract

Primitive cultures have a striking relationship with animals, and remarkable rituals associated with hunting. Animals not only provide meat, but also hides and fur, and bones for fashioning into artifacts and ceremonial objects. Two broad areas of hunting rituals are one pertaining to “bribing” or coaxing animals to present themselves to the hunters; and the other involves appeasing the spirits of the animals once they have been slain. When animals are hunted, they are usually treated in a distinctive, reverent manner, partly to propitiate the ghosts of the animals, so as not to be harmed by them. Many cultures also show great respect to plants grown for food: In Papua New Guinea, for example, yams, a major food staple, are carefully attended to, and people talk to a yam as if it were human. The practice of reciting magical spells on traps, in order to attract game, is practiced in many cultures. In numerous cultures, ceremonies take place in preparation for the whaling season, including ceremonial launching of the boats, singing of whaling songs, donning of new clothes, and performing a ritual of “spearing” the woman whom they designated to represent a whale. Bears seem to be more venerated than any other hunted animal in the world. Elaborate ceremonies surround bear hunting. Bears have high intelligence, they walk in a human-like manner, they sit down against a tree with their paws, like arms, at their sides and perhaps one leg drawn up under their body. They exhibit a wide range of emotions that are very humanlike. The Nivkh people celebrate the Bear Festival, which involves a ritual sacrifice of a bear to was to commemorate deceased ancestors, or on special occasions. In the disposal of the bear’s remains, there is great respect accorded the bones, which are ceremoniously and carefully buried intact in proper position. The Motu in Papua New Guinea treat tuna with great reverence, and have elaborate preparations for the fishing season, including fasting, ritual bathing, singing, and dancing. They bless the fish before killing them. If a tuna is accidentally knocked against the side of the canoe, the fisherman must go down on his knees and kiss the fish; otherwise no more will enter the nets that day. Cattle and other livestock are treated with reverence in India, Northeast Africa, and other regions. Native Americans in the North Pacific have revitalized the First Salmon Ceremony, an aboriginal “first fruits” ritual, involving elaborate preparation and ceremonies to welcome the salmon. Protocols carefully prescribe the manner of fishing, cooking, eating, and disposal of fish bones. Reindeer breeders in Siberia practice a communal reindeer sacrifice in order to insure food, happiness, health and prosperity.

Affiliation: Western State Law School USA



From the legend of St. Hubertus, patron saint of hunters: “wildlife must not be just hunted, but equally important is the conservation and understanding of the importance of wildlife in nature and based on this, the restraint of one’s passion.”

I am hunter. I grew up in a hunting family. Most of my childhood was spent in the forest with my grandfather and father, the most important people in my life as a hunter. They taught me how to behave in nature and respect wildlife, and how important old hunting traditions are for us all.

How did hunting and associated traditions develop in Europe? The community of hunters in most European countries consider hunting not only a hobby, but also a lifestyle and mission. For most of them, it is not just about the joy of the quarry, the kill, or the trophies; it is about the honor of being hunters. It is an honor to belong to a group of people associated with nature and its resources. Is there a simple answer to the question “Does hunting make us human”? No, but the answer can be found in European hunting traditions and in the way of life that hunters lead.

Hunters in Europe and around the world struggle daily with the media and especially with many non-hunters, particularly about whether their hobby and style of obtaining food is ethically and socially acceptable. So, what is more human: a) hunting deer in the woods in such a way that it does not feel threatened before the shot is fired, or b) breeding animals solely for meat and in often appalling conditions? This is a question that we hunters are asked on a daily basis by those who claim to be guardians of nature and of animals. Many of them have no idea what the role of hunters is in the forest and what tasks they need to carry out in hunting areas throughout the year in order to be hunters. It is mostly hunters who call for the protection of endangered species, and equally it is often they who deserve credit for wildlife conservation.

Slovakia wilderness

An example of this is in my home country, Slovakia, where, after two world wars the state of wildlife was alarming. At that time, there were no conservationists, and the credit for the increasing game populations went to the hunters, who were already a well-organized group. Thanks to their excellent monitoring and sustainable wildlife management, it was possible for hunters to stop the decrease in game populations and, in fact, to increase their numbers.

Urbanization puts a great deal of pressure on the whole area of Central Europe. Wildlife here is under constant stress from increasing human populations and expanding industries and infrastructures. Throughout the area, there are only a few small patches of untouched nature. Today, therefore, the sustainable management of hunting is so important, and the respect for hunting traditions provides a bond between hunters and the landscape. This bond is preserved through the rituals and traditions associated with hunting.

The preservation of old hunting traditions

starts with what is known as the “communion.”This communion is the first of all hunters’ moral and ethical promises to behave, with utmost respect, towards wildlife and nature. The basis of European hunting traditions and rituals is the respect towards wildlife and to the game that is caught. This “respect” is an important part of the hunter’s life throughout the year, not just during the hunting season. Hunters manifest this respect in many places and manners: in nature, in the forest, through hunting, on social occasions, and also in their personal life. The sustainable use of wildlife and sustainable hunting management take place in the majority of European countries. Deer in the wild feel the stress of civilization. Hunters in Europe are amongst those best able to alleviate the pressures that are placed on wildlife. The reward for hunters is the opportunity to spend time in nature and to hunt. In turn, hunters also show the proper respect for wild game.

Slovakian Hunters blowing a traditional hunting horn

The clothing worn by European hunters when out hunting is also important. Even clothes used for working in nature are always green. For driven hunts, hunters are often dressed in uniform, and it is considered impolite to come wearing dirty boots or to be late. Driven hunts provide an opportunity for friendly gatherings, with all activities being announced by horn blowers and other hunting signals.After a hunt, whether an individual or driven hunt, hunters pay their respects to the game taken. During the closing ceremony—the game bag—the game is laid down, with its right side facing the ground, in a rectangle defined by pine branches. There are fires at each of the four corners. With this presentation, hunters say goodbye to the game and show their appreciation for nature. Each downed animal has a small branch most often from a pine tree, in its mouth representing its last bite.When taking the game from the place where it was caught, the hunters point the animal’s head toward the natural area so that for the last time it can look at the place where it lived.

Hunters circled around their prey counting their game bag.

Women play a very important role in European hunting nowadays. In the past, women participated mainly in the activities that followed the hunt. In the countries of former Austro–Hungary, women participated in the social activities of hunting. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, hunting in Europe underwent a final development, and so-called “exclusive hunting” was transformed into a professional activity focused on breeding and the quality and comprehensive care for game animals.

Today, as more and more women work in positions and choose hobbies that were previously dominated by men, the number of active female hunters is constantly growing. In Austria, for example, there are more than 11,000 registered female hunters. Hunting is traditionally widespread in rural areas, and women in Austria increasingly hunt and participate in public hunting life. The number of registered huntresses in Eastern European countries is also increasing annually, although their activities are connected to events organized mainly by men. The Nordic countries, too, are well known for their high numbers of hunters per capita. For example, there are more than 15,000 registered woman hunters in Sweden.

Hunters standing in front of a line of wild boars they shot

Women also occupy an important place in falconry and hunting cynology, faring well in competitions and serving as judges of various dog events and field shows.

In addition, women are active in many areas related to hunting: education, work with children and with youth, shooting, and fashion. In the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, women regularly organize workshops—to which both men and women are invited—focused on processing and cooking wild game. They exchange recipes and host culinary competitions. Women help convey the elegance of hunting and inspire men to take greater care of their garments and uniforms. Some young women become hunters even without any such family tradition, often thanks to their partners.

When speaking about hunting traditions, one of the most important sustainable hunting organizations, which has its headquarters in Europe, is the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). The CIC is a politically independent advisory body that aims to preserve wildlife through sustainable hunting. The CIC advocates for the sustainable use of wildlife resources and promotes, on global scale, sustainable hunting as a tool for conservation, while building on valued traditions.


When the Normans brought the forest law to England, they ruptured centuries-old continuity in hunting culture. Never before had the right to hunt been monopolized on such a scale, nor had the arts of hunting borne such an air of strict elitism. In the hunting reserves that kings later condescended to charter to their subjects, the English cultivated a particular vocabulary and style of hunting, adding it to the canon of performative skills which contributed to chivalric identity. The reading of animal tracks had always made the function of literacy in the hunt overt; now jargon and refinements in the art of slaughter gave nuance to the hunt’s social literacy and lent it to elaborate adaptation. 


Forest laws in England and Normandy in the twelfth century

First published:01 July 2013

One of the oldest ideas about the Norman conquest is that William the Conqueror introduced into England from Normandy the legal concept of ‘foresta’, land where hunting and the environment in which it took place were protected by draconian laws. The laws were not imposed on a blank canvas, and a combination of different factors, such as earlier extensive royal hunting rights, the king’s will, the application of forest law to land ‘outside’ that organized in manors and assessed for geld, and the status of escheated land as temporary royal demesne, all worked towards a great expansion of the afforested area. In England a great deal of non‐royal demesne was under forest law, whereas in Normandy ducal forests were broadly speaking ducal demesne. In England the competing interests of royal sport and revenue and those of the political elite combined with population pressure to make the forests a toxic political issue in a way not paralleled in Normandy.

The Wild Hunt

Updated January 14, 2017
  • Huntsmen in a boat
    Huntsmen in a boat
  • The wild hunt
    The wild hunt
  • Hot in pursuit of fortune
    Hot in pursuit of fortune
You don’t want to be outside when the ghostly procession of the Wild Hunt surges passed. You may be sucked into their dark frenzy, with or without your body along for the ride!

What Is the Wild Hunt?

Across Central, Western and Northern Europe, the Wild Hunt is a well-known folk myth of a ghostly leader and his group of hunters and hounds flying through the cold night sky, accompanied by the sounds of the howling wind. The supernatural hunters are recounted as either the dead, elves, or in some instances, fairies. In the Northern tradition, the Wild Hunt was synonymous with great winter storms or changes of season.


The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, one of the oldest sources of Anglo-Saxon history, first mention the Wild Hunt in 1127 AD. In 1673, Johannes Scheffer, in his book Lapponia, recounts stories by the Laplanders or Sami people of the Wild Hunt. (Belgium) Author Hélène Adeline Guerber wrote of Odin and his steed, Sleipnir, in her 1895 works, Myths of the Northern Lands. She tells her readers of the souls of the dead being carried off on the stormy winds of the hunt.

The concept was popularized by author and mythologist Jacob Grimm in 1835 in his works Deutsche Mythologie. In his version of the story he mixed folklore with textual evidence from the Medieval up to the Early Modern period. Many criticized his methods, which emphasized the dynamic nature of folklore. He believed the myth to have pre-Christian roots and its leader to allegedly be based on the legends of Odin, on the darker side of his character. He also thought the leader of the hunt may have been a woman, perhaps a heathen goddess named Berchta or Holda. He believed the female may also have been Odin’s wife.

The Legend

The hunt was said to pass through the forests in the coldest, stormiest time of the year. Anyone found outdoors at the time would be swept up into the hunting party involuntarily and dropped miles from their original location. Practitioners of magic may have sought to join the berserkers in spirit, while their bodies remained safely at home. Grimm postulated the story inevitably changed from pre-Christian to more modern times. The myth originally began as a hunt led by a god and goddess visiting the land during a holy holiday, bringing blessings, and accepting offerings from people. They could be heard by the people in the howling winds, but later became known as a pack of ghouls with malicious intent.

The Leader of the Hunt

The numerous variations of the legend mention different leaders of the hunting party. In Germany the leader is known by various names, for instance, Holt, Holle, Berta, Foste or Heme. Yet one figure frequently appears in the majority of versions: Odin (also called Woden). Odin is known by two particular names which relate to the time of year the Wild Hunt was alleged to occur, Jólnir and Jauloherra. Both of these roughly mean Master of Yule, a festival celebrating the change of the seasons.

The legend of the hunt has been adapted over the years and, depending also on the geographical location, the leader of the hunt along with it. In the middle ages, with heathen deities becoming a thing of the past, the hero of the story became characters such as: Charlemagne, King Arthur or Frederick Barbarossa (the Holy Roman Emperor in the 12th century).

In the 16th century, Hans von Hackelnberg was said to lead the Wild Hunt. The story recounts him slaying a boar, accidently piercing his foot on the boar’s tusk and poisoning himself. The wound was fatal and, upon his death, von Hackelnberg declared he didn’t want to go to heaven, but instead continue with his treasured avocation – hunting. He was then forced to do this for an eternity in the night sky, or, as recounted in alternate versions, condemned to lead the Wild Hunt. Sources cite his name as possibly being a corruption of an epithet of Odin’s name.

In Wales, a variation of the story exists purporting the leader to be Gwynn ap Nudd or Lord of the Dead. In this version, the Lord of the Dead is followed by a pack of hounds with blood-red ears. In England, the same white hounds with red ears appear in legends. They were called the Gabriel hounds and said to portend doom if you saw them. Herne the Hunter, or Herlathing, is alleged to be the hunt’s leader in Southern England and possibly connected to the mythical king Herla. The Orkney Island tradition speaks of fairies or ghosts coming out at night and galloping on white horses. In Northern France, Mesnée d’Hellequin, the Goddess of Death, was said to lead the ghostly procession.

Regional Versions

Clerics in 12th century Britain reportedly witnessed the Wild Hunt. They claimed there were 20 to 30 hunters in the party and the hunt continued for nine weeks. The earlier reports available of the Wild Hunt generally represented the participants as diabolical, whereas, in later medieval retellings, the hunters became fairies instead. The legend’s origin, some believe, may be related to the Dandy Dogs. In the tale, Dando wanted a drink of water, cursed his huntsman for not having any and was then offered water by a stranger. The stranger stole Dando’s game and Dando himself, causing his dogs to give chase. Another version focuses on King Herla who had just visited the Fairy King. The king was told not to dismount his horse until the greyhound he carried had jumped down first. Three centuries passed and his men continued to ride as the dog had not jumped down yet.

In Germany, the hunter is sometimes associated with a devil or dragon and rides a horse, accompanied by numerous hounds. The prey, if mentioned, is usually a young woman who is either innocent, or guilty of some crime. Often the tail recounts someone encountering the hunt. If they oppose or stand up to the evil horde they are punished, but if they aid the hunters they are rewarded, customarily with money or the leg of a slain animal. Unfortunately, if they receive the latter, it is usually cursed and impossible to get rid of without the aid of a magician or priest. The tales also mention that someone standing in the middle of the road is somehow safe from the hunting procession.

The Wild Hunt was not seen – only heard – in Scandinavian versions of the myth. Typically the barking of Odin’s dogs, as well as the forest growing deathly silent, warned people of their imminent arrival. The hunt commonly signified a change in seasons or the onset of war in their folklore.

In Scotland, the Wild Hunt is closely linked to the fairy world in some sources. Evil fairies, or fey, were said to be cast from the Sluagh or Unseelie Court, the noble fairy court. The Sluagh allegedly flew in from the west in order to capture dying souls, resulting in people in Scotland, up until the 20th century even, closing windows and doors on the west side of their houses when they had a sick person inside! Similarly, The Orkney Islands were said to be home to trows, or trolls. The creatures supposedly hated the sunlight and tried to catch and eat mortals, unless the humans were lucky enough to escape by crossing over a stream!

In Modern Paganism

In modern Pagan tradition, practitioners incorporate the concept of the Wild Hunt in their rituals. In the late 1990s, anthropologist Susan Greenwood witnessed such a ritual. She reported the Pagans used the myth in order to lose themselves, as well as confront and restore harmony with the wild, dark side of nature. According to the Handbook of Contemporary Paganism, the hunt embraces the participation with souls, the dead and animals, as well as the ritualized circle of life and death.

Folklore sought to bring understanding to what was unexplainable at the time, often through the personification of concepts. In today’s world, we have science and technology to demystify any concepts which haven’t been categorized, cataloged, or clarified. Thankfully, we have not unlocked every puzzle in the universe yet, and with recent technological advancements, may yet go where no man has gone before!


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reverence  in British English – (ˈrɛvərəns  ) – NOUN

1. feeling or attitude of profound respect, usually reserved for the sacred or divinedevoted veneration
2. an outward manifestation of this feeling, esp a bow or act of obeisance
3. the state of being revered or commanding profound respect


5. (transitive)

to revere or venerate
‘the many divine beings reverenced by Hindu tradition’

venerate – transitive verb


to look upon with feelings of deep respect; regard as venerable; revere

Origin of venerate

from Classical Latin veneratus, past participle of venerari, to worship, reverence from venus (gen. veneris), love: see Venus


Hunting’s post-kill rituals aren’t spontaneous gestures like high-fives or war-whoops, but perhaps that’s where they began.

Maybe those instinctive, visceral celebrations evolved as ancient hunters and their tribes considered what they gained at the animal’s expense. From there, things got complicated as time and culture took hunters’ thoughts and hunting’s utilitarian tasks, and shaped them into formal tributes to the animal’s life and the meat it provided.

That process created ceremonies—large and small, personal and communal—to instill and sustain ancient reverence. Maybe that’s why post-kill hollering, laughing and chest-thumping can appear disrespectful to others. Ignoring post-kill tributes—even those silent and subtle—suggests we’ve forgotten the old ways, never took time to learn them, or never knew of them in the first place.

Either way, today’s post-kill rituals are rooted in history and traditions, and mostly of European or Native American origins. The Germans, for instance, prayed to St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters. They built forest chapels on their hunting lands and made worship mandatory. American Indians, meanwhile, have long dropped pinches of tobacco onto the animal’s body to offer respect, believing that tobacco—crumbled or smoked—connects them to the spirit world.

Many hunters still practice post-kill rituals, borrowing from history, other cultures and their own imaginations to honor the fact that life requires death, which warrants respect. With that in mind, here are some post-kill rituals you might recognize.

Blooding: This common ritual varies widely, but usually involves a parent or the camp’s senior member taking blood from a hunter’s first kill and applying it to his or her face. Some elders carefully streak the hunter’s cheeks with a blooded finger, while others hastily smear blood all over the hunter’s face.

This rite traces back to the 700s A.D. as a tribute to St. Hubert. To receive the patron saint’s blessing for the kill, the group placed a knife in the animal’s fatal wound to coat it in blood. One of them then used the knife to gently apply red crucifixes on the hunter’s forehead and both cheeks. The hunter then accepted everyone’s congratulations.  (This is the red cross of the Templar’s another pagan group)

Joe Hamilton, director of development for the Quality Deer Management Association, recalls a similar ritual from his younger days. In this case, an older hunter explained the symbolism while applying blood: The streak down the first-timer’s nose honored the quarry’s sense of smell; a second streak over one eye honored the quarry’s sense of sight; a final streak over the other eye honored the hunter’s accomplishment. “They honored the hunter for being quiet, patient and stealthy to overcome the animal’s natural defenses,” Hamilton explains.

Horn Blowing: Houndsmen hunting deer often blew horns to communicate with the dogs and each other. To make the sounds, they used everything from a bull’s actual horn sheath, to horns or bugles made of brass or pewter. Today many huntmasters in Europe still blow horns to communicate to their charges. Some American hunters do, too. Regardless where it’s blown, the sound of a horn reverberating through a hardwoods swamp or a deep forest can make the hair on hunters’ arms stand up.

The Last Bite: The “letzebissen” or “letzer bissen” is practiced in Austria, Holland and Germany, and by some Americans. Valerius Geist, 78, of British Columbia, is a retired zoology professor and hunting authority who was raised in Germany and Austria. Geist says Germans break (never cut) a twig from one of five tree species in descending preference: oak, pine, spruce, fir and alder. With the animal placed on its right side, they pull the broken twig through its mouth from one side to the other and leave it clamped between its jaws.

Eating Raw Liver: Al Hofacker, founding editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine, recalls hunters in 1960s-era deer camps in northeastern Wisconsin that brought the liver of their first kill back to camp each year.At night they’d slice small pieces of the raw liver and each eat a piece,” he says.

Slitting the Throat: Hofacker also recalls a once-routine practice he could never explain. “Decades ago it was common to slit the deer’s throat before field-dressing it,” he says. “It never made sense because the heart has stopped beating, but they thought they were ‘bleeding it out.’ That’s pretty much gone now.”

Meat, Skulls, Shoulder Mounts: Long after the kill, hunters continue honoring their quarry by cherishing and consuming its meat, and displaying its skull or full-shoulder taxidermy mount. Such honors, however, are easily tarnished. “You should never desecrate head mounts by placing cigarettes in the mouths, sunglasses over the eyes, or hats or Santa Claus caps on their heads,” Geist says. “You also don’t sit on the animal’s body after you’ve killed it. That dishonors the creature.”

This is obviously an incomplete list, but perhaps it reminds us that honoring our quarry is largely a matter of the heart. And that, Geist says, should focus on the kill itself.

“Rituals aren’t a bad idea; I see their value,” Geist says. “But you show the utmost respect by concentrating on killing the animal quickly. Hunters’ conduct toward wildlife and nature should be consistent with their conduct toward other humans.


Baretta Tribe Insight

story to tell


Hunting is made of a series of rituals. Buying or being given your own hunting gun is the first one. Other Rituals begin even before the moment of the hunt itself. It starts the day before, when a man prepares his gun, when his dog starts to sense what lies ahead, when both begin to feel the excitement and tension building in their muscles; anticipation revealed in the growing charge of adrenaline filling their bodies, in the hitching of their breath. 

After months of waiting, finally another adventure commences. This is the ritual of harvesting the chosen animal, then cleaning and preparing it with respect. The final ritual revolves around the company of friends – before, during, and after the hunt. These are shared moments full of storytelling and toasting to the day spent together. 





The beauty of hunting is that it stimulates your senses. Each time you’re out on the hunt, deep in the woods, chasing the tracks of a wild animal, you are constantly refining your senses as a hunter. With every hunt, with every animal targeted and taken, you evolve as a hunter. 

When the day comes in which you realize that you’ve reached the same level of the wild creature before you, and you’re able to win the match of sensibilities, strength, and resilience, the feeling is indescribable. The excitement is constant, because you never know when and where it will happen exactly; it’s as if the moment itself is suspended in time, composed of a myriad of sensations, some everlasting, others ephemeral, and always leaving behind sparks to set ablaze the flame for the next match between you and the wild..



Hunting is a human instinct. When you go hunting, you are in competition with the animal. It’s not a matter of simply sensing the right moment or searching the right place – you have to foresee, forecast, and predict; you have to be prepared. Every one of your senses is amplified.    

Hunting Traditions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Doug Howlett – June 06, 2016

With hunting being such a long-standing, time-honored tradition in this country and around the world, it only stands to reason that over time, a number of practices or “traditions within the tradition” have developed among regions, cultures and particularly among individual groups of hunters.


Some are serious and revered, while others are, well, just plain strange to the uninitiated. Here’s a short list of traditions that run the spectrum of good, bad and just plain ugly.

— The Good —


As in many aspects of life, prayer figures prominently in the hunt where sportsmen of faith — though often varying degrees of practicing it — can all agree that the time outdoors we enjoy, the friendships forged through a common love of hunting and nature, and particularly, the game we take are all blessed events that reflect the Lord’s grace.

As such, as soon as the game has hit the ground, there are many hunters who, before any game is moved or even tagged, will kneel or bow before the fallen creature and recite a prayer, honoring the animal with both blessings and remembrance.

In the Southeast, where the deer hunting with hounds culture still reigns in shrinking rural pockets as it has since colonial times, a tradition that is also dying with the rush of modern culture is the “holding of court” at the end of the day when organized hunts are held.

Growing up hunting at the former United Hunt Club in Southampton County, Va., I have fond memories as a boy standing among the men in the freezing night air and gathered around the open skinning shed as court came into session. In all my years there, I only remember two different men serving as judge and they would open court allowing any hunter who had missed a deer that day to throw himself on the mercy of the court.

Few did as the banter that ensued was much more entertaining for everyone when an accused attempted to deny that he had missed and blame the shots on somebody else. Ultimately, those found guilty of missing often had to pay a fine by having their shirt tail cut — typically an inch for each fired shot — though on rare occasions, the hijinks got so animated that I saw the hat brims removed, entire shirts slashed, and once, a removed boot chopped by a meat cleaver!

This tradition played out through varying degrees throughout the South and underscored the social nature of this type of club hunting. Even though the old clubhouse sits largely unused these days, shirt tails, many more than 40 years old, still blow in the breeze beneath that skinning shed roof.

Lighting the Fire

Missouri outdoor writer Tony Kalna Jr. grew up hunting the Ozarks with his dad, grandfather and uncle, and they would pitch deer or turkey camp, depending on the season, and hunt for a whole week every year.

While in camp, they would use pine wood collected from old stumps that remained from past forest fires or had become almost petrified and formed fast burning lightered wood to always start their fire in camp. In 1983, family members bought a farm closer to where they lived and quit hunting the mountains shortly after. But on their final hunt, a turkey hunt, Tony and one of his relatives hauled one of these huge pine stumps out of the woods and back to their farm.

Every year since, they have chopped a small piece of wood from the stump and used it to build the first fire at each season’s deer camp. The stump is half gone by now, but because it takes so little of the flammable wood to ignite a good burning fire, Tony figures it will outlive him.

— The Bad —

First Deer

There are a number of long held — and sometimes odd — traditions surrounding the taking of a person’s first deer and the blood, or more rarely consumed organs, of that deer.

Some are really kind of cool, including a “blooding” rite as it is sometimes called whereby the lucky hunter’s forehead and/or cheeks are dabbed or smeared with blood to initiate them among them among the ranks of accomplished hunters. If not all hunters have celebrated their first kill in that manner, they have likely at least heard of it. A twisted twist on that experience is to remove the heart or liver from the still warm animal and take a bite from it.

“…a number of practices or “traditions within the tradition” have developed among regions, cultures and particularly among individual groups of hunters.

That one may be a little too Legends of the Fall for most folks, and with concerns over blood-contaminating illnesses such as CDW or hemorrhagic disease, may not be the best way to continue that tradition. Some people even drink some of the deer’s blood, which unless you’re auditioning for a scene in the next Twilight movie, is just a bit ick.

A cool twist on the practice comes from Brian McCombie in Wisconsin, who says successful hunters will sometimes simmer the deer’s heart in water, along with celery, onion and beer, then slice and eat it. That’s one many of us could work with.

Drinking Night Before the Opener

For all the ink and genuine acceptance of women among the ranks of hunters, by and large, many hunting camps remain a “boys only” affair, where friends and male relatives annually gather to not only hunt, but also enjoy the camaraderie of men with a shared interest in hunting.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in deer hunting where, as with most male-oriented activities, social time is spent drinking an alcoholic beverage or eight the night before opening day. This can lead to ready laughter and a plenty of good stories of stupidity that will be shared for years to come, but on more than a few of these occasions, I’ve personally witnessed hunters too hung over the next day to even crawl out of bed and hunt — or on rare occasions, were still inebriated so where they weren’t allowed to hunt. Enjoy a frosty beverage, or even a few, but try not to get so wild you miss opening morning. That’s just plain out stupid.

— The Ugly —

Buck Sign

One Alabama hunter shared this tradition with me — a throwback to her dad’s younger days before there were cell phones, texting and even walkie-talkies. To this day, her dad and some of his contemporaries still follow the practice, but when they kill a buck and field dress it, they hang the severed genitals from a tree so anyone who happens past the gut pile will know the deer taken there was a buck. They can then excitedly hurry back to camp to see how big the trophy was taken by one of their hunting partners.

No Razors, Please

Another extremely individualized tradition among deer camps includes the resistance to shaving while hunting. On a message board, I found one hunter whose entire camp of guys doesn’t shave for the entire two-month long hunting season.

Horn Dance

Tim P/ Sep 10, 2007

The original, ancient, Abbots Bromley Horndance in East Staffordshire

Could you imagine Midwest hunters doing this?

I apologize, but I had to go out of country for this one, and it really is kind of a cool tradition once you know the history behind it. But at first glance, anytime you catch a video of men in knickers and lederhosen dancing in circles with each other sporting heavy racks above their heads, you have to stop and wonder.

What I’m talking about is the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance in Staffordshire, England, this year to be celebrated Sept. 10 in the village of, where else, Abbots Bromley. The dance was first performed as part of the Barthelmy Fair in August 1226. That means for 786 years, each year, dudes have been dressing up and dancing with antlers to celebrate the hunt.

Not sure if it blesses a hunt or just serves a rural curiosity among visitors these days (most likely the latter), but I can imagine me trying to get a bunch of hardened Dale Earnhardt-looking Midwestern hunters to dress like the sky ride attendant at Busch Gardens and dance daintily with antlers above their heads to the sound of a gonging chime.


 No to ritual hunting
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

POACHERs are motivated purely by commercial gain. But the tribals of Simlipal in Orissa are prompted by almost sacrosanct tradition – an annual hunting ceremony known as akhand shikar or .mass hunting excursion”, which turns them into ferocious killers of even protected animals.

The ritual normally begins in mid-April on Chaitra Sankranti. This year, Orissa forest authorities sealed off the Simlipal National Park, home to many protected species. This prevented the en masse infiltration of tribals armed with bows and arrows. The park will remain sealed till May 31.

, During the ritual, the tribals set up shikar camps and hunt down animals mercilessly. The Simlipal Forest Reserve authorities, along with a local tribal organisation called the Society for Research and Development of Tribs Culture, have distributed leaflets printed in Oriya and Santhali languages to hammer home the message of wildlife conservation.


Rock Art found at Serra da Capivara site in Brazil.

Rock Art – A hunting ritual?

A replica of pre-historic lion drawings.  The Original Decorated Cave of Pont-d’Arc contains the world’s earliest known art.  REUTERS/Roberta Pratta

“She checks her belongings, stored in the leather backpack sewn by her father. Candle, fuel, and lighter; a carving knife and a brand new set of pork skin rags. She also carried small baskets colored with red, black, and three different shades of beige. Her water container was still full. After a few hundred feet of squeezing through narrow passageways, and after almost slipping into a ravine, she arrived. She felt the walls and discovered its topography: grooves and bumps. Then, she knew exactly how to start.”

Dancing male human figures over a red deer at the Toca do Paraguaio rock art shelter

The scene depicted above could very well be a good representation of early humans and their daily routines (part of which included art and painting). The art of indigenous persons is downplayed in popular culture, when in fact, it was a monumental effort and gorgeous artistic endeavor – and often as impressive as the herds of running animals that decorate stone walls. In order to bring visibility to the magnificent efforts of early humans to the general public, a science museum recently open with a complete, life-size replica of the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, the original of which is in Southern France. (Reuters has a even more photos of the interior.)

The Chauvet replica introduces more context to the art of early humans, and perhaps also shatters some misconceptions. The mainstream opinion is that the art represented a hunting ritual. But why are modern humans so quick to assume that early humans were not intelligent or interested in the aesthetics of art? But rather that they were searching for meat or depicting hunting practices? This belief is reminiscent of the mainstream construct of the caveman eating raw meat. I believe that this construct theory has been repeated throughout time is because the image of early humans are brutish has been published in countless textbooks and preached to many students and the broader public. One textbook, written by author Erns Gombrich, repurposes the idea of early humans as unintelligent. This is a textbook that is widely in art history college classes. Here’s how they describe the art from that period:

“In other words that these primitive hunters thought that if they only made a Picture of their prey – and perhaps belabored it with their spears or stone aches- the real animals would also succumb to their power.”

To be fair, that book was written over 50 years ago. When the book author looks at early human actions and deem them as merely functional and geared towards survival, he creates a barrier that makes it difficult for us to relate to our ancestors. It’s as if they were a different species, when in fact they were anatomically exactly the same as we are today.

An example of Rock Art found at Serra da Capivara site in Brazil. Photo by the author.

Paleolithic art, traced back to 40,000 years, was preserved in the form of sculptures, paintings and carvings, composing a vast cultural portfolio that was present in early-humans daily lives. The repetition of motifs in different locations and surfaces, as well as in decorative objects, weapons, utensils, and sculptures (female representations measuring 2-5 inches). The figurative and graphical representations lead researchers to believe that the art carried meaning; a meaning that was shared among the individuals of that community.

I believe that the conclusion that the focus of the art was geared towards hunting  – with the  main argument being that the animal representations appear in large numbers –  seems like a gross oversimplification. Researchers also not that bones and other vestiges of animals found on cave sites (generally considered meal leftovers) do not correlate to the images of animals  painted on walls. It is entirely unreasonable to think that all this art is saying “dinner time!”

The substantial amount of effort needed for the artistic representations points at the significance it held for the ones involved. When museum visitors look at the replica cave in Chauvet, they feel closer to the lives of their ancestors who created art that represents their culture and reality. Similarly, with a visit to an anthropology museum we face that ancestor, interacting with daily life’s beauty and challenges just like any of us.

The walls of the Grotte Chauvet depict many predatory animals such as cave bears, woolly rhinos, mammoths and wild cats. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

The peculiarities of environment and geography influence the characteristics of Rock Art. The wall paintings in depths of cave where the light does not reach – were found in northwest Europe for at least 20,000 years.  Paintings in rock walls, rock shelters, and shallow caves have been found in archaeological sites all over the world, dated from 35000 to 12000 BC, (same link) The early-human explorers who spread out left their signature paintings in France, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, and many others. However, the style of the artistic representations vary with the location or even within the same location. This diversity leads us to believe that, like today, a cultural diversity already existed in early humans.

Even though the representations are diverse, they also indicate a common theme: different individuals, from unique environments, separated by thousands of miles or years, all had the same idea – use rock walls as a canvas to display and share their ideas and beliefs.

These findings allow us to see the past in a more complex and even poetic way – like the woman and her backpack in the beginning of this story – facets that are completely lost in the traditional Art textbook.


Thoughts on eating venison from author and F&S contributor Rick Bass.

__It’s not my place at all to suggest a right way or a wrong way. My own view is that if a post-kill ritual comes naturally, fine. But if it doesn’t, it’s as disrespectful to fake as it is to not even consider one in the first place. I don’t much like hearing other hunters whoop and shout and high-five following the occasions when they are fortunate enough to find an animal–I don’t care for that at all. But I usually hunt far enough into the backcountry that that curious aversion of mine generally takes care of ­itself–self-selected against such intrusion by distance and terrain.

I should hasten to say that post-kill rituals can take quite a long time to develop–years, or decades--and it’s possible also that as we age and become more attuned to our own mortality, we gain a greater interest in such matters: an increased empathy, curiosity, awareness. The ritual is partly for the animal but also partly for ­ourselves.

The first part of my ritual is easy; it’s what our parents told us a long time ago, the please and thank you rule. I say thank you–very quietly, under my breath really–to the mountain I’m on and to the animal. Then I set about cleaning the animal. It’s often too far from a road or trail to drag, so I quarter it for packing out. I like to leave the meat on the bone for aging–hams and shoulders–but I make sure the carcass that remains–head, vertebrae, ribs–is positioned on its side, with each part as it was, back in the brief assembly of life. I place each foreleg and shin in its appropriate pairing, so that the animal is positioned as if in midflight, reminding me of the great Edward Hoagland line about a leopard poised to jump as if in “an extra-­emphatic leap into the hereafter.”

Lastly, I place my brass bullet casing against the trunk of the tree where I was sitting and position a rock over it. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever be back to that tree–there’s too much new country to hunt and too few years. But I like to think that someday, maybe a century or more from now, a hunter might be sitting against that same tree in the fall and, should he or she dislodge that oddly tilted stone–which would be lichen-covered by then and gripped with a webbing of kinnikinnick–might notice the brass and understand that once upon a time there was another hunter like him or her.

kinnikinnick – [ kin-i-kuhniknoun

a mixture of bark, dried leaves, and sometimes tobacco, formerly smoked by the Indians and pioneers in the Ohio valley.
any of various plants used in this mixture, especially the common bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, of the heath family.

Will hunters still be pursuing deer with .270-calibers, or will that traditional rifle seem by that point as quaint as stone arrowheads? I have no idea. But I like to imagine that such a hunter will stop to wonder and realize and remember that each of us is part of an ancient equation and relationship, one worthy of respect for our quarry, the landscape we hunt, and for ourselves–the manner in which we pursue our desire and our meals. Life is a privilege; the moments are almost ­always washing past.


Humans are killing animals.[1]  Killers of animals, they—many of them—are animals who kill.  Other animals kill, of course, but no others, I suppose, carry out the killing we call sacrifice.  Anthropological literature commonly treats sacrifice as a kind of exchange and an act of communication.  But to grasp the kind of killing that sacrifice involves, consider its place within the set of violent acts against animals that also includes the work of hunters and butchers.

In the closing years of the twentieth century, the eastern Indonesian island of Sumba was at a tipping point as the practitioners of rituals for spirits of ancestors, commonly referred to as “marapu people,” were losing ground to an emerging Protestant majority.[2]  As a young fieldworker open to any conversations going, I was privy to the suspicions, complaints, and braggadocio voiced on all sides.  One of the hottest topics of polemic was animal sacrifice.  Christians liked to quote a local Bible teacher: “What use are the ancestor spirits?  They just use up chickens.”  For their part, marapu people would point out that they only kill animals for ritual purposes, and never without an offering prayer to direct the sacrifice to its goal.  By contrast, they would say, “Christians kill with no words.  They are greedy, slaughtering animals whenever they feel like it, just so they can eat meat.”  It’s a familiar contrast—Detienne and Vernant (1989) report ancient Greek views of meat acquisition similar to those of the marapu people.  But what’s striking to me is the similarity in their moral logic, as well as what both parties do not talk about.  Both focus on an instrumental logic of calculated utilities and leave mostly unmentioned both the religious logic of sacrifice, and, above all, its violence.  The Christian polemic appeals to an ethics of expenditure, treating the wrongfulness of sacrifice as a matter of wasted resources.[3]  For their part, marapu people stress an ethics of obligation.  The ethics of obligation is all the stronger given their passionate interest in the pleasures of meat.  They portray sacrifice as an elevated form of self-denial, and almost envy Christians the illicit liberty they have granted themselves to eat as they wish.[4] Like the Gentiles of the New Testament, Sumbanese Christians are distinguished by their exemption from the onerous constraints of (certain) divine laws.  Indeed, so fundamentally secular is their view of meat (as opposed, say, to wafers and wine) that it could lead to the view that all killing is legal except that undertaken for sacred purposes.

Illustration by Ed Linfoot

This secular utilitarianism with regards to killing has become a largely unremarked feature of much contemporary Christianity.  It was, for instance, merely part of the taken for granted background to a famous (and by 1993, unconstitutional) city ordinance in Florida, aimed at Cuban immigrants who practice Santería.  The ordinance made it illegal “to unnecessarily kill, torment, torture, or mutilate an animal in a private or public ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption” (Palmié 1996: 184).  (A literal-minded reading of this text might lead us to conclude that it’s fine to unnecessarily torture animals as long as one eats them afterwards.)  (that is ridiculous! Christians do not find it acceptable to torture or abuse any one or any animal for any reason!) Although the city council was clearly motivated by anxieties of class, ethnicity, and nationality, what they chose to focus on was, presumably, that practice most readily to be abominated, the so-called “blood sacrifice.”  The objection is all the more striking for this obvious point (and one that helped lead to the defeat of the measure in the courts as contravening the Constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion): assuming most citizens to be meat-eaters, no one was objecting to the killing of animals as such.  The utilitarian logic of the butcher remains the unspoken background against which the religious stands out in marked contrast. (the bible teaches that all animals should be treated humanely and killed in the manner which causes the least trauma and really no pain, that being slicing the throat.  God told man to eat meat.  Christians object to sacrifice be that animal or human, because it is offensive to the one true GOD.)

The Sumbanese marapu people’s complaint suggests that one ethical objection to the reasoning offered by Christians is that instrumental meat-making denies its own violence.  By contrast, sacrifice thematizes it.  In this respect, the marapu people may be exemplifying a stance that runs through many traditions of sacrifice.  This stance is summarized in the question posed by Veena Das, in her reflection on India’s long textual traditions of reflection on religious ritual: “can the killing of animals in sacrifice be regarded as a dramatization of everyday acts of violence that we commit simply in order to live?” (2015: 3).  (NO, certainly not! Sacrifice is an act of worship. Worship of anything other than the living GOD is wrong. Whereas, taking a life so that we can live is part of the current world we live in. When we lived agricultural lives, the animal we killed to eat was usually one we had raised. It was a sacrifice in a way, but one ordained by GOD.) Although they certainly wouldn’t say this in their polemics with Christians, I suspect Sumbanese marapu people might well answer, “of course!”[5]

The pleasure of killing

You might think that hunters are those people least prone to sentimentalize the death of their prey, most likely to take a matter-of-fact attitude like that of the butcher in a big city.  ‘When killing an elk or a bear, I sometimes feel that I’ve killed someone human.  But one must banish such thoughts or one would go mad from shame’” (2007: 78).  (Notice, by the way, the echoes of the semiosis of representation that underwrites the Durkheimian tradition: the most problematic animals are those that most resemble me, and therefore in whose place I could stand. 

Sacrifice can stimulate an emotional intensification of the more general experience of the taking of life in the process of staying alive. Prayers are spoken over the sacrificial animal before the killing, in order to alert the spirits and inform the animal of the messages it should carry to the world of the dead.  The killing of the animal is a means of getting the message from this material sphere to that other, immaterial one.  After the killing, the response of the spirits must be sought through divinatory reading of the entrails of the victim.

(Public sacrifice of a bull) The machismo of the killer, the passion of the spectators, destruction of wealth, and the anticipation of vast quantities of tough, gamey boiled meat make this one of the highpoints of village life, persisting into the era of social media, if Sumbanese posts to Facebook are anything to go by.

What is that enthusiasm about?  To start, there is a certain thrill in the sheer display of wealth and its expenditure.  But many spectators also focus on the bravado of the young men who undertake the killing, and the risk at which this places them.  And people seem to find the fatal blow of the machete and the struggles of the buffalo to be fascinating.  On display in the plaza are physical power, domination, fear, the display of athleticism, identification with or a vast sense of distance from the victim. Sadism or empathy, risk-taking, excitement at the dramatic movements, and amusement at the occasional slapstick may all be involved.[11]  Janet Hoskins (1993) points out that people in Kodi, West Sumba, often laugh at the sight of the slaughter. She says this is a nervous response to their ambivalence and, prompted by a Kodi myth about the first subjugation of cattle, suggests they are identifying with the animal but also ridiculing it for allowing them to humiliate it. In her view, the killing works in part to externalize aspects of themselves that they want to eliminate.

Then, the killing produces meat, which people anticipate with enormous relish.  Sumbanese love to eat meat, but, as noted above, marapu people do so only at ceremonial feasts.  These bodily pleasures are inseparable from the giving and receiving they presuppose, the commensality and reciprocity.  Confronted with evidence of killing, we cannot be sure that violence is the principle focus of attention, or even fear and pain, sadism or empathy.  It may also be mere excitement, in which the spectacle of killing is inseparable from the stimulation of being in a crowd – even collective effervescence – and the anticipation of the feast.

So if Sumbanese objectify themselves in the form of the sacrificial animal, they also absorb that objectified beast into themselves in the form of dead flesh.  The sacrificial dialectic begins with externalization (by identifying themselves with the victim, they project certain aspects of themselves onto the animal) that makes possible, through material means, an internalization of certain aspects of the sacrifice (the flesh but not the spirit of the beast).  That is, they internalize the meat that results from the killing.  This is no mere representation: they are very aware of the pleasures of satiety and renewed vigor this produces. The dead body of the animal becomes part of the revitalized living body of the feasters; the animal rendered an object of human actions contributes to their constitution as subjects both through the agency by which they kill the beast and through the act of consumption by which they appropriate it to themselves.  To this extent, Valeri’s concept-oriented model works well: the buffalo victim is an objectification, an externalization of an aspect of oneself.  We can add that it is at the same time a subjectification of the object world, the transformation of meat into life.  But we cannot eliminate from Sumbanese sacrifice the spectacle of violent killing.  In the latter, however, we should not settle in advance whether the dominant key is fear, pain, prowess, sadism, domination, the thrill of the crowd, or the pleasures of the feast—indeed, all of these are in play. The category of “violence” is both too general and too narrow.

There is yet another aspect of killing to consider as well. As Valeri observed, killing dramatizes the ubiquitous experience of transformation or transition from presence to absence: “sacrificial death and destruction are also images; they represent the passage from the visible to the invisible and thereby make it possible to conceive the transformations the sacrifice is supposed to produce” (1985: 69).  We might say the same of Sumbanese killing, which is meant to extend a bridge to the invisible world.[12]  Sumbanese sacrificial animals convey messages between the manifest world of the living and the invisible world of the dead.  In Sumba, sacrificial killing must, as noted above, always include words, and the reading of entrails.  These foreground the fact that the killing is a transition between perceptible and imperceptible worlds (Keane 2008).  The animal is made to die, in order to bring along with it to the world of the dead words that were spoken by humans in the world of the living, and, through the medium of entrail-reading, to convey a reply.