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Thread: "Thanking the game"

  1. #1
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default "Thanking the game"

    I was on a treadmill couple weeks ago, one with a TV which I channel-surfed stopping on a Rocky Mtn Elk Foundation show. An older hunter was solo hunting for elk with a muzzleloader. Are all RMEF's shows like this?

    Most of the initial hunt was hiking with commentary - his thoughts about solitude, being in the woods, how hunting has changed in his area. He moved a little stiffly when crouching under branches with his pack I noticed.

    The narrative was probably added later but was very effective. He talked about the suddenness of some shot opportunities - just as in the video clips, he suddenly got a shot opportunity as a bull stepped into a clearing from the river beyond. Then, how infrequently a muzzleloader hunter gets a second shot opportunity, just as he got - took and made - a second shot. The seconds of video while he reloaded that shot, with the bull standing on the far edge of a clearing...steps from disappearing into the brush and fog...were tense. Then, elk down.

    Here's what happened next.
    The hunter, named Bivan(?) - calmly walked up to the bull. Checked carefully to confirm the kill. Knelt. Put his hand on the bull. Turned the head up a bit for a good camera shot. Thanked the game.

    In "thanking the game", he described a moment of reflection on the animal, on the habitat required to produce such an animal.

    I've been on a few hunts, but have yet to take a large game animal. Learning from what I read and talking to experienced friends, I've never found television hunting shows teach very much before. But this one - struck me as illustrating something that mattered.

  2. #2
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    6X,

    Being an older guy, I can relate to this story very well......I'm very much the same in that I'm thankful to have been given the opportunity to harvest this great animal.....I have taken one of Mother Nature's finest and it is my responsibility to utilize it well. It's my responsibility to dispatch that animal as quickly and humanely as I poosibly can......I take no photos of bloody carcasses. I'm not into high fives and cheers as it's a moment to reflect.

    Perhaps it's a generational thing as team sports are much the same.....athletes were once humble winners and graceful losers.....it's all changed with theatrics in the end zone....fights in the bleachers etc....

  3. #3
    Member tzieli22's Avatar
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    Default Likewise

    6X,
    I have been doing it since my very first deer about 35 years ago. Every animal I have taken I thank mother nature or the man upstairs.

    My dad showed me this and I have shared it with my son, and others.
    Tony

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    Member Buck Nelson's Avatar
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    Respect for the animal is very important. That RMEF hunt show sounds like one that I'd like to see.

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    Thumbs up reverence

    This is the type of respect I was taught also. A very good guide in CO showed me to put a hand full of grass in the mouth of the animal to help them on their journey to the happy hunting grounds. Also, some of the BEST hunts I've been on we / I didn't havest an animal, just an exelent experience being there.


    btw, Buck, I love your videos. That is some country to revere.

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    [QUOTE=saltwatertom;671493]This is the type of respect I was taught also. A very good guide in CO showed me to put a hand full of grass in the mouth of the animal to help them on their journey to the happy hunting grounds. (QUOTE)

    That is a European, German, tradition called the "Last Bite". They are very big over there in giving respects to the animals harvested. Rspect for the game and thanking the game is somethng I strive for.
    (Especially at dinner but in a different way)

  7. #7
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thoughtful Thanks...

    6XLeech,
    To answer your first question...are all Rocky Mountain Elk Foundations shows like this?
    Generally, YES.

    The hunter in that episode was also a state wildlife biologist responsible for that area.

    What I liked most about that show and about most RMEF shows, is that it focused on one species of wild animal in a wild envirnment, and that it did not involve a wild celebration when the kill was made. The hunter discussed what the priviledge of hunting meant to him, and then illustrated his respect for hunting and the hunted after the harvest.

    Good Show.....Dennis

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    i find myself thanking the "game", although it did nothing but exsist as God made it. I think what i am really thanking is the good Lord for giving me the opportunity to be the one involved in taking such a intense gift.
    If you think back on it..in my mind...(this is gonna get moved to the religion forum..) the animal was born 7 years ago lets say and lived those years all for the final moment of me taking it's exsistance off the face of the planet. The events that transpired over those 7 years to bring me and that animal in the same place, at the same time in the right circumstances and me with a tag...hummm makes me think. is this all accidental, or is this part of some plan?! either way, the life of an animal is an intense gift for me and i still tear up on some of them..it means something..not just food, theres an undercurrent with taking life....
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    Default I had just recently heard of this respect

    and while pondering I wondered ,
    How that hunting in any fashon is very similiar to war.
    We hunt to acomplish much the same things.
    Some hunt merely for the test of dominance, animals do this too and so do men at war.
    Some hunt for servival ,as also does a soldier, and do every other living creatrure.
    Some hunt in bordum, or entertainment , Just a job as it were, even animals do this too, cat's especially.
    There is a certain level of chance, invading the wood and even being hunted one's self. and serviving the brush with the enemy , either to kill or be killed, or the posession of land or the aquisition of food.
    It is taking, or puting ones self in the position of having to take, placing ones own servival over that of another.
    It is a known fact our bodies live on living tissue , when we attempt to substatute for that, we suffer serious health issues .
    Here is another fact , plants are living tissue, though they do not have a voice they do respond to inter action and to their invironment .
    So any way you go we kill something to servive ourselves. Regarding the value of a life compared to your own is all this is about.
    Wether it is a carrot or an elk or another man aiming at us we kill to servive.
    Personally , I do not worship the earth nor the creatures in it , my worship is reserved to the God I believe made it all, and provided it to us to live on.
    When I was a child , any wild creature was thought to be a target , bugs birds squrrils , any thing that moved . No one had taught me a morality in taking other living things . ( not realizing all there is, that is living ). But I came to a point in my expirence in my life that God that taught me to see the balance of nature. Suffice it to say that now my home is home to many wild creatures . I feed the small birds because they keep the bug population in check, I offer protectin for the rabbits to some degree, because they feed the hawks and the cyotes, . I love wolf and cyote song, the owls hoot and all the sounds that help me feel at home away from home.
    Hunting is strictly done for food , except for the occational rattlesnake invador is cooked up and enjoyed. In the wild, a rattler is in his own teritory I am the invader , If possable I leave him alone.
    If one is going to thank,, do it while it is living , other wise when it is dead, it is not going to hear it to be appreciated. Oh and the language barrior might be a little problem. But I don't need to soothe my consciense harvesting food, it's food. But I am absolutely obligated to thank The God I believe in for providing it , and that I do in all humility.

  10. #10
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    I also "thank" the animal, and recognize all that it took for that animal to exist and thrive where it did.

    I like what Jim Posewitz has to say too, regarding "Ethics after the Shot":
    http://www.alaskabackcountryhunters....the%20Shot.htm
    Earlier in this book we said, "If there is a sacred moment in the ethical pursuit of game, it is the moment you release the arrow or touch off the fatal shot."

    To this we add the idea: If there is a time for reverence in the ethical hunt, it is when you claim, or accept, what you have killed.

    For a hunter, this can be the most serious and meaningful moment of the hunt. The significance is the same whether you are claiming a grizzly bear in the wildest country left on earth, a cottontail rabbit in a tiny woodlot, or a duck from a wet retriever that is shaking from its own excitement of the moment.

    What you have before you is a wild animal, and it is the product of many things. It is an appropriate time to pause and appreciate what has just taken place. You have taken an animal in a hunt. It has come to you:


    • through the land and the trials of natural selection,
    • through the efforts of people who protected your opportunity to hunt,
    • through conservation programs that restored wildlife to a depleted land,
    • through land management efforts that protected the place where you stand,
    • through wildlife management programs that insure wildlife harvest is balanced with wildlife production, and
    • through those people who taught you to hunt and hunt safely.

    The animal lying at your feet or resting in your hand contains all of these things. If any one of them were missing, or were to disappear, you would be standing alone and both your heart and your hand might be empty.


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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    I forget the name but the Austrians or Germans have a richual on the taking of a big game animal which translates to "last meal" They place a green branch in the mouth of the animal. I've seen it done on a few shows and it's rather classy.

    Brett

  12. #12

    Thumbs up

    It is appropriate to give thanks...at the Dinner Table.

    Whether it be a moose or trout. No difference.

    The most reverant hunters I've known, were Mexicans. The least were Austrians and Germans, they are really enthralled with Antlers.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I've never found myself thanking the animal itself, but I most certainly say a prayer of thanksgiving to God after killing an animal. Actually, I say prayers of thanksgiving after an unsuccessful hunt as well, but certainly that prayer takes on a different tone after taking a life so that I can provide for my family. I like what Jake has to say, and I think about those things often. My wife and I were just talking about this a couple of nights ago - that there are animals out there right now, scraping for grass to eat under the snow, nibbling willow branches that they can reach, and finding ways to survive yet another brutal winter...all leading up to a moment when we will meet in the woods or on a mountain. It's hard not to find some spiritual significance in all of that.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    That show was a good one. Even my wife watched, which is unusual. I enjoy most of the RMEF shows...I think it's called Elk Chronicals.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Although I have given up most vestages of superstition, I always give respect to those who have it due, and I do respect what I hunt.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    I do the same with any game I take.

    Ron

  17. #17
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    Default Thankfulness is respect

    Thankfulness is a powerful tool to slow down a bit and take a moment to realize what is really happening. Opens the door to Understanding at a deeper level.

    A good and important thing to do in a moment of high Amps, to just slow down a bit and recognize the awesomeness of the moment in all respects, Definitely high on the List to Teach Sons this aspect of killing for food.

    Respect is big as well, I actually don't even feel real good about dragging the animal around and actually feel like I should treat it well and respectfully even in death.

    I still feel photos, of a respectfully positioned animal are valuable memories of that life given, taken, and it's not necessarily boasting of prowess at all.

    Sharing the life given is all good.

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    6X,
    Your question reminds me of something that happened last summer while preparing for my moose hunt. I kept a journal of my hunting experience and this is an excerpt from my entry regarding a workshop on Big Game Field Dressing that an acquaintance and I attended:

    "I appreciated the instructorís continual reminder to respect the kill. He piled the remains together and covered them over with the animalís cape. He said it is more respectful.

    One of the participants annoyed me. Paul, my acquaintance, asked a legitimate question about the tongue. The typical American does not eat tongue, so we donít harvest it. However, this participant insisted on cutting out the tongue. She didnít listen to the instructor explain that there was no reason to mutilate the animal for simple pleasure and he continued the class in another direction.

    Later, she insisted on cutting out the heart. She held it up in her bloody hand and pretended to take a bite out of it. She laughed and insisted that we all take a turn ďbitingĒ the heart. This totally disgusted me! It reminded me of barbarians who ate the heart out of their defeated enemies to show bloody dominance of a brutal victory. There was nothing respectful about her act.

    This whole scenario got me to thinking, why show respect to a dead thing? It doesnít know whatís going onÖitís dead. Then I reasoned, respecting the kill reflects whatís inside me."

    This is my best answer, Pam

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    I thank every animal I harvest and consider the gift of there physical and spiritual self a sign of respect in my abilities as a hunter. I am careful to treat the animal with respect at all times during processing and follow certain traditions intended to help the spirit of that animal pass into it's next life. Animals most definitely do know they are dieing, they understand pain and they deserve our respect PERIOD! To me it is this very respect that is so commonly missing among the horn porn addicted sport killers that are destroying our way of life and the traditions that go along with it. I'm not saying that every hunter who goes afield needs to do as I. My religious beliefs are way to tied into the hunt for most to understand or be willing to follow. However killing is not scoring a touchdown or hitting a perfect par 3! Treating a kill as such is a slap in the face of the life you just ended and spitting on every hunter who came before you! Guess I really shouldn't be surprised at this behavior, our society has moved so far from respect for anything including ones self I truly worry about our future.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Yup

    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    It is appropriate to give thanks...at the Dinner Table.

    Whether it be a moose or trout. No difference.

    The most reverant hunters I've known, were Mexicans. The least were Austrians and Germans, they are really enthralled with Antlers.
    Though I have heard of animals "giving themselves" to the hunter, I believe that they may be responding to a suggestion from the Creator... so I thank him instead. But then I thank him for all my food.

    It is nice to breath a prayer of thanks after a successful kill, but thanking an animal or giving it food or water seems a bit over-romanticized, or even animistic to me, and none of the Native people I have hunted with have bothered with such sentimentalities. But to each his own. My old hunting partner used to do that... but then he was liberal as the day is long so it didn't surprise me.

    BTW- the only time I've taken antlers from the field was to carve them. Most of the time we left them at the kill site (yes, I know, probably illegally in that unit) because we couldn't much stomach "head hunters".

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