Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Sacred Hunt

The second class I took at PAST Skills was called The Sacred Hunt. Since I have no experience in hunting, everything taught was new to me. I learned a lot! The first two days we packed in a lot of lecture and shooting practice. The last three days we were mostly out hunting.

The rule was that we could only take a shot if the deer was within 5 yards. The reason for this is so that we are more likely to get a clean kill with minimal suffering for the animal. I think another reason is that from 5 yards you can know what you are killing before you kill it. I think you really have to be there for the right reason to go through with it once you see how beautiful and peaceful the animal is.

It is incredible the number of skills involved in hunting in this fashion. Imagine having to find a location in the woods where a deer will pass by you within 5 yards. Then imagine not being scented, seen, or heard as the deer gets that close. I forgot to mention that your mind also has to be clear because animals can sense your mood even before their other senses come into play. Also don't let any birds or squirrels know you're there either because they'll tell the deer. Then try to draw your bow without being seen or heard and make sure you hit the deer in the right spot. Hopefully the bow and arrows you made from scratch are of good quality. Finally, you better know how to follow a blood trail or your hard work is for not.

After this the work really begins. You have to honor the deer by using as much of it as you can. That means butchering the meat, boiling the bones and extracting the sinew for tools, tanning the hide, etc.

As Billy said hunting is the reason for practicing primitivie skills. You have to be able to track, use camouflage, build bows and arrows, flintknap arrow points, understand bird language, etc. to be successful at hunting.

So how did I do? First of all I didn't kill a deer. I didn't even take a shot. I did learn a ton of stuff each time I hunted though. For the record I did have two does broadside at 20 yards that never knew I was there. If I was hunting with a rifle it would have been an easy kill. I was content to see deer that close in a natural setting.

Long before the deer showed up, I determined through "inner vision" that I was going to see deer but not shoot any. At the time I thought that meant I would see a buck since we were only hunting does. I forgot that the other possibility was to see does that were out of my range. The last day we hunted I had the same vision and a doe came through my area again. This time it was actually right in my shooting lane, the only problem was that it was sprinting through it since it had seen me moments before.

That doe had been shot by another student minutes before. I like to think that it's hyper-aware state was part of the reason I got busted, but I know my cover and camo was pretty weak too. Later we followed the deer's blood trail for probably 600 yards before we lost it. It was determined that the deer was hit in the muscle of the leg and would probably survive. Even from 5 yards there is no guarantee of a kill. It was a tough way to end our class, but we learned many lessons.

I didn't end up taking many pictures since I was out hunting a lot of the time. Here is a picture from a 3d shooting course. This helped us practice shooting through brush at life-like targets.

For fun we took shots at a bear target off in the distance. I estimate the distance at about 60 yards. One of the times we shot, I was 2 for 2. One shot hit the bear in the eye. I was pretty lucky but I felt cool. No one else hit it.


Bleach n Sheets said...

Did anyone kill a deer?

Also...How was the quality of your bow up against everyone else?

Sassmouth said...

No one including the instructors killed a deer. Only one student even took a shot. One instructor hit the shoulder of a deer that we think lived through it. He and Billy both had shots they passed up because they didn't feel it was the right deer.

I don't really know about the quality. It is the first bow I made and is probably lower quality than some of the others. Everyone seemed to shoot pretty well with the bow they were using.

fooiemcgoo said...

you should have willed the deer to come over and lay down in front of you, then you could have easily slain them.

try that next time.

when you go hunting on saturday make sure to put your phone on vibrate.