There is an indescribable beauty in the Hunt when it is done well and in harmony with the land. Learning how to track an animal is certainly one of the most shamanic experiences a person can undergo, as the tracker must put oneself in the mind of the animal, imagine what it was doing and why and where it will be next. Try tracking your own totem creature; there is a profound experience. But there are marvels to a well done Hunt that go beyond even that.
One comes to know a wild place as deeply as an old friend, as even family. In the region of forest I have chosen to seek deer and bear this year, I have come to know the comings and goings of all the woods’ denizens. There is the falcon that likes to fly low over my tree each afternoon and startle me with its shrill, echoing cry. There is the neighborhood of gray squirrels who like to chatter at one another as they gather mushrooms in the meadow. There is a thicket where oyster and corral mushrooms are growing abundantly, should I decide to gather some choice edibles. And come twilight barred and barn and great horned owls haunt the forest. This very dawn I was treated to the cry of a fisher in the distance.
Every forest has its own character; this forest is a lady of mystery: soft, sweet and full of secrets. Winds blow off the sea a dozen miles away north and south, and the canopy of turning leaves rolls in the breeze like waves. Sedges and brambles dry in the crisp autumn air. They whisper ghostly secrets to the breeze, and rattle when it kicks up like dancing Samhain bones.
This is why I hunt, and why I teach the skill. It is a sacred thing, and if there is a way to draw closer to Nature’s hidden heart and blend in with that spirit, I do not know what it is.