Making tracks

I’m not a hunter, never have been and it isn’t likely I’ll start hunting now – although I’ll admit it is a useful set of skills to have, come the apocalypse. (Would we be able to tell if there’s an apocalypse? I suppose the news would be a tad cheerier…)IMG_0600

Food security has been something that keeps cropping up – perhaps a growing cause for concern reflecting uncertain times? Zombies aside, I’ll stick with doing what most of us do, and track down my food in stores, hoping that the bulk of it has been produced ethically. We are currently living in an area that has, should the lights go out for the final time, reasonable food security, at least for those in the know…

The recent wilderness trip I accompanied did have a hunting component. Participants are encouraged to produce and provide for themselves and their community, learning and applying skills taught by elders and mentors, and ensuring they know how to survive and even flourish on their traditional lands.IMG_0579

I was excited and nervous about the hunting. Personally, I’d rather not be around guns, and young people with guns, even when they are being monitored closely by trained experts. However, I could see the importance of teaching and learning these skills, and the youth involved were excited to learn.

So let me get the gory part out of the way first – the only animal shot and killed on this trip was a duck. It was shot on the boat ride out to the camp. The duck supplemented a rice and vegetable dish later in the weekend. The decision was made that one duck was enough – there were plenty of other ducks in range throughout the journey, but the lead hunter emphasised this was about eating, not sport.

Something to eat? Where?!

Students learned how to prepare it for cooking and eating. They were very respectful and thankful to the duck, and a prayer was made reflecting this. Almost everyone had a small piece of roasted duck, myself included, and the young man who made the shot was thoughtful about what he’d done. He didn’t want to kill it, but understood that to eat meat, a creature had to die. He certainly wasn’t boastful about shooting the duck.fullsizeoutput_15ab

On the morning spent hunting, we saw deer tracks, many bear tracks, and plenty of grouse tracks, but nothing else. No actual animals were sighted, but students learned how to spot likely areas for future hunts, and where to set up in these areas. Our lead hunter did draw a bead on a seal as we headed back, and I have to admit to being relieved when he said the distance was too great to be certain of a clean shot. The size and scale of the animal shouldn’t make any difference to how I felt, but seeing a duck shot and prepared was probably easier to experience than if it had been a seal.

Tracking a scent

If the trip had been for trophy hunting, there’s no way I’d have gone along, and, as indicated above, I was (silently) rooting for the animals. That said, the whole process was fascinating and thought provoking. I’ll never be a hunter, but I can see the importance of hunting in traditional communities.

I’ll leave it there, and start to make tracks towards a long weekend. Thanks for reading and, as always, please feel free to share a story or leave a comment.

Have a wonderful weekend!

PS All the photos posted here were taken last week on a cold and sunny Sunday morning on or near Combers beach.

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

15 thoughts on “Making tracks”

  1. I must admit that I have mixed feelings about hunting. Growing up in northwestern Pennsylvania, hunting is deeply engrained in the fabric of many families, mine included, though I myself haven’t hunted since I was a teenager. My feelings on the topic are much too complex (and long-winded) for the scope of the comments section, but I guess I believe in a “sacred trust” between hunter and the hunted, and that one should hunt to eat first and foremost and strive to use as much of the animal as possible. What I despise is the football game atmosphere that accompanies a good portion of the hunting culture. For the time being I suppose, as long as there are grocery stores, I’ll stick to catch and release fly fishing to satisfy my primal hunting instincts. Ha, see how long that was, and that’s the short version!


  2. I can see that your hunting experience with the young ones was a valuable one, a fine lesson for us in this day, when people are removed from day-to-day living in the wild, that food and sustenance comes from earth and that we need to stay in touch… As for my own sentiments about the subject, I see that Bob Stanton stole my thunder, and I’m glad he did, because I couldn’t have said it better, or in a shorter version. Thanks for another good one, Adam.


    1. Thanks, Walt. Yes, you and Bob captured the complexity of hunting with a few well-chosen words. As always, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, and I hope your weekend has been a good one!


  3. I thought I had a wonderful Sunday morning planned with great football matches on tv (Liverpool/Fulham, Chelsea/Everton and Man United/Man City), but after looking at your beautiful Sunday morning at Combers Beach, I think I’m definitely missing something. Fabulous photos, especially loved the last three shots! I’m also one that is always rooting for the animals and your thoughtful comments about the experience and the young people learning the skills to survive on the land were appreciated. Loved the title and one aspect I would love to learn is how to track animals (thankfully never bears). Maybe I could find out where that turkey is hanging out and keep him safe the rest of the month. Any chance you’re missing the snow yet? Hope you’re enjoying the weekend and an Everton win today!


    1. Thank you! I didn’t see any of the matches today, but from a quick glance at reports, the Chelsea-Everton game was poor (although I’ll take a draw at Chelsea!) and the other two games were pretty good.
      Yes, I’ll always be cheering on the wildlife when it comes to hunting, but I can see a place for hunting when it is part of how a community genuinely needs to hunt to eat. A complex issue…
      Here’s hoping your neighbohood turkey makes it through the next few weeks!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting point, Wayne – we’ve evolved and have relatively high intellects, able to make choices and distinctions, but don’t seem, as a species, to do much with it…
      Hope your week is going well!


  4. Thanks for sharing your experience PC. I must admit that the idea of shooting for trophy hunting or even eating is not something I enjoy, yet plenty of people do it. In fact on our last camping trip we saw a car load of youths with a deer in the back of their ute, made me feel a bit bad. But I guess generations back lived and survived this way. It sounds like your trip was a positive and respectful experience.


    1. Thanks, Miriam! Yes, it’s a complex topic – I’m vegetarian, and don’t have an interest in hunting to eat, and even if I did eat meat, likely wouldn’t hunt. But if I lived in a culture where hunting was a traditional practice, I’m sure I’d think differently. I’ll never understand hunting as a sport…
      I hope your week is going well!

      Liked by 1 person

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