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Native American Hunting Rituals, do you knows them?

JRoseyJRosey Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm going deer hunting in November. I've never killed anything in my life and I'm a little cautious about how I'll feel about taking the life of an animal. I think that using a muzzle loader instead of a modern rifle makes me feel better about it, but I'd like to take it a step further.

I read somewhere once that the Inuit would "breathe" breath into the mouth of a seal they had just killed, in respect for that seal's life. I'm looking for either more information on that ritual itself, or similar post-kill hunting traditions of either the Inuit or Native Americans. Normally I'm a google-fu master but this topic is evading me. Thanks H/A!

JRosey on
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Posts

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Here's some basic ideas.

    EDIT: Give me a couple minutes and I'll find my notes from Social & Cultural Anthropology.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • Penguin_OtakuPenguin_Otaku Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    As an Indian myself I ask you do these respectfully with the people who started them in mind.

    Not that I feel you have ill intentions, just asking.

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  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Notes from class...

    The Algonquin require specific rituals of themselves in order to kill a bear. In order to properly hunt a bear, the Algonquin address the dead bear's spirit with terminology and language they would normally reserve for kin. Once the bear is killed it is dressed in ceremonial clothing and hung from a pole where offerings of tobacco are left. After butchering the bears carcass it is placed on a scaffold so scavengers cannot feed upon it. The Algonquin did this because they believed the bear chief had to be appeased. The Algonquin believed that if this wasn't done, the Bear Chief would be pissed and wouldn't send out more bears.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • JRoseyJRosey Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    As an Indian myself I ask you do these respectfully with the people who started them in mind.

    Not that I feel you have ill intentions, just asking.

    For living in Seattle, a place named after an Indian Chief, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to come in contact with real live people that have knowledge of the subject. Any chance you could point me in the right direction?

    Esh: Thanks that is helpful. Reading more about The Algonquin right away...

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  • DekuStickDekuStick Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Almost goes without saying but make sure there's little wasted. This includes tanning the hide. Assuming you're Native American yourself, try to find what your tribe would traditionally do in these regards. It also wouldn't hurt to continue your research to know more about your roots.

  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I work with a Matsqui lady who owns a animal reserve on Native land, I'll ask her what I can, tho rituals do vary tribe to tribe.

    It seems like you may also be looking for answers on animal spirits and such?
    ( I am also an animal lover, and hunting pains me a great deal, so I went thru this same feeling)
    Learning about animal spirits and respecting them helps a lot towards that end as well.

    and as others state, waste as little as you can, and make the kill as clean and quick as possible.

  • RevolutionaryRevolutionary Registered User
    edited July 2010
    Have you considered just not going on the trip? If you don't want to kill a deer, why are you going deer hunting?

  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2010
    There isn't really anything wrong with using modern rifles. Also, you're probably going to want to spent more than 5 months shopping for and practicing with muzzleloaders. They're definitely much different to maintain, fire, and use.

    Also, I assume you've taken Hunter Safety classes? Know about the sunup/sundown rule? Etc?

    Also, don't take a shot unless you really want to, and don't shoot a moving animal.

    Alsox3 remember that there's roughly a 90% chance you won't even see a deer on your trip, let alone even consider firing at one. Think of it as a hiking/travel day out and you'll still have fun.

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Have you considered just not going on the trip? If you don't want to kill a deer, why are you going deer hunting?

    Yeah, I mean Native Americans are great and everything but breathing into a dead animal or eating all the parts of it isn't exactly a lot of consolation for the animal, if you know what I mean.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Also, be aware, a muzzle loaded rifle is likely going to be a million times more painful than a modern bullet. I'm assuming you mean a flintlock rifle or something similar to that rather than a musket (holy shit have you seen a musket ball? When people shot those they'd take off fucking limbs).

  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2010
    I'm pretty sure he meant blackpowder or somesuch, not a musket.

    I know around here, they're licensed and termed as "muzzleloader" if it's a blackpowder Kentucky rifle or any other sort.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    You never know with some people. ;)

    Why not go hunting with a bow and arrow? It's possible to hunt deer that way. Be a real NA.

  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    You never know with some people. ;)

    Why not go hunting with a bow and arrow? It's possible to hunt deer that way. Be a real NA.

    Yeah, but from my experience most bow hunting sessions end with you following the blood trail until the deer finally collapses. Better to just put a high powered round through its heart.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I just wasn't sure on the whole reasoning behind this, is there NA heritage in play, or does he just feel bad about killing them? That plays largely into the advice we give I think.

  • DekuStickDekuStick Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Have you considered just not going on the trip? If you don't want to kill a deer, why are you going deer hunting?

    Yeah, I mean Native Americans are great and everything but breathing into a dead animal or eating all the parts of it isn't exactly a lot of consolation for the animal, if you know what I mean.

    He's apprehensive about killing a deer not fully against it. When it comes down to the moment, he doesn't have to take that shot. It's something everyone goes through the first time out hunting. The first shot can be a hard one to make. I'll throw in the point however once that bullet leaves the barrel it is going to fly straight at what it was aimed at until it hits something. This falls into gun safety but also when you commit, there is no stopping a bullet in flight. Remember this is the way the food chain goes and I always feel better about hunting rather than just buying my meat. For lack of a better word there's more honor in hunting than there is farming the animals. That deer has a chance to get away and quite a few have gotten away on me.


    Not a lot of consolation no, but I feel it's worse if you leave unnecessary waste and don't show that animal respect. What consolation does a farmed animal get? What about respect? Bred for the sole purpose of certain death and consumption. Fenced in from the world. I find it very hard for someone to argue hunting your food is worse than buying it at a grocery store.

  • TelexTelex Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I think a lot of what makes hunting rituals powerful for modern people is that they make sure that the hunter is conscious of the fact that he is taking a life - as opposed to most society of society which eats meat without considering the life of animal that the meat came form. With that in mind, maybe you could come up with a ritual of your own - maybe something as simple as arranging some rocks near the place it died, or writing about the animal you killed in a journal. Some sort of commemoration of the animal.

    But from the animal's point of view, the best hunting ritual would be to use the most efficient killing tools possible to minimize pain.

  • McGibsMcGibs Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yeah, I agree. Just make sure you're conscious about what you're doing. Don't go out of your way to try and appease some ancient animal deity with half-researched rituals.
    Just enjoy the hunt, hopefully get the kill, and after its all said and done, take a second to reflect.

  • JRoseyJRosey Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'm very much not Native American. I'm incredibly white and Swedish.
    I have taken hunting safety courses and am becoming extremely proficient with an in-line high powered black powder hunting rifle.
    I've already decided that I want to go hunting. I have a butcher lined up and I plan on wasting as little of the animal as possible. I will respect the animal and it's habitat as much as I physically can.

    What I want is to perform some kind of ritual after the kill as a sign of respect for the animal (perhaps as much for myself as for the animal). I suppose it does seem kind of... hypocritical, seeing as I'm a white boy pretending to be a Native American. I like the idea of coming up with my own ritual and will put some thought into that.

    Thanks for the replies, good to see different views of the subject.

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  • ButtcleftButtcleft Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    If you want to respect the animal you kill, Then use it. Sell its hide to some tannery and eat the meat, and maybe display the horns applicable.

    Breathing in its last breath or some other spiritual jumbo won't make you feel better if you just kill the animal and leave it to rot

    I know you are more than likely not doing that, I'm just saying it as a comparison.

    that's it, I'm shutting this entire forum down, everyone thank buttcleft
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yeah, after hearing your situation, I personally think trying to perform some NA ritual after a hunt is just nonsense. This isn't Avatar.

    You've taken hunter safety courses, lined up a butcher, and have become a good shot with your weapon of choice. You plan to make a quick kill and use as much of the animal as possible, and you don't intend to destroy the woods too much in the process. You seem to have a lot of respect for what you're doing. I can respect that.

    Honestly, you seem like a pretty cool dude with those reasons alone. I'd leave it at that, and try to enjoy the hunt. If you honestly feel the need to have your own ritual, simply say thank you, to the animal that gave you the food, to your friends that took you hunting (if that's the case) and call it a day.

    Also, since you've never been hunting, a note: When you shoot a deer, unless you hit between the front shoulders, which will take down the heart or lungs pretty quickly, the deer will either run, or fall, but will probably still be alive. Make sure you're carrying a sharp, strong knife with you on your hunt. If you down the animal, but it's still alive, end it quickly.

    I've taken a lot of friends on hunts and they either just stood there while the animal bled out painfully or tried to shoot it several more times like some fucked up Tarantino execution. Please don't do either of these things.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
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