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The MOON: What is that like—killing an animal?

Lynx: It’s life-changing. To hold a warm, living, breathing animal in your hands, to pull back its fur or feathers prior to slitting its throat… it’s very humbling. It really commands your attention, too—the realization that another being is going to give its life so that you can eat. When I know we’re going to do a kill, I can’t sleep the night before.

It’s very different killing a domesticated, versus a wild, animal. Domesticated animals are so docile; it’s almost as if they give themselves to you. I’d much rather shoot a deer that has spent its life running free than kill a domesticated animal.

We draw straws for the one who will actually make the kill. In the last class, it was a girl who was a vegetarian. She wanted to do it. She wanted to know what it was like to take full responsibility for her life—which includes the lives that are sacrificed on her behalf.

She did a good job. She brought all of herself to it—and we always do our kills with prayers and respect. I don’t know how it played out for her emotionally, but I know she ate of every part of that sheep.

That’s another thing that happens when you know that another animal gave its life for you: you don’t waste any of it. We ate all of the meat and the organs. We used the brains for tanning, the hooves and connective tissue for glue, and the bones for tools and jewelry and even musical instruments. Every part of the animal becomes precious.

When you live your life this way, everything in your life has a story to it. The story of the sheep you killed, and ate, and wear, and made tools from, is a much richer and more durable story than the story of the piece of meat wrapped in cellophane that you bought from the grocery store and knew nothing else about. When you know the story of your food, it connects you viscerally to the rest of life. And when you don’t know the story of your food, you’re disconnected.

I thought I would start another thread about hunting and foraging for food. Also included in this thread is discussions about vegetarianism and veganism, plant intelligence and anything else related to the ethics and morals of food!

I've been doing some occasional bow hunting with a traditional bow for wild pigs and goats (so far, haven't had opportunity for other animals). It's a very interesting process for me and hunting is certainly one of the times that I've been most connected with the world.

For those interested, I use a traditional takedown recurve bow 53#. I have also made my own longbow but I have yet to use it on a hunt. It's a little lighter than the recurve, maybe 49 or 50#.

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When I was young I was part of a survivalist group that followed the Teachings if Tom Brown Jr, a well known American survivalist and tracker.

As part of this group I learned and practiced many trapping and primitive hunting methods.

Couple notes:

1) easiest way to get started is a throwing stick/club or sling shot.

2) Stalking and tracking require you to be in a zen ninja state...which is very liberating and natural.

3) I believe if you can't kill it...you shouldn't be eating it....(and I don't mean some unattached method like a gun or in some non-empathic emotional state where you don't love that animal) you must love and respect it and you must be completely engaged in the process.

As a note to Craig...I don't eat pig (pretty sure wild boar is taxonomically the same)...many traditional cultures don't eat pork because it (especially wild) is often full of parasites (especially worms). I've taken my cue that enough different ancient cultures avoid it...so will I. My suspect is that due to prevalence of parasites the meat can't be eaten raw...therefore is avoided. But there could be more to it.

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Craig, what are the rules and regulations regarding bow hunting in Australia? Where I live bow-hunting requires a license that are difficult to both obtain and retain.

More generally, are hunting rights part of the commons?

Where I live hunting rights are held privately ($$$) - however from hunting on the water from a boat which can be done with a hunting license. I suspect bow hunting on flying ducks and geese on water is either illegal or impossible (or both).

I have acquired a license to hunt, but have nowhere to go.

regards,

Frederik

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When I was young I was part of a survivalist group that followed the Teachings if Tom Brown Jr, a well known American survivalist and tracker.

As part of this group I learned and practiced many trapping and primitive hunting methods.

Oh sweet! I've been getting more into traditional skills recently. We had a forager at our summer retreat teaching us about local plants and wildlife, and I've been practising making longbows with a guy named Peter who is also an expert bushman. Definitely have a lot to learn in this field! I would be interested in trapping and snares too.

Couple notes:

1) easiest way to get started is a throwing stick/club or sling shot.

Have you done much of this style of hunting? I was looking into spears at one stage but never got around to it. I do a bit of large rock throwing practise but have never used it in situation.

2) Stalking and tracking require you to be in a zen ninja state...which is very liberating and natural.

Yes....this is one of the best parts of the process. Actually I would be reasonably happy just doing this part if I didn't have a need to eat.

3) I believe if you can't kill it...you shouldn't be eating it....(and I don't mean some unattached method like a gun or in some non-empathic emotional state where you don't love that animal) you must love and respect it and you must be completely engaged in the process.

Also agree with this part. Despite not practising for reasons outlined in the other thread, I prefer the vegetarianism/veganism approach to just buying whatever from the store because it means at least they have started to think about it which is unlike the rest of the population.

As a note to Craig...I don't eat pig (pretty sure wild boar is taxonomically the same)...many traditional cultures don't eat pork because it (especially wild) is often full of parasites (especially worms). I've taken my cue that enough different ancient cultures avoid it...so will I. My suspect is that due to prevalence of parasites the meat can't be eaten raw...therefore is avoided. But there could be more to it.

Yes this is a big problem. There is a way to check pigs for parasites, but I don't know what it is. The problem is that pigs eat everything, including rotting carcasses, which is typically where they pick up all the parasites. As far as domesticated pigs go, there is a huge ethical dilemma involved there as it's extremely rare to have organic pasture raised pigs due to their destructive nature, so most pig products in store tend to be factory farmed. I've actually found a place in Canberra that sells pasture raised pork so I've been getting all of my pig meat from there. The guy was saying that the farm he gets it from actually goes to a lot of trouble to do this, they need special fencing to keep the pigs in and cant do anything else with the land because it's always dug up. Oh also it tastes about 23985729857982357982357 times better than store bought pig meat.

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Craig, what are the rules and regulations regarding bow hunting in Australia? Where I live bow-hunting requires a license that are difficult to both obtain and retain.

More generally, are hunting rights part of the commons?

Where I live hunting rights are held privately ($$$) - however from hunting on the water from a boat which can be done with a hunting license. I suspect bow hunting on flying ducks and geese on water is either illegal or impossible (or both).

I have acquired a license to hunt, but have nowhere to go.

regards,

Frederik

There has just been a new set of rules released here. You now can hunt in state forests using an R license, which costs something like $200 (not sure if its a one off or per year). You need to own a GPS to get this license too. There is a website where you log in and say "I'm hunting at x forest on y date" and it registers you as a hunter there. The registrations prevent too many people from hunting in the same spot at the same time. It's actually pretty neat.

Bows themselves are not regulated, anyone can buy them and use them at an archery range without a license. Im not sure of the exact rules, but it's generally acknowledged that on private property its OK to bow hunt as long as you have the owners permission. A lot of people advertise their properties as open to hunters and charge a fee (usually like $50 per person per night) to do it.

There are also rules here about what you can hunt. Generally only introduced species are allowed (these are classified as pests to the natural environment), so goats, pigs, deer, rabbits, buffalo. Local wildlife is absolutely illegal to hunt with a few exceptions like when there is overpopulation you can get a government permit to do a controlled cull (think kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, etc). I'm not interested in this kind of hunting though, as I mentioned earlier, the reason I hunt is the reconnection to the life cycle and taking full responsibility for my own life.

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Wow 23985729857982357982357 times better!

My favorites are spring black bear and moose. Although I didn't hunt either of these with a bow, spear or heavy rock ;)

From a survival point of view. Learn to make cordage and learn snares. Easy, effective, low risk. Deadfalls are also good...but a little more brutal as you rig a trap to drop a rock or tree trunk on the animal. The key with all these is the trigger mechanism.

I've had success with the throwing stick for rabbits and wild turkey and with a 3 pronged spear for fish - used bone for barbs.

Sling shot is great for grouse and other undergrowth birds...although I don't know a natural way to make the elastic element.

If your going to do a spear you'll need to learn stone fletching to make the heads. And highly recommend a spear thrower...vastly increases range and power. I've made them, practiced, but never hunted successfully with them.

Most fun I've had is with trout tickling...put your hand in the water and with some stillness and technique...you catch the fish with you hands.

But for the last 10 years (since moving to Australia)...my animals have come from butchers and local farms and sadly Coles when no other option is easy.

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Adam, I've read and enjoyed Tom Brown's books since i was a kid. Must be a neat experience to have practiced all that with an organized group. I practice on my own and with my kids, but it's not the same as learning from a master in person. What a great way to really connect with nature. I don't do a lot of hunting, though i do help my friends sometimes with hunting elk and antelope, which gets me some nice meat without the time committments of doing it on my own. I'm the wild plants guy, so i find the vegetarian side of things, in all 4 seasons, and like to feel that i could survive on my own, though you never know until you do!

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MT: cool! I've been learning a little bit about wild plants recently, its so fascinating and really connects you with the world. Also surprising how much of the world is edible! How long have you been foraging for?

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I'm getting up the will to contribute some awesomeness to this topic...maybe better for a couple of blog posts when I get my website sorted

The topics I want to cover is the basics of nature observation and tracking.

- the earth as a canvas telling a story for you to read

- concentric rings of consciousness

- splatter vision and tunnel vision

- stalking/walking techniques

- sit spots for observational meditation (remain in a state with alert senses and quite mind)

- pressure releases

Thanks Kit for reuniting me with my path (that I lost for 10+ years)

Thanks Craig for being...your presence in this community is proving to be an important catalyst to re-engage with this path.

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Adam, I've read and enjoyed Tom Brown's books since i was a kid. Must be a neat experience to have practiced all that with an organized group. I practice on my own and with my kids, but it's not the same as learning from a master in person.

Yes...was a bit of a rogue venture/scouts group run by a senior student of Tom's school and a public school teacher in my local area.

All up ~5 years of 1 night per week, 1 weekend month and 4 weeks solid during summer vacation...plus a few other opportunities.

When I moved away to BC for university...I engaged/was adopted by some of the First Nations students and kept up the practice of sweats and tracking....but didn't practice survival.

Sadly I found out that the scout group was disbanded...the sentiment from some parents was that it was "cultish" and scouts canada stepped in...there was some First Nation's spirituality...but generally was about awareness and respect.

Funny because the lessor known father of scouting - Thomas Seaton - was highly influenced by First Nations and living in rhythm with the natural world....sadly his counter part Baden Powell was more interested in a military prep culture.

Learned a lot in those years....and while forgotten from my active conscious for many years...till about a month ago...it is all still in there...I'm finding the practice easy to reconnect with.

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i've been learning about plants/foraging seriously for about 10 years. I started to some degree even back in college days 20 years ago, but not to any substantial degree until the past 10. Had gotten fairly comfortable in the pacific northwest, then moved to Montana about 10 years ago and have been learning our flora here since. It is amazing the degree of providence by mother nature if you are aware. Sounds like your background is very interesting. My (american) boy scout troup was nothing like yours. It was fun, but mostly academic with maybe a camping trip a month in the summer, and not much in the winter. I did get to go Canoing in northern saskatchewan for 2 wks and live off the land, including catching tons of fish and crawfish to eat. Beautiful country.

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Thanks Craig for being...your presence in this community is proving to be an important catalyst to re-engage with this path.

You're welcome! I'm glad I'm not the only loony thinking about these things haha :D

I also mentioned to Kit the other day, I really like where these forums are at right now and I hope Kit doesn't reach super stardom level too quickly (sorry Kit :P), because no doubt we will lose the nice personal feel we have going on at the moment once there are too many members.

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@Craug, I agree with this sentiment. The forums has good feel.

I am/was pleasently surprised to find that the discussion could veer in this direction. I find this line of enquiry deeply fascinating and in some sense it is a logical extension of the attitudes held by many here, but it was also something that I have compartmentalized ie. how likely is it that people interested in all things movement (and stretching) share this interest? Apparently I was wrong ... that is a relief!

regards,

Frederik

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Frederik,

Basically we have a whole stack of people here doing this exact thing (traditional skills + movement + meditation). We do 5 day retreats and 2 day workshops and weekly classes and then lots of socializing around these things. Meeting lots of cool people in the process! You would really like it I'm sure :)

I think you'll really enjoy the photos from our retreats too:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/455890707816590/photos/

Deua Summerness album has lots of us foraging too :)

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Funny how some people seem to get pleasure of out killing things.

The killing is actually highly unenjoyable...but the process prior and post is, the products are (make use of everything), and the connection and respect with/for your food personally feels like a requirement of our existence and avoiding it is to not fully experience what it means for us to live and survive.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

Wow!  To say I'm a little shocked at people's "hobbies" here is an understatement.  It's bad enough and completely unnecessary that we kill animals or consume their secretions at all.  Yet here we are in a modern society discussing which type of torture we enjoy inflicting on our fellow animals friends more.  Is there no other activities available?  Or can one not enjoy themselves unless another is suffering?

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Wow!  To say I'm a little shocked at people's "hobbies" here is an understatement.  It's bad enough and completely unnecessary that we kill animals or consume their secretions at all.  Yet here we are in a modern society discussing which type of torture we enjoy inflicting on our fellow animals friends more.  Is there no other activities available?  Or can one not enjoy themselves unless another is suffering?

 

Our participation in the food chain, as consumers of animal products, is neither alarming nor cause for celebration.  It is merely consistent with our place in the world, as capable opportunistic omnivores.

 

There is a large body of evidence indicating that optimal human nutrition requires animal products.

  • Are factory farming methods abhorrent?  Should we look to minimise suffering?  Yes, but this is no indictment of meat in the human diet, but of the specific methods used to acquire it.
  • Should we be eating the WHOLE animal?  Or at the very least, as much as is edible?  Absolutely.
  • Should we be attempting to make better use of animals that are indigenous to the area?  Absolutely.
  • Should we be eating a greater proportion of seafood, particularly in a country so bountiful?  Absolutely.

With respect to indigenous animals - the kangaroo in particular - it could be seen as a dereliction of duty NOT to eat them.  They exist in plague proportions, because in a country bereft of significant alternative predators, we are not living in harmony with the land, and consuming them as did the country's first people.

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