The Hunt Comes Home

By | March 24, 2011

While putting the finishing touches on a collection of tracking stories, I came to realize that not all of them have happy endings—at least in the eyes of some. When a trail leads to a kill site, the sign often tells me a story laden with pain and fear. And the bloody scene does not end there—surviving family members can be plagued with grief and hardship.

This is the nature of the hunt. No matter how well it is executed or how quick the kill, the hard reality is that someone eats and someone gets eaten. The hunter might appear to be the fortunate one, as he has provided for his mate and offspring and feels good about it.

The hunted one could be just as fortunate. It may have been a good time for her to die, as she often has a debilitating disease or injury, or she may be too old to continue providing for her family and herself. When she releases her spent body to its next intended purpose, she creates space for the coming young.

Whether or not we view a hunt as having a happy or sad ending, and whether we deem it a success or a failure, I suggest that we consider every hunt a triumph just because it happened. After all, hunting is what got us here, and without all of its terrible beauty, life as we know it would cease to exist. When I see the hunt continuing in its own timeless way, any personal frustration or despair over the perilous state of the world just melts away.

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