Informant- So whenever a young adult kills his first deer the group of hunters performs a blood tradition that celebrates the kill. After skinning the animal, the friends smear blood across the young hunter’s face. The young hunter is usually squeamish but accepts the honor of the tradition. Then the hunter must wear the blood with pride and wait for it to dry.”
Background: The informant learned this tradition when he first killed a deer and participated. He felt the tradition was an important moment to celebrate killing his first deer. Wearing the deer’s blood is a prideful notion. The tradition is important because it celebrates the hunting practice and is a rite of passage. The informant explains that the blood rituals express respect for the hunter and the animal.
Context: The tradition is usually performed by hunting partners to the hunter that has killed his first deer. The hunter is usually a young adult embarking on his first experience killing a larger animal.
Thoughts: This tradition is a right of passage in the hunting community. It is a tradition that celebrates killing your first deer. This tradition circulates around the hunting community in many variations and changes from making the hunter bite into the deer’s heart or pushing his face into the deer’s guts. The ritual brings exclusivity to the group and ties them together with a bond of respect and honor. The ritual offers a way to give respect to the deer. The tradition can be dated back for many years and represents an initiation into the hunting world. This tradition is dated back to the 700s A.D as a tribute to St. Hubert. In this version of the tribute, the hunter received crosses with blood placed on his forehead and cheeks. This tribute gave thanks to the animal and celebrated the hunter.