I. Is this scene for hunting animals or humans? Is the hunter starving or is this for a sport/hobby? Usually it is the older male family members going to get food. Why did they decided to go today? Needed a new trophy? Wanted to let out steam after an argument? Practicing for a contest? Teaching a friend or loved one? Simply because they can?
II. Who came? Normally there isn’t a hunting party unless safety protocols are made. A good example would be a caravan, taking into account the safety of those left behind.
III. They could bring a dog along. If they are out hunting food then just about any animal is fair game. Squirrels, birds, rabbits, (opossum, raccoons nocturnal animals), woodchuck/ground hogs, beaver.
IV. Identify how long the hunt will last. For example, some hunters will only go for two hours after the sun rises and two hour before it sets and won’t step foot in the field otherwise. Some hunters will stay in the field longer or perhaps even sunrise to sunset. A hunt would take as long as needed to get food or if they needed to take care of things at home may have just been for the day or partial day.
I. Horseback, car or by foot. As settlers lived in one place for longer periods of time, game would become more scarce and they would have to go farther and farther out to find prey.
II. Hunting with a Bow. String jump is when the animal hears the bow string when the hunter releases the arrow, and the animal jumps instinctively making the arrow miss them completely. To combat this, hunting bows have dampeners on their bow strings.
III. A rifle, knife or traps. In colonial times the weapon of choice would be a musket or shot gun. An animal is tracked by following the sign it leaves behind: tracks, scat, and feeding sign… but if one was hunting for food the freshest sign, regardless of what the animal was, would be followed.
Finding animals will vary for the type of creature and how the character hunts. If they hunt big game and go into the forest for a day, then smelling for an animal comes in handy. Much of the time they sense game that way before seeing. Listening, too, because characters can hear them thudding against the ground, breaking twigs, and brushing against trees. Or the hunter can simply find a spot and wait for an animal to come passing by.
I. Frightening Animals is a major mistake. A problem can occur with them seeing the hunter moving; (deer and elk are color blind,) smelling them, or hearing them move. Once they get a first warning, they won’t move until they are sure the hunter is no where to be found. After the second warning, they flee, and unless the character is an expert, they’ll miss.
II. Unpredictable weather or terrain. Bumpy and sketchy areas. Other hunters. No enough game. Faulty equipment. Fatigue, tiredness. Smart and clever animals avoiding traps. Shooting the wrong animal or Pappa and Momma attacks hunter for targeting their baby.
III. Can they borrow someone else equipment or go old school and use a bow and arrow? Do they have to travel all the way back home in order to get the right gear. On the way back do they spot game that’s easy to catch without having to return home?
I. Watch the direction the wind is blowing to prevent smell. Prevent fabric rubbing against anything, a twig snapping, a candy wrapper unfolding. Avoid throwing a rock at a animal, snapping a larger branch, waving arms so the game won’t run away.
II. Hunter might take a nap to wait for the rain to clear or to gain better aim and focus. Use technology to target the appropriate animals and enhance the hunt. Move to a different location. Put on camouflage. Change animal to target something less challenging.
I. Your characters should wait before they go chasing after the animal. If they don’t, then they can risk the animal running off because it’s afraid. By remaining in hiding, the animal will lie down and die nearby.
II. Usually a 1/4 pound of meat per person, per meal to keep the family full. So a 50 pounds of meat, roughly one deer, could be 200 meals if cooked with vegetables and a variety of other goodies. Unless it’s a fawn (baby) then one kill will be plenty. For other animals it varies. How big is the family? Is s/he hunting for a trophy instead? Practicing for a contest?
I. For a big game animal, they will want to field dress it before carrying it out. This is to cover the blood and guts, prevent contamination. The blood is mostly gray, yellowish organs which oozes out. Your character will also need to skin the animal.
II. In a hunting party, the character can quarter the deer and divvy the pieces to those in the party to carry. Some could be ingenious and rig a travois. That’s a type of sled formerly used by North American Indians to carry goods, consisting of two joined poles dragged by a horse or dog.
III. They may bring the deer back whole in order to use everything that could be used, including the hide bone and antlers. It could be used as tools, sold, or made into useful objects.
I. Are there loads of accidentally killed animals lying around. Any equipment left or a marker to remind the hunters where to return next time? Do the humans leave the place as if no one was there or they be sure to keep a clear presence?
II. Would they return? Do they take pictures? Spit at the ground in disrespect? Kiss the ground thanking it for the edible meat? Dance from excitement for catching game? Share a portion of their catch with animals or strangers? Look back one last time, saying goodbye to the hunting ground?
I. They will smell the blood, the stench of fresh kill. See the lifeless body, blood oozing through the dressing perhaps. Hear silence from the hunted of it banging against something, sliding side to side in the back.
II. How is the conversation between the hunters on the way back home? Are they proud of their hunt? Disappointing? Wanting to try a new technique next time? Not liking their equipment? This will allow the readers a better insight into your characters mind w/o doing heavy internal conflict.