Sacred Hunt

Adult Programs: West Pathway

Pathway Overview

The Sacred Hunt is a complete training philosophy in every aspect of primitive hunting. Designed to take students from point A to point B in one season. Point A being a basic understanding of hand tools and animal patterns, to point B being a completed self bow and matching arrows capable of harvesting big game, confidence in shot placement and execution, knowledge of preseason scouting practices, in depth training in tracking, trailing and harvesting and the ability to get within 10 ft of a whitetail deer, undetected. The Sacred Hunt is an incredibly challenging Pathway filled with exhilaration, reward, humility and no guarantees.

The Sacred Hunt 1 – 3 are a part of the Pathway Philosophy we teach at White Pine. The instructors in this course have been working on these skills for decades and intend to continue actively learning on this Pathway for the rest of their lives. As such, no intensive can take you to mastery without years of dedication. What we can accomplish, with any focused student, is get you past the most difficult beginner stage in each of the core disciplines required to harvest big game with primitive weapons.

Specifically, The Sacred Hunt 1-3 are a continuum of Bows, Arrows and Hunting, each course will have a primary and secondary focus allowing for review and steady growth.

As intimidating as these topics are, remember our DNA was forged in the fires of hunting, tracking, knapping and bow building. That DNA is in you. This is the same Pathway our ancestors have walked for millions of years.

For greater learning and collaboration Sacred Hunt 1 – 3 can be attended repeatedly. Having a mentor on this Path is incredibly helpful and can shave decades off of your learning curve. Leadership roles are offered to returning students. Advancements down this Pathway are not only individual, they are collective.

About the Sacred Hunt Programs

Sacred Hunt 1 Overview

The primary focus of Sacred Hunt 1 will be the ancient art of Traditional Bow Building (building a self bow from a wild harvested sapling). This intensive will also include a comprehensive introduction to primitive hunting, beginning flint knapping, tracking and pre-season scouting.

Participants will be mentored through a complex discovery of scientific principles and creative expression.

Curriculum includes:

  • Sapling selection and harvesting
  • Splitting
  • Chasing a growth ring
  • Bow design
  • Hatchet and rasp reduction
  • String building
  • Bracing
  • Tillering
  • Heat Treating and backings
  • Shooting
  • Finishing

Students should expect thorough instruction and lots of hands on experiential woodworking. A variety of tools from sledges and wedges to drawknives, hatchets and rasps will be utilized. Hours of hard labor and focus allows for deep connections to be made between the students and their craft.

The secondary focus of Sacred Hunt 1 will be introductions into flint knapping, archery, tracking and gear.

Class Details

Class begins Thursday night at 8 PM and concludes Sunday at 1 PM. Food and lodging will be provided.

Sacred Hunt 2 Overview

The primary focus in Sacred Hunt 2 will be Arrows. This is a dynamic class with a primary focus on flint knapping and a secondary focus on primitive pitch, glues and fibers, arrow shaft harvesting, straightening and curing, fletching styles and techniques, spine and arrow weight.

An arrow is many technologies tied together and matched to the bow, which in turn is matched to the bow builder and archer and eventually becomes an extension of the hunter him/herself. As Grandfather Ishi said, “Bows don’t kill deer, arrows kill deer.”

Of all the variables in arrow construction the art of flint knapping is by far the most complex. We will spend the majority of our time on the nuances of percussion and pressure flaking stone into quality arrowheads capable of harvesting big game.

In addition to our primary and secondary focus we will have time for content review of Sacred Hunt 1. This will allow students to incorporate some advanced bow building techniques into their tool kit. We will also preview some pre-season scouting and gear content in order to prepare for the hunting season in Sacred Hunt 3.

Sacred Hunt 2 is a four day crash course in arrows. Our emphasis will be the complex art of self arrow construction. This includes thorough instruction in flint knapping, wild shaft selection and preparation, harvesting and making adhesives like pitch, sinew and glue, optimal fletching styles and matching arrow spine to your bow. Additionally, we will dive more deeply into preseason tracking, biology and advanced bow building principles.

Sacred Hunt 3 Overview

The primary focus of this course will be The Hunt. Every aspect of clothing, gear, biology, tracking, stalking, awareness, ground blinds, tree sits, camouflage, scent management, shot execution, blood analysis, trailing, tagging, skinning and honoring will be covered.

The secondary focus will be review of the bow, arrow, hunting continuum with time for more advanced principles of bow and arrow design.

The hunting season is a time of hope, excitement and exhilaration. This is felt even more so by the primitive archer who has been working on their skills and tackle for countless months.

There is a wealth of information available on deer biology and hunting that we recommend you take advantage of. But true guidance on getting within 10 yards if not 10 feet of the elusive white tailed deer and executing an archery shot while remaining undetected, is hard to find. In fact it is a true right of passage just to be able to draw your bow on a deer from that distance, let alone harvest.

This course will include in depth and comprehensive mentoring in every aspect of primitive hunting. We teach towards the hunting apex of harvesting a white tailed deer with stone, which complements every other expression of hunting.

Sacred Hunt 3 will be run in a remote location during hunting season.

Sacred Hunt 3 is a four day crash course in primitive hunting. To quote an Inuit hunter, “The great peril of our existence lies in the fact our diet consists entirely of souls’. To our ancestors hunting was not only a necessity, it was a Sacred Rite. The patience and strength required to make your own hunting tackle will prepare you for the hunt. Getting within 20 yards of a deer is an incredible process of research, tracking and direct observation. Getting within 3 yards of a deer requires camouflaging of the body, and mind and a complete opening of the spirit. In this course we will go deeply into the philosophy of primitive hunting, the baseline language of the forest vs alarm, moving, stalking, ground and tree sits, shot execution and blood trailing. This course will be in a hunting location so participants can hunt each day with guidance in the selection and preparation of sit spots. We will have in depth archery form analysis and time for improving our bows, arrows, gear.

Upcoming Classes:

Questions? Give us a call/send an email and we will get back to you.

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Matt Smith and Matt Shull are seasoned primitive skills practitioners and mentors – you will get the highest quality training possible in the country!

The Journey of The Hunt

The journey begins with the selection and harvest of a sapling and moves to splitting and preparing a stave. Next comes chasing a growth ring and preparing the back of the bow, then design principles and mapping the bow. Next comes Hatchet and rasp reduction moving to knife scraping, floor tillering, string construction, bracing, draw length and final tillering, then comes finishes and advanced techniques for improving cast.

Taking a break from bow building we move to arrowheads and the science of Flint knapping. Sapling selection of shafts, straightening and preparation lead us to find, sinew, glues and pitch. Next comes arrow spine, length and weight then matching these factors with draw weight.
With a hunting weight bow and arrows completed we move to the nuanced world of primitive archery.

As we discover our natural form with some gentle modifications we find that our Arrow groupings tighten and our range increases.
After archery comes the ancient art of tracking. Preseason scouting, trails and rubs are followed by ground blinds, tree sits, and camouflage of every sense.

Building deep ecological understanding through research, journaling and direct observation allows students to develop strategies for the pre-rut vs peak rut vs post and secondary ruts.

We’ll conclude with shot placement analysis, hair and blood analysis, trailing strategies, pressure releases and finally harvesting.

Essential to the technical instruction of these skills will be the inclusion of the roll that food played in traditional societies. The sacredness of each animal and plant, the songs that accompanied them and the practices, rituals and ceremonies used to cleanse and humble oneself. The sacred hunt is a life-changing endeavor.