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Archive for August, 2010


I believe it is paramount that every hunter know the difference between intelligence and instinct. Mastering this skill can mean having a keener eye to a successful hunt. The definitions to the words intelligence and instinct are easy to come by but it is both challenging and fun to be able to identify them in real-time.

When a dog trainer is teaching a dog to sit down, he or she will use a voice command combined with a hand gesture moving in a downward motion. Once the dog sits he is then given a reward such as a biscuit. This could be considered as a transfer of knowledge in which intelligence and memory are used.

Dogs do not understand what the word “Sit” means like we do but they can remember the downward motion of the hand telling them to sit and they may also potentially understand the stern voice command and recognize the sound of the word “Sit”. This to me is intelligence being demonstrated and if the dog learns fast then this is the sign of advanced levels of intelligence.

In one of my previous posts “Eyes on me”, I wrote about a Woodchuck that was actually watching me from his spy hole after I had scared him away from his primary hole located in the field. The spy hole was in the forest edge behind me and he used it to see if the area was safe. Once I left the area he came back out across the forest floor to the primary hole because I was no longer there. This is intelligence!

Now for instinct, when I got too close to the Woodchuck’s den, he would thump his paws repeatedly on the ground to alert the others along with letting out a few whistles; this is instinct. It was instinctive for him to make alerting sounds for the others just as it was instinctive for him to sunbathe in the sun to keep warm around mid-morning on a summer day.

The following weekend I used my keen eye on both points and managed to sneak up to the spy hole without the Woodchuck setting off his instinctive alert calls and went directly for the spy hole first instead of the primary hole and harvested the second Woodchuck that remained. It was another successful hunt because I had an eye on instinct and intelligence.

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