Connecting with Nature #8: The Wild Soup Hunt
9th November 2016
It is a little known fact that November marks the opening of the Wild Soup hunting season. These shy non-native creatures can be found hiding in our woodlands and tracking them down can be a fun sport during our autumn forest school sessions or family walks. At this time of year their distinctive winter plumage stands out amongst the muted colours of the forest, so the canny creatures will seek shelter in nooks and crannies of rocks and thick brambles to attempt to stay away from hunters’ eyes.
The trick to a successful wild soup hunt is to use stealth and cunning. Hunters new to the sport may need briefing on the size and colour of the beasts they are looking for before they set out. Hunting as a pack, a group can spread out and cover a lot of ground, but care should be taken to keep noise to a minimum and not move too quickly, but to look carefully in every corner, as the wild soup can fit into small hollow of a tree or underneath a leaf covered rock. Small pieces of the wild soup’s pelt, snagged on brambles, is often a clue to their whereabouts.
Some hunters arm themselves with bows and arrows, but once cornered the wild soup rarely makes a break for it. As soon as a wild soup is found the hunters’ cry is heard across the woods and the trophy is promptly brought back to the campfire where the cook is ready to prepare the feast. It is thought most humane to dispatch the wild soup as quickly as possible and a quick pull on its ring pull will put a swift end to any suffering. (On her first succesful hunt, one hunter asked to be ‘blooded’, but we don’t encourage this bizarre custom.) The delicious wild soup can then be thrown into the pot to create a tasty meal. Four or five wild soups will be enough to feed a hungry forest school group. The discarded carcasses should be disposed of responsibly
It is often asked how the wild soup came to be resident in our woodlands. It is hard to be sure, but one theory is that some domestic farmed soup escaped whilst being transported to market. The soup found shelter in the woods and went native, becoming the wild soup we occasionally see today.
NB: This activity is entirely suitable for vegetarians and animal lovers and no actual wild animals are hurt in our Wild Soup hunting activity