Many hunters have been asking why hunters put tree branch in the killed game's mouth. This is a tradition performed by the hunters, honoring the perished animal. The tradition is used only for big game (wild boar, roe buck, deer etc.). The brunch is from a tree from the surrounding vegetation which the game uses daily as food. Most common are Pine, Alder, Oak and Beech.


Branch of capturing: After the dead animal is found, a branch, as big as your forearm, from its closest tree is snapped and put on the animal’s left shoulder (the game should always be put on its stomach, although in Germany and Hungary it is allowed to put wild boars on their right side as well). This shows the ownership of the animal and it is being killed following the hunters’ rules and etiquette.


The last bite: Another branch with the size of a palm is placed in the animal’s mouth. This is called “the last bite of the animal” and symbolizes humility, gratefulness and respect to the nature for the shot animal. The branch should be placed by the shooter. In the older days, classic hunting “the last bite” was performed only for male trophies, but nowadays this tradition is used for both male and female animals.


The shooter’s branch: A branch as big as a span is being brushed in the animal’s wound and then handed over to the shooter. The presenter should put the branch over his hat or flat side of his knife and deliver it with his left hand. The presenter passes the branch congratulating the shooter and the shooter accepts the branch saying thanks to the hunters for the good hunt. They execute this ritual by handshake over the animal’s body. After that the shooter puts the branch on the right side of his hat symbolizing that he is the shooter. The branch should be worn only on the day of the kill and should be only one piece regardless if there are several animals killed by the same shooter. The hunters collect those branches in a box until the end of the year, when they take them out of the box and evaluate the hunting harvest. 

NOTE: always respect the game and its body and walk around it! NEVER step, kneel, sit or stand on it! This is just a part of the hunters’ etiquette towards the shot animals which we will discuss in another article.