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Sorry, I don't recall much, this is very faint UK memories from the 1970's, I think it was a novella in an anthology.

The protagonist is (I think) a native bearer with an Earthmen hunting party. He is on a diaspora colony world that has, a few years before he was born, been found again by an expanding Terran Empire.

On this world there is a fierce creature (zero memory of a description) and, to be classed as an adult in their society, you have to single handedly kill one of these creatures. Once you kill one you get a dot tattooed on your forehead, some veterans have three or four dots. .

Once Earthmen heard of this their big game hunters excitedly came from all around the galaxy and soon there was a shortage of the beasts, the planetary rulers imposed quotas and tariffs to ensure a steady income, what this means is people like the protagonist can't afford to hunt a creature and thus attain adulthood.

The other bearer's on the safari sneer and call him Blanky (or Blankie?) I think (not sure) that a crisis happens and he then shows his bravery in what will become a new adulthood ritual.

marked as duplicate by Otis, Ward, Jenayah, TheLethalCarrot, Voldemort's Wrath Aug 19 at 22:08

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  • I can see it's marked as a duplicate but they look like totally different questions to me. One is about giant beasts killing people, the other is about a forest taking biological samples with flying leaves. Was that the same story? Or are they separate stories in the same anthology by one author? – DannyMcG Aug 20 at 2:24
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    Hi Danny. It is the same story. The phytos are part of the native life that the Mordinmen are trying to destroy with their bioweapon. We routinely link questions that are about the same book. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your question - it's just to guide anyone who might be interested to the previous question as well. – John Rennie Aug 20 at 5:07
  • Aha, right, it's been so long since I read it I forgot about the bio weapon thing, I just remembered the creatures ...my grandson came to see me at the weekend with a circular stud mark on his forehead after playing football, he stated "it's a mark of growing up" :- right away my memory went spiralling back to some old sci fi story! – DannyMcG Aug 20 at 5:36
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Hunter, Come Home by Richard McKenna. From the anthology Casey Agonistes.

Previously identified as the answer to Ecological tale of a world covered by a forest that is all one organism

The beast is a Great Russel and it's native to the planet Mordin that has been colonised by Earthmen. It's considered a rite of manhood for young men on Mordin to hunt and kill a Great Russel:

For Mordinmen, courage was the supreme good.They were descendants of a lost Earth colony that had lapsed to a stone age technology and and fought its way back to gunpowder in ceaseless war against the fearsome Great Russel dinotheres that were the dominant life-form on Planet Mordin before men came. For many generations young candidates for manhood went forth in a sworn band to kill a Great Russel with spears and arrows. When rifles came they hunted him singly. Survivors wore the red dot of manhood and fathered the next generation.

But as you say they have been overhunted and it's now very expensive to buy the right to kill one. The young man they call Blanky is Roy Craig and his family is too poor to buy him a Great Russel hunt.

The Mordinmen are on a mission to terraform a new planet, but it goes wrong when a bioweapon called Thanasis that they are using for the terraforming gets out of control. At the end Craig fights the main jock, a chap called Wilde, and defeats him.

I've already said this in my previous answer but it bears repeating. This is a wonderful collection of stories. As far as I know it is the only science fiction McKenna published and he clearly saved his best work for it. It's hard to find these days, but if you can find a copy I highly recommend it.

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