The short story opens with Ulrich pacing the disputed strip of land, convinced that his enemy, Georg, is in the woods with a hunting party. His observations of the woods around him precedes the story’s action and foreshadows the violence that follows. Most notably, he describes the movement of the animals through the woods:
The roebuck, which usually kept in the sheltered hollows during a storm-wind, were running like driven things tonight, and there was movement and unrest among the creatures that were wont to sleep through the dark hours. Assuredly there was a disturbing element in the forest, and Ulrich could guess the quarter from whence it came.
In this section, the forest at night is described as unsettled and "disturbing." Ulrich also notices that deer are fleeing the forest, driven from their nightly shelter. The forest is full of animals that should be sleeping, and their flight indicates that there are also predators in the woods. Saki makes this clear early in the story to foreshadow its ending, when Ulrich and his foe are trapped beneath the tree. Stuck in place, their desperate search for rescue ends poorly when they mistake a group of wolves for one of their hunting parties. Because the presence of animals in the woods is introduced early on in the short story, the story’s final revelation—that Ulrich and Georg will not survive the night—has already been set up.
Significantly, this instance of foreshadowing also characterizes Ulrich’s rage. He ignores signs of potential danger because he is determined to find and kill Georg. Even though he notices that a storm is raging and animals are fleeing the woods, he continues to patrol. Therefore, his violent end is foreshadowed by these early signs of violence but also by his dismissal of them. His hatred makes him blind to his dangerous circumstances, which sets up the delivery of his fate at the story’s end.