Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

October 16, 2007

I hunt, therefore I am.

I eat meat. A lot less than I used to but yeah, I'm a carnivore. I'm also trying to be more responsible about what I put into my body. This isn't why I began hunting, but as I see it, it fits in perfectly.
Hunting is always something that I wanted to do. I grew up in Southern California, and although it's not a barren wastland for hunters, as you may expect, it's not a very common thing. My dad grew up here in Utah, and as a young man he and his brothers hunted every year. It was a very different affair then than it is now. He has told me of the nights sleeping in a "shepards tent", a wool blanket on top of a tarp then flipped over the top of you. They also didn't only hunt for the sport of it; meat was expensive, and they weren't rich. I think that this perspective may have lead my father away from taking me hunting as a kid. I am glad to say that for the last five years, last year excluded due to a broken arm with two metal plates and 12 screws, my dad has made it a point of coming up here and sharing the experience with me. This year, I will have the privilidge of sharing it with my 12 yr old C~.
In todays fast world, where nearly everything we consume is cut cleaned packed and prepared with little to no interaction from us, I think it is important to share something that brings us into intimite contact with where our food comes from. It helps us to define anew our position in the world, and in the food chain. Growing a garden is much the same thing but the relationship is different. I can neglect my garden from time to time, pick some and perhaps not use it soon enough, but the plant persists and completes it's life cycle. To hunt, at it's most elemental, is to take a life to sustain another. There is a level of responsibility in that action that exists nowhere else. I am responsible to the animal that I take, to respect it by ensuring that I am effective and concise in my taking of it. I also have a responsibility to my son, and to other hunters, to ensure that I pass on not only the craft of pursuing the game to him, but the ethics and sense of responsibility in it. Also, much in the same way that my father hunted for meat, I too hunt to eat. I would take a trophy buck if one presented itself, but that is not my purpose. No matter how hard I've looked, I've never found a good recipe for antlers.
I know there are a lot of people out there that look unfavorably on hunting and in turn on hunters. They see it as an unnecessary act, a cruelty and a barbarism held onto by beer guzzling partiers with guns. Let's be realistic, in some circumstances that is true, but hunters are also some of the greatest conservationists in the nation. Without them and the fees they pay, many of our national parks and game preserves would not exist. As humans we are not removed from the wild world, as much as it may seem at times. Because we live here, and because our impact is felt regardless of how hard we try to reduce it, we have a responsibility to manage our herds and to optimize their range and numbers. I hope to be a part of that managment program, but I'll leave that to the fates.

I'd love to hear from you on this. What are your feelings? Are you opposed? Will you never read me again because of it? I'm curious.


Ulla said...

Hi again,
I am not hunting but several years ago I took the Swedish hunting exam, though I never learnt how to deal with the gun. But it is really nice to be out there and see all nature and if you are lucky you may shoot a deer. Have a nice time with your son.

Anonymous said...

If I had read this post 15 years ago, I would have quit reading you. I hated hunters with a passion. I grew up surrounded by state land, and every fall, the "hunters" would come in droves, sit and drink beer all day, shine their spotlights on us all night long and brag about shooting family pets in their boredom. I really hated (and still don't like, to be honest with you) the coyote "hunters" who release their pack of dogs on a coyote, and sip on their beer while watching the dogs rip the coyote to shreds. I've seen the worst a man can be while claiming to be hunters and to be honest with you it made me lose respect for all, including my own family members. But, I'm older and wiser and have nothing but respect for the type of hunting you are talking about. In fact, my husband has recently shown an interest in hunting himself and I will of course support him.

Trina said...

Humans are not meant to live a totally vegetarian lifestyle. Then again, we're not meant to eat steak and potatoes every night of the week either. There is balance there. Hunting would be my optimal way of meeting our need for meat, but since we are still learning how to make the bows and arrows that will be used for hunting, I settle for getting meat from a small local farmer. Kudos to you for being mindful of the life you are taking. Antlers may not make a good soup, but they do make great buttons. What parts of the deer do you utilize? Do you keep the sinew? Tan the hide? Find uses for the parts that most hunters consider trash?

Shannon @ Some Fine Taters said...

I think hunting is great!

Farm Mom's perspective is interesting. I've had sort of a reversed experience. I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and hunting (and fishing) are very common activities for the majority of people there. Most combine the recreational and economic/nutritional aspects of the activities. I don't know of anyone who hunts or fishes and doesn't eat the meat, though people fall on various ends of the spectrum between recreation and necessity. Also, in Washington no one baits or uses dogs. I'm pretty sure those activities are not legal there, though they may be for certain types of game. Anyone who did bait or hunt with dogs (assuming it was legal) would be looked down on for not being a "real" hunter. In our current home of North Carolina, however, baiting and dogs are the way hunting is done. And since we're from Washington, we don't think these folks are "real" hunters.

Count spotlighting in the same vein as baiting & dogs.

P~ said...

Thanks all for your input, Farm Mom, So glad to not be losing you, your one that I count on seeing in the statcounter and the comments sections.
I've hunted before around people like the kind your talking about. Not with mind you but around. They don't get it, and I don't want to be around them.

Trina, you make a good point, I have not made full use of the deer in the past. I have kept the antlers of course, I wanted to make a handle for a knife with them. I do want to tan the hide if I get one this year though. Thanks for mentioning it.

Rosa said...

I decided a long time ago if I couldn't get my hands bloody I'd go vegan.

I bowhunted in high school, but never did manage to bring anything down. Which is good - i've cleaned fowl but I don't know if I could field-dress a deer. We eat a lot of venison, thanks to the gun-hunters in our extended family & friends circle. If I could manage to eat only flesh from backyard chickens, hunted deer, and farmed bison, I'd be a happy omnivore.

That said, it's plain wrong to hunt coyotes and wolves. Not only do they have an innate right to exist, we need them in the ecosystem. There are too many deer. They eat native plants and kill off the young trees we're going to need if the North Woods are going to adapt to climate change. Some idiot got caught running down a wolf with a snowmobile up here a few years ago, and folks like that give hunters a bad name, along with all the drunken idiots shooting at cows and Great Danes.

My boyfriend is too softhearted to hunt (or keep chickens) and I've thought about going out with fruebds myself, but I'm not sure I've got the patience or the eyesight, anymore. Plus, people keep giving us venison anyway :)