Thoughts on Hunting
Hunting is a complicated, interesting topic. Some consider it cruel and excessive, while others see it as a sustainable means to store up enough meat to last through the winter (and usually for more than one family).
Jenna Woginrich recently shared some compelling thoughts on her own hunting season.
So far this hunting season has not produced a single ounce of venison for the table. I was given the gift of several chances to take some beautiful deer, but my inexperience, hesitation, and general clumsiness had a way of trumping any celestial opportunities granted. So I haven’t been able to bag a deer and maybe I won’t. It seems like the deer have caught on to our shenanigans and places once crawling with cervine activity are now barren as the harvested corn fields around Washington County. Well, barren of corn. Seems like every harvested corn field in the county is crawling with deer I can’t legally shoot. Deer are like men. You see them everywhere you can’t have them.
I have been writing about hunting a lot, and that’s because I am doing a lot of it. If I am not taking care of the farm or running errands I am in the forest or a tree stand. The Hunt has taken on a mythical veil to me, it’s something more than just aiming a gun at a buck. It is hours and hours of silent meditation, but meditation on the edge. Kind of like sitting in the lotus position on the edge of your roof. Probably nothing will happen, but if it does you better be ready, safe, fast, and wolf-quick in your decisions. It’s exhausting and frustrating and exhilarating at the same time.“
To me a hunter is someone who takes life for the table, not the wall mount.”
I have also been getting lots of emails and comments with advice. Some say to leave the bucks to the breeding stock and aim for a small doe. Some say get the largest animal you can for your tag, ensuring more meat in the freezer. I read all these comments and emails and smile, because these are tips for people who have the luxury of choice! Darling, I will be lucky as a duck to even get a *chance* to shoot a deer this season and it won’t matter to me if it’s a ten-point buck or a graying doe on the lam from another hunter. I will take the animal chance, luck, and a good quick death offers (if I am lucky enough to have one). If I do manage to shoot, kill, and gut a deer it will be thanked. It will be professionally butchered. It will feed myself and friends over storied meals of how the beast went down. And it might inspire other women to take up the good sport, too.
I think that attitude is what makes me a hunter, not the actual taking of a life. To approach the hunt with respect, patience (working on this one), and wonder. I saw those poachers shooting at cheap hits from the road and they may have a garage full of deer at their homes, but they aren’t hunters. They are killers. Out for the easiest path to results, regardless of law, other people, or safety. To me a hunter is someone who takes life for the table, not the wall mount. It takes it with humility and the understanding that we too will die someday.
How do you feel about hunting?
This article originally appeared on BarnHeart.com. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.
Photo Credit: NRCS USDA
Chris Regan and Ashley Mayne produce a wide array of delicious greens for the Hudson Valley.
With his new book, Forrest Pritchard tells the stories of 18 farms from all across America.
Forrest Pritchard and Smith Meadows are prime examples of sustainable family farming.
Jonathan Waxman shares his food philosophy with Slow Films.
A group of star chefs play with fire for a good cause.