I remember not caring much and being frankly surprised that the meat tasted as amazing as it had. I have recreated this scenario with friends and loved ones who have never had venison, a trickery of sorts simply because if you ask someone who does not hunt, Would you enjoy some venison with that cracker and bovine curd?, nine times out of ten, the person will reply (rudely or ignorantly, I know not) with some version of: "Ew! No! I don't want to eat Bambi!" or "Like, deer, like the ones with the big, pretty eyes that stand in my backyard? Um, like no thanks..." The fact that the inherent problem with people's attitudes towards deer meat is based in a Disney movie where animals speak English is concerning, but not as much as an individual's attitude after they've tasted your offering.
Last year, before moving to North Carolina, I worked at a school for at risk youth. I loved the job, the kids were great (even those who threw chairs at me, cursed me out, or called me a leprechaun; lovely little cherubs) and I would have stayed there have opportunity not knocked, beckoning me south. After I harvested my Thanksgiving doe, I refused to buy any kind of meat until the heft of her weight vanished from my freezer. Therefore, daily, I would bring leftovers for lunch to school. The kids, or vultures wrapped in human skin as I frequently saw them, would surround my desk, pleading for a morsel of my lunch. When I told them that it came from a deer walking around just weeks prior, I would receive the stock answers covered above (see fig. 1). I was barred from sharing my food, anyways, with the piranhas but I did decide to share with one of the intervention staff. The staff, consisting of one of my best friends and a trio of the biggest African American men you have ever seen in your life, didn't know my little Tupperware container was filled with big, doe-eyed deer meat. I gave each a piece, then after it was ingested, told them I killed it just miles away. What resulted was a show of jumping, gagging and expletive-expelling of the most non-manly sort. The boys, obviously displeased with my act of treason to the clan, expelled me from their office.
My mother, the woman who was initially confounded by my adopted hunting persona and who, after hearing about my first buck, screamed in joy, needed a little convincing as far as wild game went when she visited our humble (read: gross and temporary) home last Christmas. DU and I had recently gone duck hunting so we had decided the best course of action was to offer the delight to my mom as a welcome to North Carolina. My mom, upon hearing this, turned a pale shade of green, then went on to explain that she really didn't like duck, the duck she had had in her youth was fatty, unappetizing. She implored that we make something else, when we rejected her proposal, she grumbled something about what an "ungrateful, wicked, disappointing" daughter I was, then began to heat up some leftover macaroni and cheese. She was content, until, of course, the perfume of recently-flying duck filled the small kitchen. After a small bite, my mother loaded up her plate with the wild game and inhaled it all. This year, she has requested that we save a duck or two for her when she visits for New Year's.
I mulled all of this over nights ago as I feasted upon my own concoction consisting of ground venison, egg noodles, mozzarella, cheddar, salsa and a ton of pepper. The meal was stunning, filling and most of all, humbling, as I had helped DU field dress the animal. Hunters always say that food always tastes better when he or she has killed it by his or her lonesome and I can't rightly disagree. I have written a lot about the reasons I hunt, going as far as dedicating an entire post to the topic last year, so we don't really have to revisit the catalysts that propel me from my warm bed to the frosty woods. However, in recalling the near hits and misses of my past concerning the layperson's attitude towards wild game, I was brought to the quandary, why do other hunters hunt?
The first person to face this question was DU, who was forced to answer during our 11/11/11 adventure which will be covered at a later date. I told him what I was thinking about, which snowballed into a discussion about "professional" hunters seeing killing an animal as a "profession" more than an ancient, beautiful ritual. We discussed at length about this side of commercialized hunting, how these hunters and huntresses disassociate the actual kill from the paycheck once the DVD is released, how they are able to pass on perfectly good dear, and what personal morals come into play. DU stated, and I agree with this, sadly, that the majority of deer hunters watching these shows want to see the gigantic, steroid-filled bucks fall, not a doe or spike and that beliefs such as ours, that any deer is a "shooter" because it will all become dinner anyway, are in the minority. The conversation went in many different directions, including separating waterfowl hunters into a separate category, as "trophy" hunting is nearly impossible for that crazy group, but we ended up exactly where we began, talking about the reasons we hunt. He went on to explain, that he hunts in order to "watch the beauty of nature in its purest form come to life in the morning and to rest at night..to provide fresh, chemical-free food to my self and family.. and to get the (expletive) away from the 'real' world". DU sees hunting as not only a way to free himself from the rigors of everyday life but also to really enjoy nature in the most ancient way possible, in a tree or upon water.
Never allowing a good idea to go to waste, I put this question to the followers of HLYH on Facebook and friends of The Writing Huntress on Twitter. I got some pretty nifty responses in return. I was surprised, honestly, that so many were willing to tell their stories, as personal as they are. As the tales below begin to weave separate worlds into a quilt of outdoorsmanship, feel free to reflect and share your reasons why you hunt. In a world that is full of negative connotations surrounding hunters, it is important to show your pride, your passion and your respect for all that lie within the wooden confines of where we call home.
Finish this statement:
The reasons I hunt are as follows:
I was introduced to hunting and the great outdoors at a very young age.
I grew up in small towns in rural Manitoba,my father a local Baptist preacher my mother working administrative jobs i am the youngest out of 5 children and the only boy,my parents did not make a lot of money so are diet was mainly wild meat such as deer and waterfowl and what my mother grew in her huge garden :) I learned a lot growing up that way and hunting and great outdoors became my true passion in life as a adult.
I love teaching people to hunt and about the great outdoors and watching them use their new skills and seeing the excitement on their faces weather they are hunting or just hiking through the great outdoors it brings me such joy :)
To get to see the sunrise. ;)and to hear the wings of the ducks and geese but the best of all is to hear the turkey gobble on them spring morning there is nothing better.
There's nothing more peaceful and calming to be in the woods at sunrise to be alone with oneself and God. To witness the majesty of a turkey in full strut and hear him drum 10 feet from you or to have a mature white tail buck that you have worked so hard for come walking in with frost on his back and so close you can see the smoke from his nose every time he breathes. That is why I hunt.
Because its my calling, it's what I was born to do.
I was not raised hunting and fishing. In fact most of my friends and family are not all that supportive, but I like knowing exactly where my free range grass fed organic meat comes from and that it was killed humanly. I like knowing that I struggled in acquiring it and truly appreciate my bounty especially when I get skunked and have to dig into the freezer. I know this is going to sound but I also like knowing my free time was used productively. I feel guilty watching TV or doing something nonproductive like playing softball etc. Yes I know that's weird.
Allen "The Owner" B.
"All I want to do is manipulate and kill waterfowl"
To spend time with God, To reflect on who I am and where I am going, To enjoy God's Creation to its fullest, Food in the freezer, Fellowship with other hunters, a break from life, and lastly, never just for a trophy.
the feeling of inner piece that I absolutely can not get anywhere else. Calming and cleansing for my mind and soul.
I enjoy the being part of nature and the overall beauty of it and the look of the creatures.
The feeling of peace and closeness to God,the beauty of His hands' work,the thrill & excitement of seeing such a majestic animal. The rush of the kill.
To carry on the traditions my family has passed down to me, the thrill, and the peaceful/ relaxing nature of it all
To relax, enjoy nature, spend time with my husband & maybe provide for the table.
To pass on ethical hunting to my children & spend time making memories that will last a lifetime.