Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A New Take on Hunting Bambi

I'm not a hunter. I'm 97.386% vegetarian. I don't think I knew any hunters before I moved to the Gravel Road from the city and I'm one of those who think that animals, with the exception of possums, are cute. There are currently 6 cats calling our place home, and one is currently sleeping on my lap, but that's another story. 
In short, I was not a big fan of the concept of hunting and I subscribed to the liberal, 'humane' view that hunting is yucky. And hunters are mean people who kill Bambi.
Hunting is part of the fabric of life on the Gravel Road. November and December may mean Christmas and concerts and shopping to people in the city. But out here...people hunt. And go to concerts and parties and shop!
I've had to come to terms with it. I've thought about it a lot over the years, because it's right at my front door. Literally. Hunters come to ask permission to hunt on our farms. We give it. It took some time, but I have come to the point where I (nearly) celebrate it. In spite of my prejudices.
Here's why:
"Thanks" from the hunters. 
  • the hunters ask permission
  • they follow the rules- wearing orange, hunting where we tell them (away from houses and me walking), have their licenses and tags, etc.
  • they truly appreciate the opportunity- if it weren't for the farmers, they wouldn't be able to hunt (ie, there's no 'free, open, unowned land' around)
  • they keep an eye on our woods and will let us know if there's anything amiss
  • they don't leave a trace- they take out what they take in
  • they say thank you (for us... wine, chocolate, and all the ketchup or canned beans you can throw a stick at)
  • they use the entire animal
  • the hunt helps keep the deer population in check, since there are no longer any other natural predators in the area. We're happy to give some of our harvest to Bambi (and Rocky the Raccoon and Sammi the Squirrel) to live on, but they do a lot of damage, so some kind of balance is needed.
The guys (and it's all men who hunt here, though there are women and there has been one girl hunting with her dad) have the meat butchered and put it in their freezers.They eat what they kill.
It's organic, local, heritage, hormone and antibiotic-free, non-GMO. There's a direct connection between the food and the consumer. There's little energy used in transport (usually 2-4 guys in the truck, and they carry it home) and within the proverbial 100-miles.
I'd say, in fact, that it makes a more authentic, local  meal than going to the grocery store. 
This week, it's black powder. The guns look like automatic rifles, but they have to re-load after every shot. It's not easy. When it's not black powder, it's cross-bow. It's not like being at a shooting gallery. These guys have to work at it.

Let the hunt begin. Let my wine cellar grow! There will be chocolate for dessert.

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