Friday, November 6, 2009

adrenaline rush, sure, but i just need to put food on the table

I was excited about hunting again this year. Not because I like killing things, not because I enjoy "the chase," not because I particularly love wild game... but because it is a fairly inexpensive way to eat, and it would also entail large quantities of time with some of my favorite people.

I grew up around guns, and I have a healthy respect for them. I learned the hard way to ALWAYS pay attention to where your muzzle is pointed (got a backhand and a bloody nose for carelessly swinging it past someone one too many times), and I passed Hunter Safety and went out a few times with my dad for deer and antelope.

I am squeamish about blood and especially squeamish about wounded-but-not-dead animals. There was one time that Dad had to send me back to the truck to keep me from becoming hysterical at the prolonged suffering one poor shot of mine had caused. It wasn't more than five or ten minutes, but I was in agonies for this poor creature.

Still, a girl's gotta eat. With Rob and I still covering two mortgages and some financial wobbliness ahead, I figured that I couldn't pass up the chance to go out this year, even if Rob couldn't come because of his work schedule and residency restrictions. He had a lot of fun telling customers and co-workers that he'd sent his pretty little wife out to shoot something for our freezer, but he really really REALLY wished he could have come. Next year, sweetie!

In Bozeman, I'm surrounded by a largely split populace. There are the avid hunters (and their widows) who take the whole process very seriously, even if they are only it in for the population control and trophies. Then there are the imports, who consider hunting barbaric, even as they pick up organic grain-fed beef at the co-op.

I am neither of these, but I think it's funny that the fact that my antelope is organic doesn't sway the imports. Most folks like to think of meat as an abstract. They don't want a bloody muscle: they want prime rib, medium-rare. If anything, those who think about it a lot and find the process distasteful become vegetarians, like one of my sisters-in-law. She likes meat. She dislikes the process by which animals become meat... so she doesn't eat it. This is more honest to me than any of the shocked assemblage that can't believe a nice girl would find any pleasure in hunting and killing and gutting her own meal, even as they cheerfully grill out their organic burgers.

For the record, I actually do not gut my own kill. We never have time for that particular dance, so it's a self-fulfilling cycle. I am slow because I never practice, I never practice because I am too slow. Also, I am a bit squicky about parts of the process - as Blake said when watching, "Ow." - and I'll eat just as happily from an animal that dear old Dad gutted. The one thing I can gut is fish. I can totally handle that, which is great, because Blake dreams of having more rainbow trout fried in butter next summer.

Yep. It's confirmed: We're carnivores. I wouldn't have it any other way.


Jessielynn said...

Yep, I understand the "hunt to eat for cheap." I still remember being oh-so-grateful for some elk that came from that Wes/Addie/Blake house the fall you lived in Los Alamos. Great goulash, at a price that supported my expensive hospitality habit...

Catherine said...

I like how you sneakily called yourself a nice girl.

Cat said...

That's funny - I'm in the 'neither of those' category, too. I eat mostly organic foods, but do so because it's better for the environment, can grow a lot of my own organics veggies, and think hunting is the best, most humane, and honorable way to get good, environmentally friendly meat. I've always been puzzled by why the organic movement hasn't embraced hunting. Perhaps they should visit a slaughterhouse?
Oh, and grass-fed is better than grain-fed. Better quality meats, less fatty; better for animal health. I don't understand why that movement hasn't taken off, either. Do you?
Anyway, good job on the hunt, huntress! I'll bet R has had even more fun telling folks at work how you were successful at the hunt. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I always used to tell those disdainful of my meal preferences that at least deer have a chance to get away. I am not ashamed to say I have an empty freezer that is waiting on two generous friends to fill with deer meat. Not ashamed at all. -Crystal