(Be aware this blog will contain a graphic image of a being-gutted deer.)
When Thanksgiving dinner was about to start, Darby scooted into the kitchen from his day of hunting. Dense layers of camo, blood on them. He washed up and talked to another hunter in the family about the kill: he saw it, trailed it, shot it. And then, joined us at the table.
The first memory I have of associating meat with anything other than the oscar-meyer packaging was when I was in the elementary school. My mother was driving us through the trailer park and I saw a friend of mine from school running in front of his parents trailer. He was cheering. Jumping up and down. It wasn’t until we drove all the way past that I could see the dead deer, strung up in the tree behind, a blog of entrails bobbing at the same rhythm that my school friend bobbed up and down in celebration.
Last week, after everyone else left the table, I was still asking Darby questions about hunting. And learning. Did you know our unusually warm temperatures this season have an effect on the deer? Global warming = makes the hunt more difficult. (Is this the bridge dialogue that would bring conservative hunters around to some of Al Gore’s environmental priorities!?) Did you know that each county in Kentucky is rated a number between 1 and 4 and it determines things like how many deer and how long the season is?
And how about that getting a hunting license in Kentucky (as long as you’re a resident) is really affordable? Deer-only license is an easy $20, or spring for a sportsman license where you can fish and hunt other things like turkey for $95. You can buy a license HERE.
I would love to see a break-down ala Extreme Couponing that shows how much a family of 5 (who also has a great sportsman on their side) can save annually by investing in a hunting license, fishing pole, and a reliable gun? I bet they’d save a pretty penny and have alot more hours in nature and out of the fluorescents of the big box stores.
Here’s my deal with this. Do I want to go out and hunt? Or even fish, really? No, I do not. I like the outdoors and I love my front porch. I like to lay in the swing and feel the breeze and read and smell different types of weather coming: cold, rain, snow. I even like the idea of Glamping : be in the outdoor environment with none of the hassle.
I do respect sportsmen, though. It is the same way I feel about mechanics. They are brilliant and determined in ways that I have never mastered. And I trust the meat that came from Darby’s deer (seen below — ) more than most of the meat I buy in the grocery store. The way of factory farming today isn’t the picturesque family farm that we all associate. A highly recommended book on this: Eating Animals.
Yes. That photo is graphic. And red. And raw. But it is also how things really work. One of the things I strive for everyday is to better understand what I don’t. Darby, just by being himself, added extra knowledge for me this Thanksgiving and I’m grateful for that.
(Additionally, Darby is the man behind Safeline Shooting — a high-quality firearms training course in Beaver Dam, KY. Absolutely worth a look.)
- November 26 2011