I missed posting last week because of hunting season. We went up to my parents for the week. They don’t have the internet. We were up before dawn bundling up to sit in the cold and back again at dusk. In the meantime there were meals to make, housekeeping to tend to and just visiting.
The area we were in was pretty unrestricted but we did need to have everything inspected. There is a prion, like mad cow disease, that has been invading the deer herds. The state is trying to track its spread. Given that we hunt for meat rather than for trophies this is kind of important.
There are a lot of views on hunting and a lot of reasons to hold those views. I like wild meats and having them makes a significant impact on my very tight budget. My family has always supplemented the grocery budget this way, even the farmers. It makes sense to me to know that something has to die for me to eat.
Participating (even if it just means sitting with a gun in my lap waiting for Karina to shoot something) in this annual ritual is a way to connect to my heritage, my ancestry. Through both lines I come from northern climates, where hunting was an essential food supply. My people were not city folk, and even when they were they stayed involved with natural cycles.
Growing up in my family I’ve cleaned fish, tapped maple trees and weeded gardens. I’ve tried my hand at milking a cow and had pigs, chickens, and goats butchered to accommodate my visiting the farm. I’ve always known where my food came from.
Karina’s generation is even further removed from food sources than mine. As a chef food is important to her. In taking up hunting she is also committed to learning how to field dress an animal, how to process it and of course how to prepare the meat. The fact of the matter is that she’s the one doing all the work. I’m just making space in my freezer.
This year hunting was also an exercise in support. As my parents age it is become difficult for them to be as independent as they’d like. My Mom worries about my Dad’s eyesight. She worries about him carrying a loaded gun through the woods, tracking a deer on uneven ground. My Dad worries about my Mom being left alone too long. She has trouble getting around and has taken a fall or two herself.
Going up this year we could pretty much be sure My Dad wouldn’t have to go out alone. We could set Mom up for comfort and give her a “check-in” call before we wandered too far off. Orion stayed inside so they could “look out for each other”. Karina took charge of all the carrying. She says the beer kegs she’s been weighing each week at work are heavier than the deer. She also appreciates how easily things slide when you drag them on snow.
Now that I’m home I can look forward to some tasty meals. When I have them I’ll be grateful. I will be grateful for the deer that sacrificed its life. I’ll be grateful for my daughter taking care of me. I’ll be grateful for the opportunity to make memories with my parents. I’ll be grateful for my heritage.
Posted on November 13, 2017, in Bio, fall, grattitude, seasonal and tagged aging parents, deer, hunting, hunting gear. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Growing up in a family of seven my dad always hunted deer to supplement the family meat budget. When my brothers started going with him they brought squirrels and rabbits. Every “trophy” my dad hanging on his wall was from an animal we ate. Dad would take the carcass to a local butcher who prepared wild game for the freezer, and he would send the heads off to a taxidermist for mounting. We also raised cows and pigs for the freezer and kept chickens for eggs. 90% of our veggies were grown in our own garden. The grocery store was for things we couldn’t swing on our (apples and pears, citrus, dairy, coffee, paper goods, etc. I don’t think I had “store bought” meat until I was in high school (late 70’s).
I know a lot of people in the Pagan community tend to freak out over the idea of hunting animals even for food, which is weird considering how many lords and ladies of the hunt we have. As an adult currently living in Massachusetts I have never had to rely on hunting to supplement my food supply, but I will always remembered and honor it as something that kept my family fed and allowed us to be more independent as the family of a welder/mechanic working for Peabody Coal. My brothers, my brother-in-law, and my grown nephews back home in Indiana still do and for that I offer thanks to Herne the Hunter every day.
It’s true a lot of people have different attitudes. Even with the same God of the Hunt some people think eat the food is an honor, others see eating the food as disrespectful. Different relationships. I’m grateful to be on this side of it.