Hunting Season, part two: Know your hunter, know your meat
In our house, it was normal to have dad relive the story of how each deer was caught over a delicious venison meal. Each kill has it’s own uniqueness to it, whether taking a long time to track, or drag, or has a funny story, reminiscing over the meal did not make us sad or grossed out, but made us happy and more appreciative of what we were eating.
One year it took crossing a brook that had a canoe on either side, my dad and uncle both got into one, picked up the other, rowed both back across, got into the second, and rowed across in order to leave each in it’s place and get across the water to find the deer one of them had shot. How can you not want to share how much work it took you to get the meat you’re having?
Last weekend, my dad got a 5 point buck, he had marched himself rather far into the woods from my parents’ house, and luckily had a young 31-year-old man, in the form of my husband, hunting nearby to meet him and help drag. It took them three hours to get it out, the lack of snow making it more challenging to get over hills, rocks, and through marshy areas.
In today’s modern age, cell phone service works when they hunt in Spofford, so we got a phone call telling us where they were coming out of the woods. My uncle and I went to get them, and were asked not to just meet them with the truck but walk into the woods and meet them with water and relieve them of their packs and guns, they had run out of water and were exhausted. Despite 28 years of living with a hunter, I for some reason never quite made the connection that you would not only have to drag out the deer, but also carry your stuff and your rifle. Learn something new every day.
I had never seen a deer dragged through the woods before, only brought home on the truck, so I wanted to go. There’s no question that watching the process was a little sad, it’s a beautiful animal that has lost its life. However, as my dad said, what happened to this buck was no sadder than what a cow or chicken goes through at a slaughterhouse.
Our society by and large is missing this direct connection to food, especially meat. We all need to see where our meat comes from; in many cases, we may not like it at all; but that will be a positive thing, forcing us to look for a more humane, cleaner source to buy meat from. Aside from going to shoot it yourself, Local farms offering CSA meat shares are one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a cut of meat from a healthy animal.
There are two photos below of the barn, one decorated for my wedding in August, and one with last weekend's buck. We turned on the lights on the vines and chandelier still hanging from that day for the photo-op. I am likely the only bride to have a combination wedding venue and butcher shop, and to witness a dead animal hanging smack in the middle of where she walked down the aisle. But I am perfectly OK with that!