I am cooking up dinner tonight (well actually I am typing right now, but I am a great multi-tasker….just ask my husband and he will tell you that he only has to turn off an over boiling pot like once a week) and I had decided that dinner tonight would be curry with grouse. When I opened up the container of pre cooked grouse I took a bite right out of the container before dumping it into the skillet. My first reaction was, “Nummmm…I love grouse”. My second reaction was a flashback of sorts to being back in the woods hunting grouse. Here I am standing in my kitchen in what can only be called suburbia and I am transported for a moment to the great outdoors. By the way, don’t feel too bad about my suburbia because in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that is still pretty damn awesome!
As a new hunter that had no experience with hunting before (heck, I hadn’t even seen a pea pod until I was in my twenties); I spent more than half of my life having zero emotional or experiential attachment to my food. Meat was bought from a store, packaged in styrofoam and cellophane. Since becoming a hunter, though, I have these moments when I am cooking or eating wild game when I viscerally recall the experience of hunting that animal and of harvesting my food.
Many people who don’t hunt envision that when I talk excitedly about hunting I am talking about shooting. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most often, when I think about my hunts I am thinking about everything that led up to the moment I was able to harvest an animal. I think about who I was with and where I was at. I think about the weather, the adversity, the lessons I learned. I think about my lunch spot under a tree or the sighting of an owl or a coyote as I quietly walk upon sacred ground.
Hunting for my food is truly the most life changing rite of passage I have ever gone through. It is something I will never give up. It is something I will fight for and I will defend. I have a stronger relationship with wildlife, with the outdoors, with the concept of conservation than I ever had before.
Oh shoot….so much for multi-tasking….I better get back to dinner….