Hunting, our big step into self reliance

There is a lot of controversy surrounding hunting.

Some people don’t understand how one can do it, just the same as one cannot understand how a person doesn’t eat meat. No matter what it is, we always have an opinion when it comes to food or lifestyle choices. I suppose that’s just the way we are, always believing what we do to be superior or the “way to be”. Probably because it works so well for ourselves.
Truth of the matter is, we are omnivores, and I think that’s the beauty of who we are as humanity, we can live in a variety of ways. Some wrapped in Culture, some in tradition and even some in modern embraces. We in North America I like to believe embrace all three.

I hold respect for those who consciously decide to not eat meat in some ways. I might not always agree with all the reasons behind the lifestyle choice, as I myself hold my own opinions, but I don’t believe it’s easy when done properly. Neither is hunting from seeing what Tim goes through, and others.

It’s the food in the middle that often times really drives me mad at times. That blatant disregard and disrespect for the food that is sustaining oneself and the fact that life and death was involved to nourish you. The fact that one does not care or doesn’t want to, just astounds me. We all have been guilty at one point or another, I’m sure, of picking up that saran wrapped package of meat or whatever else it is and really not thinking about it beyond that.

Before hunting, we already were starting to become more aware of the fact that a fellow animal or living thing gave its life for us to eat. This I believe started when we first had the desire to grow our own vegetables, to have a garden to help sustain us. This is something that is of utmost importance to retain, the fact that life comes from death and death from life. As you will, the circle of life.

Many people who don’t eat meat, seem to believe that they are separate from this chain of events, this death that is happening so that they can eat; Or rather, that the death is something that they compassionately cannot and don’t have to relate to. Realistically, how does one emotionally connect with a vegetable?

To me though, even vegetables and grains had life, they were alive. Someone raised them in the knowledge that they will sustain us or themselves. We can have “happy” flourishing vegetation, and “unhappy” uncared for vegetation which usually is the cheaper.
We picked or harvested what was living and growing in order to eat and sustain ourselves. Everything in nature does this, and as we all seem to forget most dangerously, we ARE part of nature. We all connect in different ways, because we are all different individuals.

No matter how city or suburban we have become, one fact always and forever remains that we are part of the natural system in this world. It is as much a part of us (even when we suppress or forget about it), as sharing a bond with another human or animal is. Wether you hunt, fish, hike or camp, you are enjoying wildlife. Something that is a part of you, and should be protected by all of us in our ever expanding industrialized world. That wild habitat is our connection.

Knowing and respecting what it took for that food to come to your table is a huge step in self awareness to me. Being conscious of what it takes to nourish us is an important realization as it brings forward the act of respect to that food – and the environment that it takes to grow it. You use more of it, don’t let it go to waste, and make sure that it is cooked properly to do it justice. There is no “prime cuts only” attitude.

Though there are always exceptions to every group of people. We are never able to be put into a box there are too many individuals included. This is by far my hope though, and from my understanding, the base of most hunting individuals because it’s about the experience. Being out in nature, battling the natural system with your own will and strength and most often for sustaining oneself with the meat harvested. There is often times more “failures” than successes, and they are all enjoyable in their own way. This is at least a part of Tim’s hunting, and why I will be joining him in the coming years.

I believe that vegetarianism / veganism to be part of an important role, as usually this stems from caring about the animals (which I much rather would have in this world than the people who just don’t care at all). A part of me believes this to have roots historically in Europe’s past, when the King and the wealthy owned all the land and wildlife upon it. Common folk lived mostly off beans, beans were a HUGE back bone to the protein source of people back then, everyone grew and ate beans!
When North America was discovered, this created a whole new outlook for the common people, this was a place where you could make your own way up in the world with your hard work and self preservation habits. This was a land you could hunt for your own meat.

A beautiful thing it was, the fact that you had the freedom and ability to provide great food sources for ones self and family. This was a fact, you respected and used all the food that you had taken and grown, because that was your life source. To me, this is something to preserve. Of course, my own speculation and opinion here…

With the modern day conveniences and easy living comforts, we can forget that food should be respected. It’s flaunted in large numbers, seemingly ever abundant and with it being easily attained, that it looses the respect it deserves due to lack of understanding and awareness of the entire process. It’s all behind closed doors, and what we mainly see and are given, is the simple end product without the story or struggles behind it. We didn’t have to see or live them.

Of course, I tout all this but in reality, I myself have yet to personally take the life of an animal I eat to sustain myself. I have helped with butchering and processing, but not the beginning act itself. This will come to an end very soon, as I will be helping with the processing of our old laying birds.
Tim has been the hunter in our family so far, his deep rooted desire to sustain us with ethical, self reliance meat was definitely a driving force for him. In turn, I realize a part of what drives him too is the fact that the animals truly lived the absolute best possible life that they could have; There was the unchartered freedom to be themselves.

As much as I believe in humane farming, I still have my own doubts at times.
As I have stated previously before, I want the goat to KNOW it’s a goat, not just be a “happy, well-cared for” animal, I want it to strive for life itself as a goat, this to me is a happy goat.
Sometimes we reflect things we want for ourselves onto animals. The comforts that we live in, can be just as detrimental to our health and mental well being as it can to an animal. Laziness and a lack of desire can often lead to our own demise and unhappiness in its own way.
To me, when one feels like we are not accomplishing or striving (wether we realize it or not) I believe it can lead to a whole array of emotional and mental problems, that often when we have a purpose or goal for living in our life, it can do wonders for uplifting oneself. Like the purpose to sustain ones life with food.

We take the good with bad, because the bad helps us realize and appreciate the good. It helps us grow, despite the hardships. The way we battle through those bad times creates a better us. This is the base of a well lived life in my opinion. There’s stories to be shared, and moments to tell next generations.

And it’s what I would hope for, for my food.

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