Monday, November 5, 2012

Guest Post: Hunting My Own Meat

While New York gets back on its feet and prepares to return to the normalcy of going back to work, my sister Lisa is here to share a guest post from Oregon about fulfilling her lifelong dream to learn to hunt (which I never knew she had).

A long, long time ago, when I was a child on a goat farm, I became a vegetarian. My reasons: it was environmentally irresponsible, wasteful, and often cruel to animals. My parents weren’t into it, but they stopped trying to feed me meat after a month or so. I never thought it was wrong to kill animals -- I knew as a human that it was a natural activity. Hunting was a controversial and extremely cultural issue in southern New York. Deer are overpopulated because they no longer have any natural predators besides humans. And I only knew of one person in the whole town (of 30,000 people) who hunted. Hunting was portrayed as something that hillbillies do, it was uncivilized and gross. I never prescribed to that shitty bias. I remember taking a poll in high school once where I asked people two questions: 1) Do you think hunting is wrong or cruel? and 2) Are you a vegetarian. 0% of my 40 person study group were vegetarians but about 50% said they were against hunting. Interesting results!

So, basically, I could not wait until the day that I actually was able to learn to hunt my food, to kill it and prepare it myself, to have the most cruelty-free and sustainable meat.

After graduate school in New York City, I moved to the high desert of Eastern Oregon, and have slowly begun to ease my way into the activities that are so common and normal here: hunting and fishing.

Last June I caught my first trout. I went on my first deer hunt a few weeks ago, with my boyfriend and his family who are very experienced and intelligent hunters. I learned gun safety, hunting strategy, and the excitement and beauty of a hunting trip. We hunted in the northeastern corner of Oregon where the red sunrises and sunsets flowed through the geometry of 400 foot deep canyons. And I shot a deer through the heart with one shot (I guess the hand-eye coordination from softball pitching lessons really paid off, mom!). No suffering, instant predation. Gutting the deer felt felt much more natural than I thought it would. It was like dissecting an animal in biology class, except with the proud knowledge that we were all going to share several great meals afterward.

Duck hunting is trickier than I thought. I hunted for ducks in a wildlife area in a basin lake from 7-11am, and then again from 1-4pm, my whole body covered with varying layers of camouflage except for my eyes (ducks can see color and understand what a face is). It was very cold, then it was very hot, and we only saw about two ducks flying the whole day.

My boyfriend's family and I are going duck hunting Thanksgiving morning, to bring home some fresh duck, and maybe geese, to cook as our Thanksgiving meal. I'm glad that I get to participate in such a thankful and sustainable tradition.

The only thing left is to get Julia to hunt with me when she comes out to Oregon at some point (which is totally going to happen).

Hmmm, I don't know about that. While I support the act of hunting your own meat for the same reasons that Lisa does, I'm personally not interested in taking part in it, at least for now. Although, I do think it would be a useful survival skill if we see apocalyptic environmental and economic changes during our lifetime. What about you - would you ever go hunting?


  1. Julia left out all the fun pictures!

  2. Hey! Great post. It's nice to see this sort of excitement about hunting from a female. I'm from the mountains of N.C., so hunting is as normal as breathing around here (even with the female crowd). I don't hunt, personally, but I sure love to shoot guns. And it's nice to know that I could kill my own food if need be.
    BTW, you should be very proud of that perfect shot on the deer. Very impressive.

  3. Fascinating! As you know, I'm in Central Oregon - a hop, skip and jump away from your sis. Hunting is big here, but I have never tried it and don't particularly want to at this point. However, I sometimes wonder if I will eat meat again, and if so...maybe this is the way to go. I want to be responsible and sustainable and be fully involved in the meat I eat - if it comes to that, someday! Great post!