Shootin’ Stuff with Shotguns

So it’s the middle of the afternoon and my lunch break is becoming longer and longer. Today’s freelance work is rather tedious, and I just don’t want to go back. So I’ve been surfing the web. Feels just like the end days at BG.

This morning I read Jordon Cooper’s thoughts on hunting, and it got me thinking. Reflecting and being sentimental, I guess, but that’s just too bad.

My only experience hunting is through a good friend of mine (who happened to write a column in our youth group newsletter titled “Shootin’ Stuff with Shotguns”). He’s the outdoorsy type, loves hunting and camping. Gander Mountain is his favorite store. He actually got me interested in camping, and I’m eternally grateful.

He took me hunting once. It was grouse season, which shows you just what kind of a hunter he was. I didn’t even know what a grouse was. Apparently it’s a small, chicken-like bird. But we could hunt them within ten minutes of his house in the suburbs, so it worked out well.

Our hunting expedition involved trapsing through the woods after school, carting my friend’s shotgun and looking for stuff to shoot. He actually knew things about hunting, like how to flush out birds, where they would be, and how to spot evidence that they were around.

Most of the afternoon we didn’t see much. We took potshots at a squirrel and leveled a tree for lack of anything better to shoot at.

But as we returned to the car a group (gaggle? flock? family? mob? crowd?) of grouse crossed the path in front of us. In a smooth and fluid motion my friend leveled the shotgun and fired, taking down a grouse. Sudden and unexpected success.

We took the dead bird home and I watched as my friend cleaned it and tossed it in the freezer to cook later. A couple nights later he brought me some cooked grouse. It tasted like chicken.

I think hunting gets a bad rap. The above experience is my only hunting encounter, and it’s probably overly ideal. There’s a lot of bad hunters who really just want an excuse to drink alcohol and shoot stuff.

But proper hunting involves a lot of skill that at one time was essential for survival. While watching my friend clean what could easily be dinner, I realized that if it were not for the modern convenience of prepared food, I’d be screwed. I’m not so helpless that I don’t know how to cook, but if I had to figure out what part of the animal was edible meat, well forget it.

Sometimes I think a lack of these survival skills is a big loss. It’s not like I want to run around shooting stuff, skinning, and cooking it, but if something traumatic happened it’d be nice to be able to eat.

3 thoughts on “Shootin’ Stuff with Shotguns”

  1. Dude! You should spend some time with my folks for awhile! My dad has this theory that someday all of our power plants are going to get destroyed, sending the country into a frenzy of people having to survive on their own. He always told us that he wanted us to love God and to be able to survive on our own. He required that all of his kids take and pass gun safety (on the back of my MN driver’s license it says “Firearm Certified”). Once my brother went out and shot a bunch of squirrels for fun and my dad said that we always need to respect and eat what we kill. So, my brother ate squirrel for the rest of the week. He taught us how to tan the hydes of animals so they can be made into rugs or blankets or whatever. We had to learn how to farm and prepare seeds for planting the next year. My family mostly lived on what we got off of our farm (meat & veggies). We would can our veggies so they would be preserved without the need for a freezer (in case the electricity goes out someday). And so on… I guess my dad sounds a bit paranoid, but I guess I am a bit paranoid in this day and age. What we see today could be gone tomorrow and we could very well be left to fend for ourselves.

  2. As soon as I read this entry I thought of Steph’s family. These kinds of things are very close to their hearts. Frankly, I’m kinda surprised that they’ve accepted me into their family. I mean, how much more dependent on electricity could a man possibly be than I am? You’d have to be in an iron lung to beat me at that one.

    While it’s true that my skills are useless as soon as there’s no electricity, I’d have to say that I’m still glad I do what I do. The way look at it is that we need two kinds of people: people to preserve the past (so we don’t forget what it tought us) and people to create the future (so we don’t stop progressing). They’re the first. I’m the second. Simple as that.

    Of course, it couldn’t hurt either of those kinds of people to learn more about the other group and how they do stuff.

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