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.
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.