For all the critters in your freezer


I know gun season was last month and the normal week plus those two extra days netted some venison for my fellow Highland Countians, but I’m still thinking on it.

I grew up with hunters, with people that love to reap what the land has to offer. Heck, my stepdad still takes the week of gun season off of work every year and spends all his time out there in the bush, gun locked and loaded.

I am not a hunter. But I am also not against hunting. It certainly has its place for putting food on a person’s table and also keeping the numbers of an animal population in check out there in the wilds of the woods.

But when gun season comes around each year, I can’t help but think about all the furry critters, all the Bambis, that will be shot at as they run for their lives through their forest home.

No, I am not a vegetarian, but I’m not far from it either.

I’ve never been one for game meat, preferring instead to stick to the farm-raised basics. Used to be, I loved some beef, a bloody hunk of it on my plate. But that love has faded tremendously through the years. Now, smelling meat cooking, where it used to elicit a salivary response, now just smells like what it is, a dead thing. That’s not very appetizing.

This wasn’t a conscious decision of mine. Rather, the whole transition came about when I was with child nearly a decade ago. That will change just about everything in a woman, let me tell you. While I was pregnant, I couldn’t abide the smell of cooking meat, any of it, but particularly beef. And I guess you can’t unsmell death, so it has stuck and I just don’t care for any of it anymore.

But back to the week of gun season and the causing of death and the happiness that so many hunters gain from that. I certainly don’t begrudge them the sport, but I don’t get it.

“A sweet, innocent, harmless, leaf-eatin’, doe-eyed little deer (which she pronounces dee-a),” Miss Mona Lisa Vito says to Vinnie Gambini in the film “My Cousin Vinny” when he announces that he’s going hunting with the prosecutor in a case he’s involved in.

That’s about all I can think about during gun season, and I can’t help it.

As I type, I wonder if that is a little embarrassment that I am feeling over admitting to this in proximity to so many carnivorous, animal-killing folks, but I think I’m OK with that. After all, I must be true to me, and this gal could not, would not, go out and take the life of some meat-giving animal when there are plenty of obliging plants around that can give me sustenance.

And you know, I don’t have a problem with hunting when it is done responsibly, and when the life being taken is regarded with some value rather than just mindless taking.

My husband likes to watch a couple of those TV shows set in Alaska. You know, that follow true homesteaders, people who live off the land in the rugged wilderness. He would love to do that, he’s told me more than once.

I have often thought I wouldn’t mind living in all that nature, but then so much time would be devoted to having to make sure a family has enough to eat through the winter. That means lots of killing.

The food situation alone would more than likely keep me in the lower 48. It’s not just the killing, but chocolate’s inaccessibility up there in all that wilderness, too. I’m pretty sure that I’m not up for that.

Maybe I could just visit him, bring along an assortment of veggies and a large amount of peanut butter (and chocolate) to get me through my visit.

So, I grew up with hunters, and I grew up with people that think a lot on what the land provides. My way of thinking is mine, and not something I expect others to get or to even accept. It can be chalked up to personal preferences, I suppose, and to my own personal perspective of life and living in general.

I don’t begrudge you your sport; don’t begrudge the deer, or any other critter out there respect for the life they are giving. That is all that I ask.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

By Angela Shepherd

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