Hunting season is upon us and I will be spending some “me time” in the woods stalking some meat for the freezer. It’s in my blood. My father often went hunting on Colorado’s West Slope and brought back a big mule deer or an elk. Sometimes I went pheasant or antelope hunting with him and his buddies, but we never went out for the “trophy.” It was always about eating what we shot and respecting the animals by eliminating them in the most humane way possible–one shot, one kill, preferably to the head. We practiced our shooting and hunted a lot growing up and would dine on the high-protein flesh all year. Our freezer was filled not only with wild game, but fish we had caught as well. Additionally, our freezer was filled with the animals and vegetables our family had raised and grown. We had a strong self-sufficient streak in how we lived our lives.
Now with my own family living in a wild-game-rich state, I, too, wish to provide meat for my family. And, like my father, I, too, will tease the kids that I’m going out to get Bambi. I, too, will hang the carcass in the garage and butcher it the way my daddy taught me. I will make my father’s sage-infused venison sausage and enjoy patties of it about 4 a.m. as we package and wrap meat. That is, if I am lucky enough to get one.
Frankly, I just enjoy being up in the woods. There have been many times when I haven’t taken the shot because it would be too much hassle to drag a carcass out of the bottom of a canyon. And I wouldn’t call gutting and skinning a fun thing to do. It’s work. And it’s bloody. But then I remember those Thanksgiving meals with venison roast I know it is all worth it.