Last night I made a very yummy dinner.
I threw a venison roast into the crock pot with some salt, pepper, and onion, as well as a little water at the bottom, and left it alone all day. The result was mouth-watering.
Where'd I get the venison, you ask?
No, I didn't go out hunting, although, to be honest I'd love to learn to shoot with a bow. No, my father is the hunter in my family. When I was very little, a lot of our food came from hunting and fishing. The truth is that if you manage to take down just one deer, you've more than made up for the cost of your hunting license, and the meat gained from it will stock your freezer for 6 months.
The idea of hunting turns some people's stomachs. I get that. It seems like a cruel sport in which people kill an animal for the joy of the hunt. Yes, some people out there are like that... but most are not.
The fact is, most hunters have a deep respect for the wildlife they're hunting.
Unlike the soccer mom in the meat and poultry aisle, he knows exactly where his food has been. No surprises, and no worries. He knows how it lived. He knows that it's healthy... Unlike the grocery shopper, who hopes some person in a factory made the correct judgement call.
As he hunts, he doesn't just take down the first deer he sees. He judges the size of the creature, then decides if it's too big, too small, or just right. Yes, a hunter will pass up "the big one". What's the point in taking down a gigantic deer if a large part of it goes to waste?
A good hunter has respect for the eco-system around him.
If it's legal to shoot say, a moose, and he feels there aren't a good number of them out there, that the population is too low, he'll avoid shooting a moose... even if there's one directly in front of him. A good hunter shares the land. He doesn't conquer it.
As I ate my venison roast, I was grateful.
I knew the deer had a full life. It was running free for its entirety. When its life ended, it was treated with the respect: there was no waste. Its death was not in vain.
If only all animals were so lucky.
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