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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

For the Love of Hunting

During our time "back east," we've made a number of friends who are completely mystified by the whole Montanan "love of guns and hunting" thing. Some of you, I am sure, think we are complete hicks, bloodthirsty barbarians. And maybe we are. Once you experience it, however, it begins to make sense. And if you've been hunting with your dad since before you were old enough to walk, then it's hard to imagine anything else.
Nice 6x6 bull elk that my dad shot last weekend in the Crazy Mountains, MT.

Well, this is hunting season back in Montana, and hunting season means stories, and since my brother Jake (aka. Master Aegidius) is as good a storyteller as he is a hunter, I want to take this opportunity to give you a window into our world. Jake has been writing about hunting this past week, and I think you'll enjoy what he is written.

Where to start? How about Happiness is a BIG Buck in Your Crosshairs, followed by My Hunting Partner Naomi, then Bird Hunting with David, and finally (the culmination) The Big Buck.

I have some thoughts of my own that I may add in the next week - about how the time honored tradition of hunting not only has much in common with our Native American heritage, but how it also connects us much further back to the mythic world of the Old Testament. In that sense, hunting is intimately bound to the postmodern rediscovery of story.

But that's a tale for another day. In the meantime, grab a cup of coffee and go hunting with my brother...


At 6:46 AM, November 01, 2005, Blogger One Hit Wonder said...

Awesome picture, and cool blog man. Keep it up. Always wanted to go hunting...

At 8:05 AM, November 01, 2005, Blogger Daniel Nairn said...

Ahh ... yes, hunting. I had just never thought too much about it until coming to Montana, and now all I want to do is find some camo and bag myself a deer. The family I'm staying with practically lives off the game meat from hunting season all year round. It's hard to listen to these stories without wanting to be a part of it.

Interesting note on how it allows us to immerse ourselves in our ancestry. I'd say it also emphasizes our connection to the rest of the created world, certainly moreso that stopping by the Supermarket for a steak.

Not so much hunting in Philadelphia, huh? Can you get a liscence for Fairmount Park?

At 9:56 PM, November 02, 2005, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

I'll hire you to hunt the squirrels who are bombing my car hood with acorns.

At 10:14 AM, November 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

do not be too hasty - pa and new york are big hunting states. granted it is not the wide open planes of the midwest but i too can boast of a freezer full of venison, so can several of our firends. bow season is on and gun season right around the corner. i walk through my house and "trip" over hunting gear - bows, guns, camouflage gear...and yes we are only a few miles from the phila city limits. wherever you go you can find what you need "for the love of hunting".
btw - i believe fairmount park does have controlled hunts occationally to reduce the deer population. the meat at one time was used for the shelters and homeless (food cupboards) - not sure if it still is though.

At 4:14 PM, November 03, 2005, Anonymous dave said...

still, something's missing.

i'd like to see the "before" pic.

At 7:00 PM, November 03, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Anonymous is right: there's actually a lot of hunting out here.

Factoid: Pennsylvania not only has the largest deer population in the nation, they also harvest the most number of deer ever year. AND, they have the highest number of deer killed by vehicles.

That said, it'd be hard for me to hunt out here, if I were to live here forever. It's a very different kind of hunting out here...

And to Dave: the "before" is unlike anything you have ever seen, especially when you are within 15-20 feet of one (bowhunting). Absolutely amazing. Hunters (good ones), have a deep appreciation for the animals they hunt, both before and after the kill. But it's something that's not easy to explain just by talking about it. So I understand if it seems a bit "grim"...

At 5:24 PM, November 04, 2005, Blogger Master Aegidius said...

And here I thought Wisconsin had the largest deer population....
* * * * *

Yes, it is grim. But life all around for a deer or elk is grim. They do not live idyllic lives surrounded by a warm, fuzzy 'Mother Nature.' Nature is instead hard, cold, and equipped with big, insatiable fangs meant for ripping. A bullet, properly placed, is much more 'humane' than a wolf, mtn. lion., Chronic Wasting Disease, or starvation.

What I relish in is not the killing, but the level of skill that I am able to put into it. Sometimes I fall short, but that is what drives me all the more next time.

And these animals feed my family. Where as others procure their meat from a grocery store tidely wrapped up in cellophane (and I do not begrudge them that), I prefer being more involved in the process. I select my animal with care, I kill it with care, and I process it myself with care. When I do my butchering, it is an autopsy that tells me how that animal lived and how it died. And as I pass this on to my children, hopefully they also shall pass it onto theirs.

If this sounds overly passionate, good, you have just recieved a glimpse of what it means to live in Montana.


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