By Sarah Bloom Lifestyles Columnist
It’s that time of year again when getting up early takes on a whole new meaning. When braving the elements and wearing just the right kind of clothes can make or break your experience. It is a time that causes men to go above and beyond the art of descenting and demands that they practice the much ignored concept of keeping quiet. This magical time of year is no longer just for men, but it has engulfed the female race as well. This much anticipated portion of the year is none other than deer season.
When I was a little girl each time deer hunting season rolled around my mom would faithfully place a folded bandanna on the front screen door. Displayed on this triangular, brown piece of cloth was a powerful message. It simply read, “We interrupt this marriage for deer hunting season.” So simple, but so very true.
I grew up in a hunting household. For years my dad has hunted for rabbit, squirrel, quail, pheasant, elk, mule deer and whitetail deer. We have also had the occasional turtle and mess of frog legs. My mom rarely bought meat from the grocery store because we always had wild game in the freezer. My friends never knew what was going to be cooking when they came over for a visit, but they knew it was going to be good. Mom is a great cook and has mastered the art of fixing all the different critters daddy has brought home over the years.
Dad taught me how to help him clean the squirrel and rabbits and as a true daddy’s girl I would eagerly look forward to his return so that I could aid in this chore. As a self confessed tomboy none of the gory details ever really grossed me out. I could skin out a rabbit with no problem. I never took on the job of helping with the deer, but I would always watch. It never ceased to amaze me how efficient and meticulous my dad was when it came to skinning out a deer.
Though I grew up around this all my life I have never wanted to take on the hunting myself. I have always cringed at the thought of shooting a furry, little animal. I attempted to go squirrel hunting one time and I actually raised my gun on a good sized grey squirrel, but just as I was prepared to pull the trigger the little furball turned around and looked at me. That was the end of my hunting experience.
My dad dutifully educated my brother and I on not only the importance of hunting, but also of the great responsibility it involves. The first time I saw one of the deer my dad had killed I felt really sorry for it and just couldn’t seem to understand how he could shoot something so beautiful. After he explained to me the alternatives I accepted the fact that hunting was a much more humane way for these animals to die. I came to understand that we hunt not only for food, but to also ensure population control. If the deer become too abundant they either die painfully of starvation, disease, or they meet the front end of someone’s vehicle.
Dad has always pressed home the point that you do not hunt something unless you are going to eat it. If you are going to hunt then you should be responsible enough to make use of God’s gifts either by feeding your own family or donating it to another. It makes me absolutely furious for someone to recklessly and selfishly hunt for mere sport. Yes, it is an outdoor sport, but make use of the game you claim. I strongly feel that if you are one of these people who shoot these beautiful and majestic animals just to discard their carcasses after cutting off the head then you are no better than a snake that slithers on the ground. God has blessed us with this source of food, which has been taken for ages, and we should graciously appreciate that gift and use it to nourish our families. There is nothing wrong with mounting your prize on the wall, but have the decency to make use of the entire animal.
There is a beauty to the art of hunting. Being out in the woods in the silence of early morning should be a time to reflect and appreciate the many blessings our Great Creator has given us. Take the responsibility of educating your children on this timeless sport and help them to appreciate the rewards. As one of those children who grew up knowing the ins and outs of the hunting world I can honestly say that the time my dad put into showing my brother and I the right way has helped me appreciate all animals and their contributions to our world.
We are all God’s creations and I feel we each have a purpose. There is no doubt in my mind that deer were made for eating because if they weren’t then God would not have made them taste so good! Have a blessed week everyone and may you have happy hunting, a steady aim, and a baked potato to sit beside your deer steak!