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The Hunt...

Angela Shy's picture

Elk head wall trophy: Elk head wall trophy belonging to author’s husband from bow hunting trip.Elk head wall trophy: Elk head wall trophy belonging to author’s husband from bow hunting trip.ASPEN, CO - So my Man is a hunter and as of Saturday, August 28th, it's now officially Archery Season in Colorado for Deer and Elk!

For moi' this means that for the next month my husband and I will be on his "hunting" schedule:
1. Super duper early morning departures with potential late evening returns (if he hasn't "bagged" anything that is).
2. Erratic behavior as he puts together a "plan" and studies the areas available to him.
3. Lot's of laundry that has to be washed with the scentless detergent.
4. The endless anticipation of filling the freezer!
5. I become the "silent" partner in waiting ;)

Now, it's not like we have much of a regular schedule throughout the rest of the year but during this time what schedule we do have is erratic at it's best. Overall the hope of a FREEZER FULL OF MEAT makes the experience well worth it!

Now during my "younger" days, hunting was, in my opinion, a very controversial subject. Looking back I'd have to say it was largely due to my own personal ignorance in regards to what hunting, under positive circumstances, can be all about... but after spending 8.5 years with my Man, who has filled my head with plenty of education and input, I've come to realize that hunting done with:
1. Respect for the animal.
2. Gratitude for the gift of sustenence and life.
3. Respect for the wilderness.
4. Acknowledgment and a following of rules and regulations, etc...
IS necessary for population control, future herd existence and in the end offers us a healthy, tasty and edible alternative to the mass produced, factory farmed, caged and mis-treated animals out there that sadly end up in our supermarkets.

My initial introduction to the world of game came via "The Golden Eagle Restaurant" in Beaver Creek. I spent 7 lovely years schlepping food to hungry tourists. The menu was filled with items such as: Elk, Venison, Axis Deer, Buffalo, Caribou, Kangaroo, Ram, etc. and I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to taste everything and learn about some differences between these wild game meats and the mainstream meats: beef, chicken, turkey, pork... that I had been eating for most of my life. The Golden Eagle changed my "meat pallet" forever and my husband has since kept my love for "game" going strong!

So hunting season coming around each year is an exciting time for us! A few years ago we were lucky enough to fill our freezer with an enormous amount of elk meat and we're hoping that this season blesses us with another "gift".

I have also gained, through the process of harvesting an animal, an incredible amount of gratitude and respect for the animal and the life that was given to us. When shopping in the grocery stores it can be very hard to remember that the packaged meats once belonged to a living being... a being that's "life" was given so that we don't have to go hungry. Well when I am part of the animal harvesting process and the animal is on my kitchen counter there is no mistaking that the animal was once alive and I cannot disregard the sacrifice that was made. Though that may sound strange to some I find that the painful acknowledgment of a life lost is a necessary part of my giving respect and thanks :)

This time of year can also be a bit troublesome for those of us not hunting but wanting to enjoy the wilderness. Just remember to wear bright clothing and be on your guard and aware that you may come upon a hunter. It's important to be aware and watch your dogs as well!

My hope for this hunting season is that those of us playing the "waiting game", while our partners are out pounding the soil, find ourselves embracing our "alone" time and the potential blessings that may find their way to our kitchens rather than cursing their partners for wasted time walking in the woods.

Hunting isn't easy but when done properly it can have an incredibly positive effect on our health and the environment which is why I am so grateful to have become able to find a different perspective in regards to "The Hunt..."