This time of the year is poignant for many reasons, but a favorite for the shocking suddenness of change – from green to red and gold, from growth to death. It is also a time that is trying for anyone who enjoys pheasant, duck, venison.
For some reason, people, most often men, equip themselves with guns or high-tech bows and go off to kill. This is felt as a right and necessary activity, and I most certainly can empathize with the joy of walking in the woods, or visiting a favorite lake with the Labrador retriever in tow.
What I fail to understand is why most of those hunters seem uninterested in knowing anything about what to do with the meat they have so expensively killed. I have had gifts of pretty little plump ducks that like Leadbelly’s Grey Goose were not tender after days of cooking. A large wad of truly expensive moose that had not been bled properly, venison from a deer that had not been eviscerated, so far as I could tell.
|Lemonade Chronicles is a blog written by Jackie Alfonso, a local writer who is deeply concerned about food … and other issues.|
This is not hunting, it is merely killing.
As children we learned to pluck and clean the pheasants and ducks that were a major meat source in Fall, gently wiggling out the shot, so no one bit down on it, was part of the task. The scrawnier birds were cooked slowly in cream, so they would be tender.
After he shot his first deer, my father sold his guns; he had not expected his powerful grief when he saw the beauty of the dead deer. He wore the jacket made from the buckskin, he had the traditional sausage made, but he became far more focused on the joy of tramping with the dog, than on the shooting.
If every hunter made good use of the meat, hunting might seem less an indulgence, and more a means of reliving an ancient skill.