This was a question recently asked to me by a person who never hunted. Her question was sincere but was quickly followed up by, “Do you just leave them in the field?” That question was immediately followed by a look on her face similar to a person that just smelled bad milk.
I was a a bit surprised by the two questions and more than a little peeved. After all, to insinuate that I would shoot a deer and then just leave it lay there was insulting. What – I hunt therefore I’m a jerk? As I tried to prepare my answer (all the while I’m fairly certain I was sucking the air from the room with my attempts to calm down), I looked at this person and realized -she really doesn’t know, well anything, about where FOOD comes from. I told her that no, to leave the animal there would go against everything I believed in. I take the deer to the butcher and they process the deer for me.
“The butcher? “she asks. Dear Lord – give me patience. Yes, you know, the butcher. I then asked her, “Have you ever seen the meat aisle at the grocery store? Where the pork chops and steaks are lined up and neatly packaged? Well a butcher did that. So I take my deer to a butcher and he processes the deer and I pick up the packages a few days later.”
After a few minutes of silence, she asks, “So there are people that do this? Butcher the meat?” “Yes I say, where do you think it all comes from? If you eat ground meat from the store you are eating a cow that was processed by a butcher. If you eat pork chops, you are eating a pig that was processed by a butcher.”
This conversation ended at that point but it stayed with me. I really wanted to yell at this person to wake up, grow up, expand your world. Is this what people think? Meat grows in white plastic trays. When they grow big enough they are encased in Saran Wrap and slapped with a price tag? Perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic. But perhaps we’ve done a disservice to future generations-we’ve made it too easy. You want a burger? Just run down to the local fast food store. If people actually had to practice shooting a bow, zeroing in a gun, hunt, track, field dress, process their own food, actually work for it, they might understand and respect why hunting is not about killing. It’s about life.