I would like to be able to say that I survived my Thanksgiving unscathed, but thanks to my boyfriend’s sister’s fiance, I was unable to.
There isn’t much that offends me, but when I am trying to devour my second helping of green bean casserole, one thing I did not want shoved in my face was an iPhone image of him skinning his latest kill. Let’s just say that after viewing Bambi’s demise, I couldn’t even eat my slice of pumpkin pie – and when I can’t eat pie, there is a problem.
During the few days that followed my Thanksgiving horror show, I pondered about how I feel about hunting. Well, I had to because it seemed like everywhere I went, I saw trucks driven by camo-clad men with truck beds filled with deer carcasses.
I guess it comes as no surprise that I live in a very rural area; however, I grew up in a big city where if someone had a gun, they weren’t hunting animals, if you catch my drift. Now that I am a country bumpkin, I am trying to get accustomed to the things that come along with the territory like burning my own trash, not having any cell phone service, my boyfriend taking a spit cup wherever we go and hunting.
Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I am a meat eater. I am not a radical member of PETA who stands outside department stores spray-painting women sporting fur coats. I have used the “don’t ask, don’t tell” theory when it came to gnawing on my medium-well ribeye smothered with onions.
I knew of slaughter houses, but never wanted to go there and take pictures of myself next to Friday night’s dinner or have a cow head displayed over my mantel. I do, however, realize that hunting and slaughtering are two very different acts, but argue the theory that both are necessary in modern times.
When man started hunting, it was for survival. They made their own weapons and had to venture out onto the land knowing that if they didn’t kill, their families would not eat.
They didn’t have a grocery store on every corner with an endless meat selection, or have the ability or desire to lay out hundreds of dollars at places like Outdoor World and Wal-Mart to buy fancy guns with laser pointers, insulated gear and handheld navigation devices.
I lived by West Virginia and have seen many families that live in the Appalachians that would make the Ingalls look like the Hiltons. However, people like my boyfriend’s sister’s fiance, who make fifty grand a year and still live in their parents’ beautiful home in the hills, do not need to hunt. They simply want to for sport.
I have had many discussions with the various hunters around me, including my boyfriend, about how I feel. Unless your name is Tonto and you have a village to feed or your family’s survival depends on it, there is no real need to hunt.
I seem to receive the same reply to this: Deer are overpopulated and hunters are performing a service by limiting the population. This may be true. After going shopping on Black Friday, though, I have realized that people are overpopulated too, but we do not feel a need to go out tagging any of them.
If I am to remain surrounded by a family — and town — full of hunters, I will have to accept hunting season as a rite of passage. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.
My only solace will be to know their secret about why they spend a week in the woods every year: They finally get a chance to relax, drink beer, play poker all night and most importantly, get away from people like me who complain.
The thrill of the hunt, a possible picture in our local newspaper and the endless deer burgers and jerky are just some of the extra perks that come with the territory.
I guess as long as my garage doesn’t become a butcher shop and my recreation room doesn’t turn into a taxidermist’s wet dream, I can live with that. Unfortunately, Bambi will not.