Monday, October 23, 2006

I've Renewed My Membership With PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals


I made that comment over at Rockstar Mommy's a few days ago.

Someone called me a Republican.

I can handle being called fat, I can handle being called ugly, I can handle being called a geek, but about one more person calls me a Republican and I'm liable to dot the fucker's eye for him.

What? If you're mature enough to be able to handle the idea of where your food comes from then you're obviously a right wing nut job that has a Dubya poster on your bedroom ceiling, Rush "Pussgut" Limbaugh cranked up on your stereo, and a morbid fear of those nasty middle eastern boogie men that are bound to get us any day now? Sorry, but I don't think so. Keep the petty political labels for the terminally ignorant, I don't buy into the name calling anymore, and they don't fit me. Trying to convince me to be afraid of your made up enemy is not an effective control tactic for this hillbilly, it just really reminds me of a chap named Adolph and another made up enemy that suffered terribly at the hands of tyrants. I may have no problem with harvesting my own food, but I'm most definitely not a Republican, and if I had been in the past, I wouldn't be any longer.

You know that bloody, eviscerated deer carcass that you spied yesterday? Yeah, you know the one I'm talking about. The one tied to the flatbed trailer beside the ATV that some guy was pulling behind his pickup. The hamburger that you ate for lunch looked just like that a few weeks ago.

Deal with it. I do. No GOP membership card required. Gut a deer, spoon the seeds out of the middle of a delicious acorn squash, skin an elk, peel a potato, filet a fish, slice a tomato, pluck a chicken, it's all just necessary food preparation to me and anyone that's concerned about the smell really should stuff their sniffer in a cow's innards some time. I have, and I still eat 'em, but I wouldn't advise it for the faint of stomach. Notice I didn't say whether or not I blew chow afterwards.

Why do I bring this up you ask? Well . . . because it's now officially hunting season that's why! Oh sure it's been hunting season for weeks for some folks, but I don't shoot goats, and I haven't had time to shoot any birds, and although I'm not fundamentally opposed to the idea I feel no need to sit in a tree all day with a primitive weapon with hopes of skewering my future food with an aluminum arrow. Nope, my idea of hunting is much the same as my idea of gardening. Pluck it and eat it, works for me.

This year I'm not going to get too concerned with hunting though. I bought the boy and myself deer tags, but I've decided not to set myself up for failure by forking out the bucks for an elk license again. Maybe in a year or two when I've built my vacation time back up to where I actually have time to get serious about it like I used to, but going elk hunting for a day isn't very productive unless one is extremely lucky. It's just a waste of time, effort, and fuel.

Sunday morning found us standing watch on a hayfield near Joliet. A hayfield that turned out to be loaded with deer when the sun came up. A hayfield that turned out to be about 400 yards across, with loads of deer on the far side of it when the sun came up. A hayfield that was about 400 yards across and loaded with deer until my son and a coworker's stepson fired at, and missed said deer. There weren't any deer in it after that.

I think Junior and I should've spent a little more time at the target range last summer. In his defense however, it would've been a long shot even for me, and it was damn cold. A one hundred yard shot is difficult when you're shivering like a puppy shittin' razor blades, let alone four hundred. An older, more experienced shooter is more able to shut off his or her body's reactions to things like cold or being out of breath long enough to make a clean shot, but an inexperienced kid just knows that he's cold. The kid missed plain and simple, but like I told him, there's more shame in the fact that he took the shot in the first place than there is in missing. I've always taught him that if you're not absolutely sure, just say so. I'll never chew him out for refusing to waste ammo or take a chance on wounding an animal. Half of being a good marksman is knowing your capabilities and the capabilities of your equipment, and the only way to figure out what those capabilities are is with experience. He needs some.

This year I've resolved myself to let the boy shoot a deer before I even try. No matter how frustrated I get with his inexperience, no matter how much I just want to beat him over the head with a stick, no matter how many bullets he deposits into terra firma in the general vicinity of deer, I'm not firing a shot until I have pictures of my beloved son kneeling beside a bloody carcass holding my old rifle and smiling.

Smile damn it. I don't care if you're tired. I don't care if it stinks. I don't care if you're about to puke. I said SMILE.

I'm not one of those dads that "insists" that his kids follow in his footsteps. If the boy had no interest in hunting whatsoever I can't say that I wouldn't be disappointed because I would be, but it's his choice and I'm comfortable letting him make it. If he wanted to be a ballet dancer I can't say that I'd exactly support him wholeheartedly . . . . . The fact is though, that the boy IS interested in hunting, and I would really like for him to experience the pride and sense of accomplishment that I did when I bagged my first buck. There's just nothing in the world that makes me feel manly like killing something and eating it. Call me names if you want, just don't come crying to me if you get hungry.

Most of all, my daughter is already expressing increasing interest in taking Hunter Education and going hunting with Dad as soon as she's old enough, and I can't even imagine the embarrassment a young man would feel at having his little sister shoot a deer before he did. Actually I can imagine it, my sister goes elk hunting every year, and actually brings home elk. It's not quite the same though, my sister's older than me, and she usually tosses me a few packs of elk steaks. Anyone know of a good ballet instructor?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Justin,
Sounds pretty rough on the kid. The first 3 deer I shot were not the best of the Saturday Hunting shows. I always find that the farther away from the "Funny People" you stay the better you and your son will do. Scrap the other guys and just take him out by yourself. It will relax all involved and success is more assured!!! :)
Ralpho

Justin said...

Howdy Ralpho, I'm sorry if I came across as being rough on the kid, I didn't mean to at all. I didn't chew him out or anything, we just shrugged our shoulders and chalked it up as a lesson learned, which it was.

You're exactly right about the fact that we need to go by ourselves. As we've discovered in the past not only does that situation give him the best chance at success, it's the times when we have the most fun. Normally I decline offers from other people to go together just for that reason, but the folks we were with Sunday just happened to have access to some private land that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to hunt. That's the biggest reason that I've mostly lost interest in deer hunting anymore, all of my old hunting spots have been sold off and subdivided. Maybe I just need to learn to be more sociable and start spending more time talking to landowners instead of cussing about all of the out of staters on the public ground, LOL.

Justin said...

Oh yeah . . . the ballet instructor? . . . that was for ME! ;)

k said...

Nothing quite like it when the kid brings home his first animal...hunting can be many different things to different people...I still hunt trophies but still take the meat...venison, I was raised on it and still love it.
Betcha the boy does well...most likely end up putting the old man to shame...been there and had that done to me.

k said...

Was also going to comment on the Republican remark...does it not amaze you that these assholes attempt to put a label on everything...it appears there are damn few independent thinkers anymore...one more cut and run and someone needs the shit kicked out of them....

Justin said...

Howdy k. I still remember my first deer. A 3 point mule deer buck, shot him right behind the head with my Dad's .243 at about 375 yards. The old man still brags about it to his buddies, and it still makes me feel proud every time he does. Never mind that I chased a dozen deer out of the countryside before I got lucky and nailed that one, LOL. The only thing I'd hunted before that was rabbits, and Dad always told me to either shoot 'em in the head or don't shoot 'em at all, so I did the same thing with my first deer. It was then obvious why I'd missed so many, no one had told me that it was OK to "gut shoot" a deer, (heart lung area) LOL.

The point is, that the boy will do fine when he's ready, maybe a little luck thrown in for good measure, and when that happens I'll be the one bragging to my buddies. Believe me, I'd love nothing more than to see him put the old man to shame. Fact is though, I'll still love him even if he doesn't. ;)

Chuck said...

Good picture Justin. You should've been a (money-making) writer. You've got a way with words that say what a lot of people feel.

And as always, great story. I'd tell you about my first deer kill as a kid, but I shouldn't embarrass myself here. :)

Chuck said...

Hey...I thought that picture looked familiar! :):):)

Anonymous said...

Is your son interested in the airplane thing? Maybe he would be more interested in flying than hunting. Maybe his sister would be a better hunter than pilot. The thing I learned with my kid is to let her decide what she wanted to do. She moved in with her Mom 6 months ago and has gotten real durn good at "SHOPPING"! Silly frigging me!!!! I never trained in that. So that is why I go to the park and fly and hope she doesn't run out of money. ;) She does not have her Daddy's money or her Momma's bad looks so she has to make it work on her own. That is another story. Tell your wife how much you love that she is a good lady and appreciate that after all these years you are still happy to be married to her and her to you. I love to see couples together after some years. My first wife was married to me for 12 and a half years till I could not take her schizofrenic mood swings that threatened the very existance of my soul. One day it was just time to go. Personally I consider myself a "CONSERVATIVE".

Ralpho

Justin said...

Howdy Chuck. Had I not been raised out in the sticks hunting rabbits from the age of about 4 years, my first deer likely wouldn't have been quite as much of a bragging point as it was either, LOL. If you think I didn't miss/gutshoot a few rabbits when I first started out, you'd be sadly mistaken. The big difference though, goes back to the whole being raised in the sticks thing. My Dad and I had a shooting range right outside the back door of our house, and we made good use of it. By the time I was 6 I'd probably shot more rounds than my son has in his entire life, and that's not an exageration. Like I said in the post, everything he's doing wrong is due simply to a lack of experience/confidence, and there's only one way to fix that problem and that's with time. Unfortunately, he didn't have the opportunity of growing up in the sticks like I did, and that's why I don't even remotely expect him to be able to handle the situation the same way I would've at his age.

Actually Ralpho, I'm really screwed. They're BOTH interested in hunting AND flying, LOL. With that comes the shopping part, and that's the part that's hard to handle. Both kids show some aptitude toward both activities, but only their own experiences can tell them which ones they'll hang onto. At any rate, when they're grown up, hopefully they'll both have at least had the experience of bagging a deer, and flying an RC airplane, as well as experiencing as many other things as I can possibly help them experience. If they choose not to stick with it fine, but at least they've had the experience. I'm just extremely thankful that my kids both share a lot of interests with me, it gives me a really good excuse to spend as much time as possible with them now, before they decide that ol' Dad isn't "cool" anymore, LOL.

And don't think for one minute that you're going to convince me that there's a such thing as a woman that DOESN'T have schizophrenic mood swings, next you'll be trying to tell me that there's no such thing as Santa Clause. ;)

Table Mountains said...

my son got a cow moose a few weeks back and i hauled it out of the woods for him, flipped the friggin atv and my ribs are just healing. got plenty of moose sausages made up and i figure i'll have gout a lot this winter. love the stuff but wild game gives me gout.

as for shooting them in the head. that's ok if your 50 yards or less away to chance it. any farther then that i aim for the fore shoulder.

Justin said...

Howdy Wayne, good job on the moose, too bad about the wreck though. Hopefully all turns out ok. I just ate some moose myself a few days ago. A good friend of my sister's husband's finally drew a moose tag, and they came home not only with a decent moose, but a fair bit of video footage of the hunt. I traded some of my video editing skills for a couple packages of moose steaks, not exactly a multimillion dollar film making career but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, LOL. It was pretty tasty, a bit tough, but tasty.

Too bad about the gout though, that sucks. I wonder why wild game has that effect on you? Weird.

Anonymous said...

Justin,
My Dad grew up in Westmore, about 12 miles east of where you grew up.
Do you know where that is? Like Hank says, "A country boy can survive!" I am my father's son.
Ralpho

Dawn said...

ah hunting season again.... just had fresh antelope steaks for din din last night. (you dont get many steaks from a Butt shot antelope that was running 70 mph away from a truck going 100+ just kiddin. but he was running) opening day sure wasn't what it was in the past years. all five of us usually have 2 each on the ground by 10:00am not this year - we got skunked royally. i got one shot and i know why their called praire ghosts. she didn't even flinch. and i am a good shot, musta been a mis fire, bad bullet, speck of dust in the barrel caused a major deflection, cus she ran away with her baby. I havn't got to go back out, but Bruce got to go with gil and got two lopes last weekend both in the as's, but he got em. got that cow tag i gotta go fill in the breaks yet maybe next weekend... B got two elk tags, one private land only. probly should just eat that tag. i know where their are some huge deer.....

Justin said...

Howdy Ralpho . . . Westmore . . . Is that over by Ismay somewhere? I've heard of it, but I can't place where it is exactly. A little more than 12 miles away, but close just the same.

Dust in the barrel? You got more excuses than I got airplanes woman. A hunk of lead cooking along at 2500 fps isn't going to get deflected by dust in the damn barrel, and even if it did that just tells me that you really ought to take better care of your rifle, as in clean it. I don't think I've even heard a 1000 yard silhouette shooter come up with a sorry assed excuse like that, surely you can do better. I know what you mean about bad bullets though, I think certain manufacturers which shall remain nameless, OK Remington, changed their manufacturing methods or moved their factories to China a couple years ago because the quality control on their ammo sucks anymore. I've never had to shoot a deer more than once to put it down with my .257, usually they drop like I hit them with a sledge hammer. The one I shot last year, same 117 grain Remington Core Lokt bullets I've always used, I had to shoot him three times. The first one fragmented on impact, barely made a bruise, he didn't even flinch but I knew I hit him. The second one hit about a half inch from the first and poked clean through like a full metal jacket, he started strolling away casually like he'd just got bitten by a fly, I still knew I didn't miss, but I was starting to have doubts. The third one finally mushroomed like the first one should have and took the deer down, but not nearly as forcefully as they usually do, he just kind of flopped over in a pile of brush like he just said "fuck it" and died for no reason.

Pissed me off royally, as soon as these shells are gone, I'm switching to Hornady or else I'm finally going to get my ass in gear and load some of my own. When you shoot an obsolete old antique like mine, that's really the only way to go since there's only about two different choices when it comes to factory loads for a .257 Roberts. I've got some 120 grain Sierra boat tails that I can load up to about 2800 fps, oughta really reach out and touch someone methinks.

What's with all the ass shootin' anyway? Didn't your daddy teach you any better than that? He did me. Maybe we ought to send Bruce and Gil to the range with him for some lessons, LOL. I've never shot a critter in the ass, and if I did, I sure as hell wouldn't be bragging about it on the internet, nor would I be particularly thrilled about my wife bragging about it on the internet, better keep those stories to yourself or we might get our supply of moose steaks cut off, LOL. Hell, I'd rather miss than shoot something in the ass. I haven't done it yet, but if I ever do I guess I'll just have to blame it on dust in the barrel.

You call 'em prairie ghosts, I call 'em stinkin' fuckin goats, to each his or her own. They're great target practice to hone your skills on to be ready for real game, and they're fun to chase with snowmobiles, but when it comes to eatin' 'em, yeah, have fun. They make good burger I guess, as long as you mix enough pork or beef fat with the stinkin goddamn goat meat so that it doesn't taste like cardboard anymore. It makes a turd, but that's about it.

You know where there's some huge deer, I know where there's some nice medium sized alfalfa and corn fed whitetails, and the boy and I are gonna be on stakeout this weekend, hehehe. You can have the horns, they're hard to chew, and they taste like shit, but I know you still like them for some damn reason. Don't know how you wound up being a horn hunter, but I guess, glad that you're having fun anyway. ;)

KarbonKountyMoos said...

Aaaaah - I don't hunt - but I have lots of deer that have been feeding on the all you can eat buffet all year here. . .

RSM said...

Don't you LOVE when people assume your political stance just off of a quick little rant? I get called a hippie liberal that needs to go hug a tree ALL THE TIME! Which? I am not. I like to think that I remain unaffiliated with either party.

Justin said...

Hey Karen, did you get my email? hehehe, I'd be quite happy to reduce that swelling deer population by about 2 . . . ;)

You're absolutely right RSM, actually I like to think of myself as more of a Libertarian, but mostly I just like to keep the fuckers guessing. Half the time I get called a right wing asshat, the other half of the time I get called a hippy liberal, and actually I'm not either. Anarchist works though, I could live with that one . . .