I think about where my family’s food comes from every single day. Is it local? Is it organic? Is it Non-GMO Verified? Do I know the farmer? Did I grow it myself? Is it in season?
I don’t just talk the talk — food is my passion. I make my own yogurt, will start raising chickens this spring (first layers; then hopefully broilers), and have a garden mapped out and seeds ordered. Food was a major factor in our decision to move from Detroit to rural Vermont, and it has fueled my graduate studies, my writing, and much of who I am.
So it makes sense that food – local food and local meat – was the primary catalyst behind my new desire to learn to hunt. Many people don’t associate local food with wild meat. Hunting serves as the connecting link – and a component often overlooked by mainstream society since wild meat doesn’t fall into the tidy (and familiar) categories of beef and chicken.
I began researching women hunters, reading books on the topic, and talking with many women who hunt like Brenda Valentine, Tiffany Lakosky, Vicki Cianciarulo, Georgia Pellegrini, and Lily Raff McCaulou. Speaking with these women, and seeing the empowerment behind being able to put quality food on the table myself, brought the idea of learning how to hunt full circle.
Part of the allure in our new Vermont property is the silence. The sounds of traffic, construction, or loud cellphone conversations that used to pepper my suburban environment do not exist here. Instead, I can hear the harsh cry of a blue jay as it sweeps down from tall pines, the raspy call of an eastern Phoebe, and the surprise explosion of feathers as the grouse takes flight.
I don’t want to interrupt this peace with the pow! of a rifle. That sharp blast not only shocks the silence, but also reverberates through my arms and dissolves any connection I had sitting in that hushed environment, watching and waiting.
I feel there is something very meditative about using a bow, shooting an arrow so silent and quick, slicing through the air until it hits the target with a resounding thwack! (Since for now, I aim at an archery target, not an animal.) There is also something natural about a bow that appeals to me from ecological and environmental aspects with living so close to the Champlain Basin where the Abenaki tribe lived, learning to hunt the way Native Americans once did.
Getting sized up for my new bow was a very educational and interesting experience. Next week I will share an in-depth look at everything involved.
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