How do you prepare for deer hunting?
No, really, I’d like to know.
Part of me is excited and part of me is incredibly intimidated as I work through learning archery in time for the upcoming fall season. It’s not the issue of actually killing the deer for meat (although at the actual time of contact, that still may be a factor) because as a meat eater, I’m aware that animals had to be slaughtered to appear on my plate — whether the meat be from a friend’s farm or from the grocery store (where I find myself rarely buying anything aside from the pantry staples and organic vegetables and hope to disown much of the commercial chain as we plant our first huge garden this year).
No, it’s the idea of being under pressure, buck in front of me, lined up in my site, and…then do I pull the release? Does the arrow hit where I think it will hit? Or will the animal be wounded and run, leaving me guilty and trembling?
I’m not sure that my previous experiences have really prepared me for this new one. Somehow I think that a stressful boardroom presentation isn’t quite the same type of stress I’ll feel when I have to release the trigger after deciding to commit to the buck in front of me.
I figure this will be something I think about constantly until I’m actually in the moment and have adrenaline propelling me forward, pushing me on, and when I do get my first buck, I know I will be a flood of different emotions. I keep thinking that thankfulness will be the main emotion that surfaces in knowing that the deer before me will feed me and my family. I will use the hide as I have a friend who has promised to show me how to tan them as he used to do it years ago. I will use and preserve as much of any deer I get as I can.
Any way we harvest our own food connects us at an intimate level. Whether that food be the trophy buck, fresh eggs from the chicks we raised or a full plate of greens plucked from the garden minutes before dinner, being in control and connected is what makes the experience about more than just food. This idea is one I’ve been pondering for months, possibly years, and learning to hunt makes the ideas come full circle.
How do you prepare?