23 November 2009

Hunting Season

Today is the beginning of deer hunting season in West Virginia. Hunting is a polarizing issue.

One of the most vivid memories I have of being with my father was hunting with him. I was four-years-old and he got me up before dawn and we went off in search of pheasant. It was bitterly cold and the sun was blinding. The stood me in front of his body and aligned my shoulder to touch his thigh and braced my body. I had watched him enough to know how I was supposed to hold the gun, and being left-handed, mirrored his position. He checked everything with the gun and with me and told me I could fire when ready. Of course I fired immediately, because what I wanted to do, more than shoot an actual bird was to just shoot the gun. I bagged no pheasant that day, but I will never forget those moments with my father.

Last year a young man that worked for me off and on told me he was going turkey hunting. His cousin was going lend him a rifle so he could hunt. He wanted to shoot three turkeys, so he could give one to each of the mothers of his children and have his own Christmas dinner. He was hunting to put food on the table.
I don't believe that the NRA, with its lobbyist in Armani suits, speaks for my handyman, or for me. In Washington, D. C., a city with the strictest gun laws in the nation, barley a week passed that I didn't hear the fire of an automatic weapon. The people firing them were not looking to put food on the table.

In her introduction to Women on Hunting, Pam Houston wrote:
"To hunt an animal successfully you must think like an animal, move like an animal, climb to the top of the mountain just to go down the other side, and always be watching, and waiting, and watching. To hunt well is to be at once the pursuer and the object of the pursuit. The process is circular, and female somehow, like giving birth, or dancing. A hunt, at its best, ought to look from the air like a carefully choreographed ballet."

You don't have to go with me... but I thought I would share with you some of my favorite actresses and a former First Lady "packing" along with a lovely song from Hem...


  1. Fabulous images. I think I rather agree with you! I was not impressed when English foxhunting was banned and that's not even edible. But like your hunting, it's a part of our cultural heritage and important for that. A wonderful air of authenticity about your post. The guy with the turkeys for the different mothers of his children: a poignant image.

  2. I am not a fan of guns. I dislike the bullying nonsense of the NRA. But my great grandmother was Cherokee. I understand the relationship of game to table. I understand the need to honor the animal that nurtures us. An interesting read is Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm
    by Jeff Crump, Bettina Schormann. To kill an animal, dress it, cook it, use all of it reminds us of how far removed we are from the food we eat.

  3. the image of Kate makes it quite appealing. Is it hunt or be hunted? or You can't get a man with a gun? or both. An amusing story in our local paper- missionary,evangelist travels to SAfrica to spread the word of Christianity- and is blessed because on the side he can hunt antelope (one species the national animal of SA) and proudly display them at home along with his bible-something very Very sick and twisted about this type of holyrolling hunter. GT


Blog Widget by LinkWithin