EVERY year, 15 million licensed hunters head into America’s forests and fields in search of wild game. In New York State alone, roughly half a million hunters harvest around 190,000 deer in the fall deer hunting season — that’s close to eight million pounds of venison. In the traditional vernacular, we’d call that “game meat.” But, in keeping with the times, it might be better to relabel it as free-range, grass-fed, organic, locally produced, locally harvested, sustainable, native, low-stress, low-impact, humanely slaughtered meat.You know, he's right on target. Here on the outskirts of the People's Republic of Boulder where I live, most of even the chain supermarkets label food as to where its from. And, yes, here at the Secret Hidden Bunker in the Rocky Mountains we do our best to "eat locally," as much as possible choose produce and foodstuffs from local farmers and ranchers. This is made easier by the fact that my Swweetie's brother works with local organic farmers and keeps us in the loop.
At the big organic markets like Whole Foods, the meet practically comes with a pedigree...which ranch, what the animal was fed, a few tidbits about its life and death ("free range;" "humanely harvested;" etc.).
I've always been puzzled about how people who can talk articulately about the importance of "quality of life" for farm animals and against the too-often casual horror of factory farms — as a journalist, I have been to factory farms where my initial response was to torture the owners — then be vehemently against hunting.
It's no secret that I don't eat a lot of meat (although judging by my endless weight problems I must eat everything else!). I got out of the "habit" when I was running traithlons and I discovered that one of the trackable elements in my performance was what I had eaten the previous few days before a big race. A lot of meat — epecially red meat — translated into slower times.
At the same time, I fell victim to a horrific family history of high blood pressure and heart disease...the short story is most of the members of my family who didn't manage to get shot died from complications of high blood pressure/heart disease. I chose to control my blood pressure through diet and exercise. QED...hello Mr. Salmon! Hello Ms. Beans and Rice! For the sake of argument, a few years back I declared "turkey" a vegetable, and there is no better turkey than that havested with a shotgun — no steroids; no antibiotics; no growth hormones; a free-range omniverous diet; and, hell, he had a life! He fought for hens and passed his DNA along down the line before he ended up on my plate. He died quicky and humanely, which is pretty mucy all any of us can ask...
While many people will never give up their opposition to killing Bambi, others may change their minds when they realize that destroying a deer’s reproductive abilities or relying on the automobile for population control is really no less wasteful than tossing fresh produce into a landfill.Excellent story!
Maintaining the ability to cull semi-rural and suburban deer herds is just one of many struggles facing hunters today, along with battling land development on wintering grounds, limiting oil exploration in our last wilderness strongholds of Alaska and combating the introduction of livestock diseases into wild animal herds in the Midwest. But an emphasis on resort-based quail shooting and whack-’em lingo are not going to persuade the critics.
Hunters need to push a new public image based on deeper traditions: we are stewards of the land, hunting on ground that we know and love, collecting indigenous, environmentally sustainable food for ourselves and our families.