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Are there Hounds out there that hunt and fish?

I've been reading about qualms about boiling live lobster, pulling heads off live shrimp, fear of dead fish, and disdain of handling raw meat and offal. I hunt, fish, dig clams and pick mussels and mushrooms. I'd rather accept the responsibility of killing an animal with the knowledge of what I have done than buy meat wrapped in clear plastic and ignore the pain and suffering animals to which animals are subjected by agribusiness. I respect vegetarians and often cook veggie meals for one of our kids and the rest of us. I don't take poor shots and drop the animal. When the kids were younger, we called deer "happy meat" because it was happy until it died. Organic too. Am I alone in this, does anyone else understand? Take it easy on me, I'm no Konan.

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  1. I fish but do not hunt. I have no problem with people hunting responsibly (ie. not hunting an endangered species, etc.) if they do it for food (it's part of the food chain). I do have issues if they do it purely for sport. In another thread, I wrote about cutting through the head before cooking a lobster. A lot of people were squeamish, but I didn't feel like they were badgering me at all. They were just expressing their fears of it, and I have them as well (even though I still do it). Those responses don't bother me at all. But I do see these responses every so often where some posters take a holier than thou attitude that annoy me, especially as a lot of it is culturally biased. I'm sure lots of Hindus aren't too thrilled with the all-American hamburger. And a lot of these posters aren't even vegetarians. I would understand their feelings more if they were vegetarians. I totally agree with you that if you're going to eat meat, you should be able to accept the responsibility of killing an animal. As I have stated before, I agree with this in theory. But I'll also add that I'm a bit of a wuss and probably would have problems killing my own chicken.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      My sister and I have talked about this often. This is a very complicated issue. We are animal lovers from childhood, and have had many pets. My sister loves Paul McCartney, who is an avowed animal lover and vegetarian. But she also loves beef. The way I see it is:
      - We are spiritual beings. I feel akin to the American Indian way, which is to honor that which has given its life to sustain yours. After all, isn't it killing something to pull a tomato out of the ground? I know, a cow is a higher form of life, but just when do you draw the line? Can you eat a rock? How do you know how it hurts a tomato? (I know, I'm going overboard, but)...
      I hope someone makes sense of what I'm trying to say.

      1. re: aurora50

        Read Mountain Man by Vardis Fisher. It is the old Jeremiah Johnson, Robert Redford, movie, but better.

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          During a summer 28 years ago when I had a rare chance to get acquainted with an Original American during my sabbatical, the correctness of eating animals and fish was explained in elegance I only wish I had noted more succinctly in my journal.
          But as to the cutting of the ancient redwood forests, his words still resonate hauntingly: " you are tearing out my mother's hair".

    2. Yup.

      Hunting and fishing.

      All 5 kids know where and how meat comes from.

      1 was vegetarian for about 6 months (on moral grounds), the other 4 have no problems eating anything we catch.

      All kids (no gender discrimination in our fam) were taught to shoot, but only 1 of the boys actually likes to hunt.

      Same with fishing, all taught very early, but only 2 of them really enjoy it.

      Neither Mr Goddess or I could be classed as "Konan's", but Mr G was bought up by his Poppie, who used to shoot wabbits during the Depression, to feed his family, and passed on his skills to Mr G, who in turn, has passed them on to all the kids.

      I think that in doing what we've done, we allow our kids to make up their minds about consuming meat. There is DEFINITELY no "meat comes in a cute plastic-wrapped tray" mentality in our home.

      2 Replies
      1. re: purple goddess

        PG, do you mean there is a better way to acquire parsley, in a quantity sufficient to make a batch of chimichurri sauce, than buying an entire cattle, packaged in innumerable "cute plastic-wrapped tray(s) "and culling out the parsley adornments under the plastic wrap? Say it ain't so! Can it be so simple?
        I learn from you every time:)...... Drives me nuts, too.

        1. re: Veggo

          Veggie, my dear... You're not the first man to learn from me ;)

          And back on topic... even the meat I do purchase, I source from farms and such that "ethically slaughter" OR buy from my local butcher.

          No gas-packed, dyed and ultravioleted meat in my 'fridge.

          The pay-off is that sadly, I have to grow my own parsley, and don't get that lovely "I've been stuck on top of a dead chop for 4 weeks" nuance.

          Ahh, the price I pay for having an ethical conscience.

      2. I grew up hunting and fishing. Hunting mostly dove, pheasant, quail, duck, geese, sometimes deer, and wild pig in the Central Valley of California, in the Sierra foothills, and in the Coast Range of California. Fishing was more my cousins' thing when we were growing up (although I loved fishing in the early 60s for black Tilapia in the river that used to run through Kaneohi); now I love fishing (and target shooting with handguns when I'm in the US), but hunt less. We used to fish for trout in the Sierras and later stripers in the Delta region. I love deep sea fishing--off of Malinde on the Kenyan coast, off of Bali. I've fished in the Amazon, in East Timor, Providencia (Colombian Island off of Nicaragua); and now fish (catch and release) with my daughter on weekends out on the research station for black tilapia. We always prepared (i.e., plucked, skinned, gutted, scaled, picked out shot, bled, filleted, butchered and what not) and ate all we shot or fished.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          good point, that I failed to make, Sam...

          All out hunting and fishing is done for the table, NOT for sport. We closely observe bag limits (cos WHEN not IF, the Fisheries and Wildlife Dept board your boat and you're over they WILL confiscate your catch.. and maybe your boat).

          Same when we hunt (mostly for roo, bunnies and pig)

          No heads up on walls at Castel Della Poiple, but plenty of full tummies.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            I used to hunt dove in New Mexico in the 70's. I wouldn't do it now, just too much murder for too little meat. But boy, dove breast sure is delicious.

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              I also grew up hunting. First for rabbit (hare and cotton tail) and grouse then deer and moose. Alas my time constraints limit my jaunts in the forest.

              We never really thought about hunting for sport - the hunt itself can be thrilling - and it was eat what we shot. (Hunting with my nephew years back, we accidently shot a wren while duck hunting. Wren tastes like chicken with less meat)
              What many people don't realize is that hunting can also be very frustrating and mundane when game is scarce.
              I also think many people feel its an unfair advantage pitting say a rifle against a deer. I have been outwitted by game many times, it ain't 'like shooting fish in a barrel'.
              Sam, I always wanted to eat wild pig. I've eaten 'wild boar' on occasion, but thought it an oxymoron as its farm-raised.
              Whats it like? I'm guessing a gamey version of pork?

              1. re: porker

                "Gamey" to some degree, but also much more flavor than domestic--even sweeter depending on diet. Leaner, so care has to be taken not to overcook and dry out the meat.

            2. A year or two ago, my 14-year-old daughter became very concerned about the ethics of being an omnivore. She's as tender-hearted an animal lover as they come, but also enjoys eating meat. And she refuses to cop out and pretend that the plastic-wrapped slabs of protein in the butcher case are something other than pieces of dead animals.

              She went vegetarian for a while. Then she got her hunting license. The hunter's safety course addressed a lot of her ethical qualms, talking about how hunting is an effective wildlife management tool that prevents the excess capacity of the quarry populations from succumbing to other pressures like starvation. But it won't ever be easy for her to kill an animal for food. As far as I'm concerned, that's the way it should be.

              She eats all types of meat now, including the stuff she puts on the table. But only if it was raised and dispatched humanely. No commodity beef or battery-farmed poultry. And no wasted game. She's been a good influence on the whole family, and I'm proud of her.

              Speaking of which, there are a couple of pheasant in the freezer that need to be defrosted. Mind the birdshot...

              1. as a former, long-time vegetarian, i think hunting and fishing are among the most humane ways of eating meat -- esp. if you eat only what you hunt and fish. but whether i could actually hunt or fish is highly theoretical. i'm one of those people who can't even watch movie blood -- though i'm also not the sort to lose my head if i see people get hurt in real life. and, not to brag, but i'm a hell of a shot with a rubber band.

                i often wish i did know how to fish and hunt. as it is, i wouldn't know how to clean the body if it gave me oral instructions.

                23 Replies
                1. re: cimui

                  seriously cim,

                  If you are keen to try, start off with fishing. Grab a rod and head for your nearest pier. It's that easy. Don't get bogged down with details like "the whiting are only biting on pippies".. grab a squid jig (no bait needed) and head off for a moonlit sojourn.

                  No blood, very little guts, easiest prep imaginable, and once you've had fresh calamari, you'll never go back!!!

                  ed to add:

                  Most of my fishing skills started like that. The old timers down at the pier LOVE teaching newbies fishing skills. It's a great social occasion, too! As a young girl, my Dad and I got regularly "adopted" by the old Greek men on the Dromana pier, and if we didn't catch anything, we were sure to come home with a calamari or two "just tell your Mama you caught hims yourself!!"

                  1. re: purple goddess

                    heh. i live on the island of manhattan. i don't know if i'd really want to eat anything caught in the waters 'round here. there are probably a lot of overgrown monster fish who were flushed down the city's toilets when they outgrew the bathtub.

                    i also need lessons in how to clean fish (you just scrape out everything that looks stringy and soft in the middle part, and then scrape off the scales? can you just do this in your sink or is it an outdoor activity?). you and passadumkeg should come down to nyc and teach a course!

                    1. re: cimui

                      Scale first: you can use the back of a chef's knife. Scrape from tail to head. Make a cut from the "chin" down to the anus. Reach in and pull everything out, including the gills. Wash out the cavity under running water. Thats all there is to it.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Perfect, Sam -- thanks very much!

                        1. re: cimui

                          Also read Mark Kurlansky's book Oyster, a natural history of NYC.

                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          One additional step. At the top of the cavity, below the spine, is a dark bundle of tissue running the length of the spine. get in there with end of a teaspoon handle and scrape it all out. That's the beast's kidney.

                        3. re: cimui

                          yup. Wot Sam said.

                          I don't know how this will translate to you guys in the US, but here in OZ, you can get out of town to a fish farm.. trout and river salmon. You hire the rod, catch the fish, and someone from the farm will help you clean, scale and gut. Once you've seen it done, it is so freakin' easy.

                          Having said that, I am probably the only woman I know who delighted to get her own fish scaler and chain mail glove for Mother's Day!!

                          Squid are even easier. Catch 'em, kill 'em. Grab the tentacles, pull and separate from hood, clean under running water, chop and cook.. no scaling, no filleting, no bones. Pure yumminess.

                          We're not allowed to link to our own blogs, but if you drop by mine and go back to Dec/Jan archives, there are some great pics of our catches, and how to clean and cook them.

                          1. re: purple goddess

                            Thanks PG. I will certainly go take a look. A chain mail glove sounds like some pretty fancy pants stuff. :)

                            1. re: cimui

                              cimui: if you have a bacony or a fire escape (well that might be rude if it's over a sidewalk) spread newspapers and clean the fish on that.

                              even in the kitchen on the counter or floor, spread newspapers.

                              ask for specific guidance regarding catfish. I never could fillet them right. and that skin!

                              1. re: hill food

                                I don't have either a balcony or fire escape. Maybe I could take it to the park... ;)

                                Thanks -- all these tips are VERY much appreciated!

                                1. re: cimui

                                  I like the idea of the park, impromptu performance art that may very well horrify someone - HA!

                                  get a friend to photograph. get good and offer it as a service. I do like SK's underwater scaling suggestion. as unlikely as I'll need it, I'll have to remember it.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    I once saw someone scaling and gutting fish in Dolores Park in SF. Didn't attract much attention, except from the dogs.

                          2. re: cimui

                            I wouldn't suggest scaling indoors, even with newspaper. I mean, do it if you have to, but the scales don't simply fall off - they fly. You'll be picking them off your arms, chest, face, hair, etc.
                            You don't have to worry about the scales if you're filleting, but sometimes (ahhh, many times), you want that yummy skin crisped up!
                            Here's a video which shows a basic scaling technique. Note the guy has a fancy shmancy scaler which makes the job real easy.


                            1. re: porker

                              If you have to scale indoors and have a glass enclosed shower (with door!), that's the place to do it!

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                restaurants scale fish while the fish is submerged underwater. keeps the scales contained. it's not practical in some home kitchens, but maybe in those big deep sinks that are the vogue in luxury homes, or in a bus-tub set up outside, maybe. be sure to thoroughly rinse the fish afterward

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  ACCCCK! I bet the drain smells good after that. You must use some chernobyl style tilex.
                                  Personally I just use a knife and scape them off. I prefer to do that in my neighbors driveway (smirk).
                                  Many boat ramps and public fishing areas here have cleaning stations.

                                  1. re: Docsknotinn

                                    For those who prefer scaling under water to control the spatter, there's always the bath tub.

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      A good old fashioned dish tub out side might be a titch less to clean up. You can also get inexpensive galvanized tubs at TSC. Cleaning fish in the bathroom reminds me of a Seinfeld episode with kramer washing his dishes in the shower.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    But...;. But.... But.... But.... My fish monger doesn't have a lake! '-)

                            2. re: cimui

                              I cringe at movie blood and never watch horror or slasher films. I teach a high school outdoors English class entitled "Trout fishing in America" (Apologies to Mr Brautigan) we read The Old Man And the Sea, A River Runs Through It, The River Why, a local author, James Baab (Crosscurrents) and excerpts from a contemporary of Shakespeare (not the rod & reel) and other practical articles. Every Thursday morning we'd meet at school and fish 'til noon(If they had their assignments done.). A lot of kids no longer have a parent to teach them how. I had one female vegan take the class and sit by the stream with pole and just a split shot at the end of the line. She wanted to get away from the confines of school. Did a lot of stream side counseling.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                your kids are LUCKY! that's english class?!

                                it seems as though you're focusing on the fresh water aspects of the genre, but should you ever wish to go to sea, this is a lovely poem:


                                1. re: cimui

                                  The First week of school in my Maritime Lit. Course. we go sea kayaking for 5 days, 3 nights, on the Maine Island Trail. So thanks.

                            3. Flattering question, Mr. Keg, sir, but MY "cast and stalk" days are pretty much behind me. Well, I do sometimes cast around for something appealing to eat, then stalk the ingredients if the idea holds its charm long enough.

                              I have been thinking about all the squeamishness the past day or two. I'm only a little surprised by it. And I agree with you in that it's highly unlikely that hunters or fisherman would suffer from it, but... yesterday I wrote a fairly long post talking about what people miss by not growing up in a family setting where animals are raised and slaughtered and eaten with gusto. I was about to hit the post button when a power failure beat me to it and launched it into cyberspace.

                              But I do think the idea has merit. I've always regretted that urbanization and the overwhelming growth of agribusiness made it extremely difficult, if not downright impossible, to give my kids any of the benefits that I had. They did get to watch our cats queen, but hey, how often do you have roast cat for dinner? Not the same. Still today I would LOVE to have some chickens scratching in my backyard and have a rooster crow me awake in the morning, but city codes forbid it. I would also love to have a pygmy goat to munch down the poison ivy that creeps up from the creek. Again, city codes.

                              People who have never raised chickens (or any other food bearing critter) miss so much. For me, chickens were biology and anatomy lessons wrapped in feathers! I was never repulsed when my grandfather seperated a chicken's head from it's body with a swift sharp axe. But I was fascinated with how he hypnotized the chicken first, then dispatched it humanely, then set the headless body on the ground to have its last run-around. I was full of curiosity! How did the body know which way was "up" so it didn't fall over? How did the legs know how to walk without the brain telling it what to do? I still wonder about those things. My brother and I had contests with chicken legs, pulling "cords" to make the claws open and close, then having contests to see who could make their chicken foot pick up the heaviest things. You also learn about Velcro by putting chicken feathers back together when they split. And you learn to pick the best feathers to notch the home made arrows you will use later for (always fruitless) home-made bow hunting. Oh, and don't forget that fishing and scaling my own fish taught me where sequins come from!

                              The problem with buying a dozen eggs at the supermarket is that you never get to see a baby chick peck its way out of the shell, slimy and messy with pin feathers glued down, then in twenty minutes or less see it bloom into an adorable little yellow ball of fluff that makes such charming "peep peep" sounds. And all the while know that the enchanting ball of yellow fluff will someday make the most succulent chicken and dumplings for Sunday supper!

                              I think people are squeamish today because we now grow up and live too far from nature. And bag too much of our meat supply in cryovac instead of in the wild. But as the old saying goes, "There's no going back." Pity.

                              1. I use to fish, but my NY attitude got the best of me and it was more efficient to go to Whole Foods or some fish market. The last time I had to kill something was a dozen crabs. For some reason, I didn't feel good about eating them. This whole episode bothered me because I had no issue killing anything when I was younger and plating it.

                                As for killing a lobster, I found the best way to do this was to take two of your fingers and stroke the back of its head. The lobster will be calmed. You can even stand it up on its tail. When it is calm, you plop it in boiling water or bring out the big knifes. When I was younger I was taught by a Cantonese Chef to make the lobster urinate and clean out the tract. Then with my big cleaver I would lop the head off. Call me a mean kid, but I like lobster.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: designerboy01

                                  I love crabs and have no problem boiling them alive, I catch my own. As to lobster, they have no central nervous system, I've cut the head off and left it in the sink, and have it crawling around fifteen minutes later, kinda creepy. I've heard Anthony Bourdain mention soething similiar.

                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                    Nobody but the lobster will know if they face any pain. There's a lot of controversy about the whole lobster issue. But I've got to say that I cooked up a lobster last weekend and didn't cut the head off but slit it behind the eyes right in the middle. It moved for three seconds (nowhere near 15 minutes) and then stopped and didn't move at all.

                                2. Excellent post and thread! :)
                                  I hunt and fish. Like others here I have some very basic rules for myself. I never kill any thing that won't be consumed. The idea of harvesting free range, anti biotic and steroid free flesh is very appealing. In spite of all the current trends (slow food etc) this has always been my mantra and I'm happy to find I'm not alone in that belief here at CH. The whole idea of field to table is incredibly appealing to me.I also love to forage, ramps, mushrooms etc. For me that's just another form of hunting.
                                  After all of the squemish stuff lately I was realy starting to feel like the odd man out and I'm really glad to see there are other sportsmen here.
                                  I also find the Native American twist rather intersting. I've always been thankfull for every animal I've taken. I can't say the same of grocery store meat (or the parsley...lol).
                                  I grew up in N Michigan and I recall reading an interview with the great clogged one about how when he came to this area and saw the bounty and a venison hanging on a friends porch he knew he had to have a cottage here.

                                  1. My husband is the hunter in the family. He's got an awesome eye and I'd rather not take the chance of injuring and not killing an animal. I do the fishing and in the past when we had an acre or two and no zoning I raised the chickens. We both share in the butchering chores. We've been "promised" a transfer soon back to rural SW VA and are already looking for a house and land where we can establish another chicken flock and add rabbits into the mix (and maybe a lamb or two). Even here in suburbia we've been able to continue filling the freezer with deer and early last winter DH brought back 2 caribou from Canada. We've had great enjoyment from feeding our local urban and suburbanite friends incredibly elegant dinners featuring the game and fish we've caught and processed ourselves.

                                    1. I'm adamant that it is important for people to be in contact with their food and know where it comes from and how it's produced. Not only does it breed an appreciation for the origin of food, but it also serves to underpin a basic moral understanding of our place in nature and the world. Now that hunting and to a lesser extent fishing (as well as butchery) have become lost skills, frowned upon in certain segments of society, I can't help but feel that the moral regression that chooses blind ignorance over a minimal understanding of the food chain can be blamed on that set that regards hunting as murder but happily dines on steak (so long as it doesn't have to be purchased raw, can be served in a trendy setting and comes guaranteed organic). If you want natural, unadulterated meat, hunt.

                                      1. Hunter and fisherperson here. My hunting partner bagged a 22.5 pound turkey this spring and it was delicious for being such a biggun. Fishing just catch and release now, but hope to go up further in N. Michigan and pull some trout out of a stream to cook over a campfire.

                                        My hunting partner and I were just talking last night about how getting back to the roots of hunting could come into vogue and were joking around about chipping our own stone blades and drill bits and carving out an atl-atl to use. Yeah, I took some paleo-anthropology classes in school.

                                        1. I love to fish! Nothing makes me happier than our recent Sunday morning fishing trips as a family. We don't always catch anything worth keeping but it's a fun, relaxing time the whole family can enjoy.

                                          My SO and I are hoping to go turkey hunting this fall. We need to get the equipment needed and then we'll be on our way. I've hunted squirrels in the past and went with my dad several times when he was deer hunting. As long as a hunter uses the animal for food (for himself or others), I don't see anything wrong with it.

                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                              I don't enjoy spearing fish. I imagine them screaming. Last time I went snorkeling off of Providencia, I rigged up a hook, line, and sinker; dragged the baited hook in front of intended fish; and actually hooked a couple--all at about 20 feet.

                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                our boys got Hawaiian slings a few years ago.

                                                Hot Aussie Summer nights, Full moons shining, the rock pools and shallows at Anthony's Nose.

                                                Flounder and flathead time!

                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                  Most world-class diving areas prohibit the taking of fish (you can't even touch anything) but when I lived in Playa del Carmen, the mainland opposite Cozumel, it was the largest fish market in the world, with no cash register on the way out, and I did a lot of spearing, with everything from Hawaiian slings with rubber bands to sophisticated compressed Co2 guns. Fish have such a small "kill zone" that most thrash quite violently, creating disturbances that are noticed by... the Big Bad guys. How often I was on the lookout for a bull shark in the Cozumel channel that didn't quite get enough dinner the previous night. In some conditions, we are humbly in the middle of the food chain. Nurse, white tip, and black tip sharks are really lazy during the day, but an 11 foot bull shark could devour me in as many seconds.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    You definitely know you are not on top of the food chain when spearfishing. A long stringer on the butt of my gun helps keep any any predators at least a couple of feet from my appendages. At least I like to think so.

                                                2. My handle answers your question.

                                                  I don't hunt, but only because of the expense and exertion involved and the fact that I'd be a "mature student". Here in Ontario I'd need to take a hunter's course and a firearms handling course, find and get permission to hunt a property, purchase necessary equipment and hook up with a bunch of other near-sighted 60+ buffoons. Also, deer season coincides with our fall Salmon and Rainbow run.

                                                  I do enjoy gifts of moose and venison and in return give Salmon and Trout, including smoked offerings.

                                                  Like other respondents here I fish primarily for the table. At the height of our runs I catch a fish, clean a fish and eat a fish: next day I come back for another. Early on I smoke some of the better pieces. Mine actually improve with freezing. There are days when they are really hitting and on those days I take what I can legally, dress them, and distribute them to friends and some of older folk who can't get about much.

                                                  Fishing for sport? Damned right! We use 6# test with noodle rods at the end of our pier and, Passadumkeg, you have no idea what a ride a Chinook gives you! Here they run 10 to 20+ pounds.

                                                  "Catch and release" guys are a royal pain. The mortality rate of hooked and returned fish is pretty high, even when landed once, and aggressive fish are landed repeatedly.

                                                  Don't harass the livestock.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: DockPotato

                                                    In my area, there are designated streams that are only catch and release. The DNR has mandated them as such, so they don't seem to think that the fish mortality from this practice is unduly harmful. You just have to be careful.

                                                  2. YES hunt,fish gather ramps,mushrooms.I strive for rational,from domestic as well as wild.I am from a MT ranching family.With relatives all over the world ranching/farming,
                                                    hunting and fishing.The universal makes our skin crawl is "FACTORY MEAT".All the
                                                    plastic disconnect from living things.Cheap out weighing feed-lots,electrocution and all
                                                    other various unpleasantries.We don't eat anything we can't process from start to finish in this house,trade lamb for pork ect.
                                                    I have a knee jerk reaction to people who won't/don't practice what they preach in a
                                                    FAIR HONEST manner.
                                                    To the vegetarians/organic only folks out there,I pose this.Do you know the by-product
                                                    foot print of your food?What % is rational and humane?How much do you know about pesticides,free range and cultivation methods?Applied to the food you eat?
                                                    We eat vegetarian twice a week,by choice.It just makes sense,like local eggs and tomatoes,no recall worries.
                                                    To the folks that fish or play golf,no higher calling if most the important thing is about where you are,not keeping score.
                                                    keep it up,you are on a rational road

                                                    1. A really interesting topic, Passadumkeg.

                                                      like many here, I am an ethical eater - I know where my meat comes from, I buy direct from farmers or my trustworthy butcher. I am not ashamed to be omnivorous, and I think it's hypocritical to eat meat and not acknowledge where it comes from - another animal's life.And I am frustrated that urban dwellers are so far removed from the source of their food that they don't know that certain fish have a season or what animal veal comes from.

                                                      That said, I have never killed my own food. I secretly wish I could, beause I think it would be a valuable experience, and the ultimate way to acknowledge the process which allows me to eat meat and fish. But I'm also worried - what if, when it came down to it, I couldn't? What if I felt nauseous or fainted at the sight of death and blood? What if, faced with the work involved in plucking and dressing a chicken, instead of feeling proud, I thought, "the supermarket's way easier than this, why bother"? I'm frightened I'd turn out to be a coward, and then my position as an urban consumer would be even more untenable and hypocritical.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Gooseberry

                                                        Gooseberry: as you suspect you'd get bored well before horrified.

                                                        and to others above - it is indeed important to understand where/what the story is of food on your plate. not being poetic, but I have no time for some who can't stand meat that looks "too much like its source" but will dive into a burger.

                                                        oh and the hunting thing? I'd do it, except it requires waking at 4 AM (now at my current posting) I stay up for 4 not get up and believe me, if I'm up at 4 you do NOT want me waving a firearm in the vicinity (despite intensive gun-safety lessons growing up)

                                                      2. Thanks, so much everyone. I feel almost normal, what a boring idea.

                                                        1. I also enjoy the outdoors and all that goes with that; hunting, yes; fishing, definitely; clamming, can't anymore due to food allergies. The best day of hunting is bagging a boar or maxing out on ducks. Daughter-unit Beta is a better shot than me. Daughter-unit Alpha and Spawn are definitely luckier when we fish, often catching their limits long before the morning's done. All three girls know how to dress game and clean fish. The worst day of any outdoor activity is still a perfect walk through the hills and forests or meandering along some shoreline or dropping a line off a pier. The responsibilities my daughter-units have learned about cleaning their gear, safety, and enjoying these times in "the wild" are well-worth any energy and time invested. It's also taught them resource management. They must be able (and willing) to clean and store all foods before going out.

                                                          17 Replies
                                                          1. re: The Ranger

                                                            that's amusing, do the kiddos know they're referred to as Alpha Beta Spawn?

                                                            no comment or criticism, just curious.

                                                            whatever the activity sounds like good parent-child time.

                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                              Yes, the nicks have been with them since birth. :)

                                                              Alpha & Beta are twins. Spawn's her own child and an independent spirit.

                                                            2. re: The Ranger

                                                              If Beta or either of the others enjoys shotgunning, you may want to introduce them to the joys of trapshooting. Teenage girls (okay, a few boys too) are ruling the sport lately, much to the chagrin of the middle-aged men who have become far too comfortable with their dominance. Plus, the coach of the Olympic trapshooting team lives in Placerville and is actively encouraging new recruits. The clay targets don't cook up so well, but breaking them teaches the shooters skills that transfer well.

                                                              I hadn't hunted since I was a kid, but (as noted above) started again last fall with my daughter. Knowing that gun familiarity and marksmanship weren't going to be issues took away any potential anxiety regarding safety and unnecessary wounding.

                                                              Here in CA, women and kids aren't just the future of the sport, they're it's face as well. Hunting is looking like it might make a resurgance, and the atypical (young, female, urban, educated) hunters are much more likely to make a difference in the perception of the sport and broaden its appeal.

                                                              BTW, where do you hunt boar? I had friends in Nevada county with a pig infestation problem, but they moved and I'm reluctant to do a canned hunt. But there's nothing better than a yearling pig on a spit...

                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                Oh you're gonna get comments. I respect your approach to a canned hunt. I won't comment on certain people in high elected office who had an issue with that a while back. well other than - hunt for real or go to the store.


                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                  I'm not sure this would qualify as a "canned hunt" , but my employer in Texas for 8 years had a ranch that occupied a fair portion of Webb County, Texas, (near Laredo) and he spent hundreds of $thousands annually on habitat management, tilling, disking, planting goatweed, drilling wells, installing stock tanks, and did an annual census of the deer population with intensive helicopter surveying. The area yields Boone and Crockett level trophies, but not for commercial hunts.
                                                                  I was a finance guy, but was sometimes diverted/dispatched to thin the herd of a calculated number of deer and innumerable javolinas, which compete for the same habitat.
                                                                  As for quail, I was no Dick Cheney. After a covey rise, with the time I took to be sure I was not going to shoot a friend or a dog, the birds were allready down again. We ate smothered quail every Sunday noon as the traditional lunch during season, but I contributed little to it.

                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                    All comments are welcome. I've got a thick skin.

                                                                    Canned hunts are what they are. IMHO there's a place for them, especially when it comes to upland game: new hunters can be spared the frustration of fruitless marching around through the brush, and unseaoned dogs can learn to get on birds. And when it comes to canned hunts with high-ranking political officials, all I can say is that when you're gunning for laywers, you've gotta do better than #9 shot.

                                                                    To clarify with regard to the pig hunt scenario, I probably used the "canned hunt" term inadvisedly. Monterey County has plenty of guides who use fair chase to put you on lots of feral pigs on private land. Are they "canned" hunts? No. The game isn't planted, and you take your chances. On the other hand, it's kind of like hiring a fishing guide who knows the local pocket water. Not like buying an afternoon at a stocked pond, but OTOH not the same as stalking your quarry on your own.

                                                                    Which gets us back to the question: anybody know anybody with a vineyard that needs some porcine extermination services? I hear that wine pairing for a pig that has fattened up on grapes is a no-brainer...

                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      Ah, the ole' wine and swine daily double...

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        never been on a bird hunt myself. rather herd steers - sometimes gamy is just not my game.

                                                                        althougth it is important to mind wildlife - even the softest heart had to be affected by the FL footage in the late 80's of starving and drowning deer.

                                                                        AB: I bet I could come up with a good grape based braise.

                                                                      2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                        One cannot "can" a California coast range pig hunt. Unless things have changed, it is easy to go hunting and never see a pig.

                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                          That's probably subject to interpretation based on each persons definitions but there are to my understanding now california ranchers cross breeding for larger more aggresive animals than the feral hogs of the past.

                                                                          1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                            They were pretty aggresive in the past!!

                                                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      Ah! Funny you should say that! We have 4 boys and 1 daughter. Two boys are left handed(I shoot lefty) don't fish and won't shoot a gun. The 2 right handed ones love to fish and beat the hell out of me shooting skeet. Our daughter was adopted in Bolivia, likes to fish but is so slight of build, she can't handle a 12 ga. pump gun. She brought her Texas boy friend back to Maine and we shot at targets and skeet and she out shot him badly! But what fun we had. A family skeet competition in the works this summer as they will all be visiting. Some good fishing in the plans for trout and salmon.

                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg


                                                                        A short-stocked gas-operated semiautomatic like the Beretta 3901RL will even the playing field for the smaller and lighter members of the family during skeet competitions. It fits better and kicks less; my daughter was shooting thousands of 12ga rounds every year before she hit 5 feet or 90 pounds. And although recoil isn't as much of a factor in the field, gun fit improves accuracy. Only problem is that dad's pride may take yet another hit. Trust me, I know.

                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          Any auto loader will help reduce recoil. A 20 gauge might be better suited to a small frame shooter. They shoot a very similar pattern to a 12 but with less recoil. The Remingtons are a good bit less $ than the Beretta and offer youth models as well. I shoot skeet and clays with a 687 Silver pigeon sporting.

                                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          Phil Bourjaily writes a column in FIELD&STREAM.He recently
                                                                          addressed the shotgun/small of stature issue quite well.F&S has also
                                                                          done a good job with compound bow and rifle info for the small of
                                                                          stature.My guess is most,if not all is on line.
                                                                          Alan Barnes is spot on about the "new" face of hunting.It is crucial to
                                                                          remain open minded,don't type cast the group as only one kind of?
                                                                          I grew up in a genderless household,the boys sew ect,us girls shoot
                                                                          ect.Dad and Mom taught equally,if you were interested the time was
                                                                          taken to teach.Not boy=barn or girl=kitchen,ALL chores were rotated.
                                                                          There is much to be said for re-loading benches on a rainy day.My
                                                                          sib and I still STS several times a year this way,more than 50 years
                                                                          later.Grand kids welcome.

                                                                        3. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          Thanks for the pointer regarding trap. She's currently tied to competition soccer so there's little time (pleasure or distractions) available between seasons. I hope the sport does take on the new look-and-feel because I've seen what happens when a sport stops "appealing" to the [18-25 single-male Bud] set.

                                                                          There's a ranch in Cloverdale (actually several) that sponsor hunts during boar season. I've had moderate luck at two. I cannot, for the life of me, find the business cards of either at the moment. I'll look around and repost the information.

                                                                          My first hunt, I'd spent the entire day plodding up those volcanic-strewn hills, through black-muck ruts, down leaf-littered groves to finally sit down with this deer to catch my breath. The whitetail simply sat there, looking at me. After deciding my 10-minute was more like 15, I stood up. A twig snapped. It might as well have been a M100. The deer launched itself down the hill and out of my sight within seconds. The noise as that deer left started this set of bushes to my left jostling violently. Without warning, this huge head with black fur poked out and scared me to death. There are times when Lady Luck has a wickedly vicious sense of humor: that was one. I dropped the pig, totally excited to have one set up so beautifully. 120-lber! Did you know that trucking dead-weight pig over-hill-and-through-dell is a great cardio workout? Did you know that ticks and fleas find human a second to pig? I was a ways from base-camp. It sucked to be me.

                                                                      2. Passa...this has been such an interesting, informative, reflective thread. Many thanks for your inspiration! I'm loving each post.

                                                                        In my younger days I fished to eat, both fresh water and ocean. I Loved it. Just being on the water is therapeutic. When my daughter was very young she would invariably be the first to catch a large blue fish with just a drop line off the stern. All the fish was carried home and cleaned in front of everyone. And, usually grilled on an open fire. Each session was a learning experience for young and old....and plenty of good eating as well. Thanks for the memories.

                                                                        1. Excellent post! I so agree with how crucial it is to know where your food comes from. Thankfully my butcher traces my animals back to the farm, herd, etc. for me. I am also able to go to the farm to choose my lamb, beef and pork. It is a certified organic farm, too.

                                                                          My dad was a big game hunter when I was growing up so we were raised on elk, moose and deer. We also raised our own beef, pork, chickens, turkeys, ducks and lamb. We milked cows and churned our own butter. We were used to having our dogs dig up the skulls and antlers and scatter them all over the yard. I recall being very embarassed when my friends came over and had to step over elk legs and hooves to get to the house! ;)

                                                                          Dad was an ethical hunter and did it for the meat. He really enjoyed hunting but to him success was being out in nature and being part of the food chain. My husband is also a cautious hunter. He has provided us with elk, moose and deer. We love the meat (except the deer). I usually go hunting with him (take the camper out to the bush) just to be out in nature. I do not hunt myself (although I did take Firearm Safety) but am definitely not squeamish. (Except for geoduck as I posted!)

                                                                          My husband and I both enjoy fishing - getting out in nature and tranquility is important to us. There is something so primal and earthy and wonderful and satisfying about catching your own food where you know it has lived in a healthy and natural environment.

                                                                          So I know what you are saying about "happy meat". Have you read the River Cottage Meat book? It truly is life changing. I do not see how it cannot change the way people feel about hunting, fishing and raising livestock. A must read.

                                                                          1. I don't hunt but I do alot of salt water fishing. Pretty much all the fish I eat (tuna, yellowtail, bass, etc) is something I've caught, cleaned and cooked.

                                                                            1. I used to fish a lot more but I do still hunt, mostly upland game. I particularly enjoy hunting upland game over my dogs, a large part of this is the training and working with the dogs. A day out in the field is always good and a few nice birds for the table is icing on the cake.

                                                                              Some day I would like to move to an area where I can be a smallholder growing food for myself, with feed crops for deer and birds around the property so I can hunt or fish for some of our meat.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: vonwotan

                                                                                on re-reading the thread,

                                                                                vonw, re: any crops you plant, you may not have a choice on those becoming feed crops for wildlife. I remember the year my dad decided to put in milo. saw lots of deer the next year, but couldn't harvest the yield expected that summer.

                                                                              2. 5 decades ago, I got my hunting license when I was 9 years old. I started fishing then too and I’m still stumbling around in the streams. It’s sure hard to see while trying to tie on that little fly, but hardly anything beats a meal of fresh-caught trout from a mountain stream.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: BN1

                                                                                  BN1: you catch it someone else scales it. (but I still have the 11 yr-old's fascination with "what's in the stomach?")

                                                                                2. Excellent post. In my ideal world I would kill and prepare all the meat that I consume. However, I buy most from the market. I have fileted and eaten many fish that I have caught. I have butchered deer and made it into tasty roasts. I feel a somewhat closer connection to my food sources for having done that. At the same time, I feel guilty for buying the meat in styrofoam containers wrapped in plastic at the grocery store.

                                                                                  To answer your question, "does anyone else understand?" yes I do.

                                                                                  1. Pass,
                                                                                    I want to congratulate you on initiating one of the finest posts I've read in sometime.
                                                                                    As you know from many of my previous boastings......err, I mean postings women want me and fish fear me! Hunting has never been one of my passions. Although I do respect the tradition and think/thought I had a pretty good understanding of that tradition.

                                                                                    The uniform thoughtfulness of the many responders, including your own, in honoring what they pursue is something that most urbanites, suburbanites and doctrinaire PETA-types will, sadly, never take the time to fully understand.

                                                                                    All the best,

                                                                                    1. I do not necessarily hunt, I like to skeet shoot or shoot clay birds, but I grew up on a beef farm. You learned not to name ANYTHING, except for dogs and barn cats. I remember my Dad bringing home cute creatures we knew not to get attached to, I was quite fond of our Charlemagne bull who was a sweetie, that one was safe too. But especially regarding cows, when you see them and around them in a farm setting day in and day out you don't really feel that bad about it.

                                                                                      I also had an amish nanny and we had to butcher chickens, which was always the day I hated the most, there was always blood everywhere because it spurts out and the chicken does run around with its head cut off and you have to be careful because the other chickens want to attack it. Oh that was not fun. They butchered other things too, and always hunted. I milked the cows and cooked the things they brought home.

                                                                                      All of my family fishes and hunts, they are big fly fishers and don't often bring home much but sometimes, they also will deep sea fish now and again. In Belize a few years ago I caught a 45 pound wahoo with some help and that made for great eating. I also caught some snapper. My family hunt squirrels, deer and other game, they dig ramps. My brother's friend accidentally killed a duck and my brother and his friends didn't want to waste it so they cleaned it and cooked it. I have had bear, squirrel, rabbit, pheasant, groundhog, all sorts of meat that my family or over people bring over to my families house for us to cook. People now pride themselves in the wierd things they can bring to my Aunt and she will cook and serve them.

                                                                                      My sister in law to be can't stand the thought of where food comes from, and was a vegetarian for a long time, she eats chicken and fish now, and beef rarely. That seems funny to me because of all the things I have killed or seen killed chickens are by far the worst to have to kill and process. To me it is no big deal. Sometimes when I am out I will see an animal or a picture of something and turn to Fiance and say mmm, fluffy and he just laughs. I was probably the only kid in elementary school who wasn't horrified at the veal farm, I liked veal, no it isn't pleasant, but life isn't all butterflies and packaged plastic containers of things you don't have to think about. I will hack apart a lamb shoulder roast to make gyros, which can get a little gory depending on how fresh it is, and it doesn't phase me at all, that's life. My Dad and Grandad were both from the depression era, my Mom grew up in a poor household in WV and you made due with what you grew or hunt.

                                                                                      I think it is important to know where you food comes from and have an appreciation for the people who make it so. We always buy whole animals at the county fair, and seeing those kids who have raised that animal crying behind the barn as fluffy is loaded onto the trailor is tough, but they are happy to have the money to pay for college and get over it, I think you have a greater respect for your environment when you see what it takes to get your food to the plate, and how different companies do it. I would rather have a cow from my farm than from a stockyard because I think that is better for everyone including the cows.

                                                                                      Oh and we would sometimes try to guilt my Mom when she put lobsters in the pot, but that was mainly just for a good laugh. She would tell us that if we felt bad she would eat ours too, she is such a smart woman.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                        Enjoyable post, and as you said, "that's life".

                                                                                      2. it is important to remember the source.

                                                                                        nice story KT

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                          Thanks Veggo and hill food, this may be one of my favorite chow threads, I have really enjoyed reading all the posts and insight from everyone.

                                                                                        2. Putting all introspections aside, there is another reason we fish or hunt.

                                                                                          We enjoy a level of quality, freshness, tastes and textures far, far above what's available from any purveyor.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: DockPotato

                                                                                            Often by a wide margin, and simply not available by any other means.