September 1st arrives and I remember the times over the summer where I had a husband.
I fondly recall the evenings we spent chatting over BBQ dinner as the warm dusk took over. Puttering around the house together on weekends, completing projects or planning new ones. Afternoons spent on the lake with friends, swimming, beaching and cold beers in hand. And then the reality of the next three months kicks in. Dinner alone or not at all, up at some ungodly hour on the weekends to sit silently in the damp cold and await something that may not even show, or worse, walking in silence; stalking something I can’t even see.
In the newness of my relationship I insisted on joining in all these treks into the bush, wanting to be an active part of providing our life with organic, free-range sustenance. Now, I accept that maybe this isn’t for me. I am incapable of pretending anywhere near the level of joy, excitement, anticipation and commitment that my partner displays. I understand counting down to Christmas perfectly, I start that in July, but in our house we count down to Sept. 1 as well. As the days grow cooler, the excitement builds and it is not uncommon for my partner to spend hours in the front field, repeatedly shooting a bow before coming in to clean multiple pieces of hunting gear throughout the evening. His phone dings incessantly with texts and calls, “Let’s go to the range,” “I got new arrows,” “I saw something on the game camera.” Plans are made and he is gone.
This could turn into a woe is me article about being left in out of the cold, so to speak, but I have begun to listen to the wisdom of other hunting wives. A circle of woman accustomed to celebrating milestones alone in the fall and winter months, but rather not alone, for we have each other. I am inspired to spark new interests and hobbies. Perhaps I will start going to yoga finally, or maybe I will knit stuff!
And yes, I will still go hunting on occasion, because I do enjoy it in small doses, plus I look adorable in my matching camouflage outfit and the gold accents on my hunting rifle really sparkle in the fall sunshine. Pulling a beautiful pack of organic, humanely killed steaks out of the freezer in the dead of February is something to be greatly appreciated. Knowing where an animal came from and how it lived should be part of the responsibility of eating meat.
I know our community, and many others, have a strong division between those that hunt and those that don’t. I have a hunting family, but am friends with many who could never take on the task of killing something. I can understand that. I don’t know if I will ever have the courage or strength to take down a deer, though I do love to eat them and we respect every animal we eat, whether grocery store purchased or taken from the wilds. Personally I am big fan of grouse hunting. Tasty little birds that never require an intense stalk or even for one to leave the relative safety of the back roads. The kind of day hunting I can really get behind, fresh dinner on the table and still time for a bonfire and drinks in the yard! Not the late night cleaning and shop time that something larger can take, though there is something so satisfactory about seeing my husband and our friends and the pride we all feel in providing for ourselves, our families, so I do partake in this when it happens.
Respecting nature is a huge part of hunting for the men and women that I know who do it. There have been many times in the bush when we see an animal so majestic and vivid, that it becomes a spiritual moment, a connection to nature I would not have expected. To know that they are out there and we have the blessing to witness this because we hunt. It is not necessarily for the kill that these hunters and huntress’ spend days outdoors; it is a true love of all things in our back yard.
It has become too common for us as humans to purchase our meat and vegetables from the store, the detachment to where our food really comes from grows worse all the time. It is the hunters, farmers and gardeners of our communities who still hold to the traditions that we should all be aware of. Sustainable growth and harvesting. This hunting season, when you see me out for a wine luncheon with my ladies, or awkwardly contorted in an attempt to achieve Yogi status, know that my partner is out there, not only hunting for our food but learning and educating himself on conservation, population and the lives these animals live parallel to our own. This hunting season (and all seasons) educate yourselves on the same. I am always learning and maybe one day I will be a hunting wife who fully immerses in the lifestyle. Respect and understanding of nature is never a misplaced venture.
“Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.” - Fred Bear