Going Hunting

Dad and my baby brother–two of my favorite hunters.

While out hiking with Thistle last weekend I came across a bearded fellow and his grandson. The older man’s looks and language told me he was a local–an old-timer–and just as I would have expected, he stopped to visit with me.
After a bit of talk he leaned on his gnarled walking stick and confessed, “We’re some of them bear hunters. Don’t know how you feel about that.”
Well, how I feel about that is kind of complicated. I’m pretty attached to Momma, who has raised three litters of three in our backyard, even nursing them on the deck. So I’d be opposed to anyone taking aim at her. Which hunters are NOT supposed to do when she has cubs, which has been pretty much as long as we’ve known her.
In general, however, I don’t mind hunting. So long as hunters eat what they shoot. I said so to my new friend and he allowed as how they do, indeed, eat what they shoot. Suits me.
I grew up around hunters and hunting. Characters in my books hunt. When I see someone out in the woods with a rifle I tend to ask what they’re after and have they seen anything. Hunters make me homesick. And they make me crave biscuits with venison gravy.
I know hunting can be a controversial subject. And I do have a hard time understanding why people kill animals for sport. But killing animals for steak? That I understand. Especially when you grow up poor in Appalachia.
I love animals. It delights me to see all the wildlife thriving in our little valley in Western North Carolina. And yes, I’ll admit I’d have a hard time shooting an animal. But in this fallen, sinful world, it’s part of the cycle. Choosing not to eat meat is a luxury in the country where I was reared. And I tend to have MORE respect for the person who really understands where his food comes from over the one who fails to associate bacon with that cute pig on the wrapper.