Survival Sunday – The Huntress

This year’s filled tag – my first!!

“Omg! Omg!! Omg!!!”

I’ll get back to that in a second.  Living a self-sufficient lifestyle requires a vast variety of proficiencies: growing your own food, foraging edible and medicinal plants, food preservation, caring for livestock, construction, and hunting are just a few of the skills one needs to be self-sustaining.

2015 Pre-season scouting

Hunting.

To be honest, I really didn’t want to go deer hunting this year. Not seeing anything but deer and elk scat and prints for the past two years and this year’s physical issues, any excitement I’ve had about hunting was all but extinguished.

2015 Elk prints

Mr. Misty’s enthusiasm has had to carry me this season and I grumbled, all the way to the little local market, about what a waste of money it was, barely making it before the cutoff for buying tags.

We’ve been out a few time, weather driving us quickly back in. Last week, there was finally a break in the rain and a monetarily blue sky; when the sun broke through, you could almost hear angels singing to which Mr. Misty cheered, “let’s go to the gate and glass the hillside!!” (just on the other side of our property.)

Protesting, loudly, under my breath, I pulled on my “hunters Orange” t-shirt and hiking boots, and dragging my feet to the truck, desperately tried to think of a reason I shouldn’t go. Darn it! Where was the cough that had been plaguing me the past few days when I needed it!!

We get to the gate, Mr. Misty flys out of the truck and has his spotting scope set up before I even unbuckled my seat belt. I’m so enthusiastic I don’t even bother pulling out my rifle. I finally make it to the gate (which is less than four feet away) and he hands me his rifle, barely concealing his irritation with my lack of interest and tells me, “here, look through this and tell me if you see something”, to which I reply, “M’kay…siiiiggghhhh.”  Seriously y’all, it was my best sigh since I was sixteen, with eye-roll for added effect, but he was already focused on the hillside.

Pulling the rifle scope to my eye, I started my normal grid-like search: left to right / up a down, in small quadrants. I don’t know if that’s how you’re supposed to do it, but it’s how I do it.

Tree. Tree. Stump. Bush. “Oh! Petty leaves!” Tree. Stump. “Are those huckleberries?” Grass. Brush. “I wonder if there are any edible mushrooms out there.” Stump. Rock. Brush. “I’d probably eat one that would kill me.” Pine. Cedar. Cottonwood. Brush. “Well, at least it would put an end to this pointless ‘hunt’.” Brush. Grass.  “Sigh…(with eye-roll)” Tall grass. Brush. Dead Queen Anne’s Lace. “Wow! It’s beautiful even when it’s spent and brown.” Stump. Branch. Deer butt. Grass. Tree. “Wait!! Butt!!! BUTT…and horns!!”

By now it’s raining again and Mr. Misty confirmed I was indeed seeing a Buck (where we live in the Pacific Northwest, we can shoot any Buck) and tells me to go ahead and take the shot. Good thing that Buck wasn’t in any hurry. Even with the extra time it took me to line it up, it wasn’t the best shot – I aimed for the shoulder and hit closer to the hip, and I’m pretty sure I closed my eyes.

What a humbling experience filling my first tag was – once we got the Buck down off the hillside and to the truck, Mr. Misty and I both said a little prayer, laying our hands on the Buck and thanking him for his life and for the sustenance he’ll be providing our family this year.

We spent the evening prepping it for hanging, with Mr. Misty doing the hardest part. I am amazed how adept his knife skills are. He’s been hunting since he was a young boy, so he’s had lots of practice.  Me? I’m lucky if I can successfully cut up a whole fryer for dinner without needing a band-aid.

If you’ve never done it before, dressing out game animals is pretty stinky.  Because of where I shot it, we were worried the bullet had traveled through its intestines, which would have made the job much worse.  As luck would have it, the bullet bypassed the guts, severing the spine.

I forced myself, through some tears and rain soaked clothing, to stay out in the garage with him while he finished the task. The tears weren’t from the smells or the bone chill – it was the recognition of a life being taken. I knew it would be hard, but I don’t think you’re ever really prepared for it. And it’s also why there weren’t many photos taken.

When Mr. Misty fills his tag, we will work on a post discussing how to dress out and process a game animal.  We may even share some favorite recipes with you.

Do you hunt?  Share a tip or a story below.

 


Content and Photos by Misty Meadows Homestead and S.Lago © All Rights Reserved



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26 thoughts on “Survival Sunday – The Huntress

  1. Thought i left a reply last wk, but apparantly not…..we dont hunt. Bf hunted with his dad all thru childhood. He never really did like it. He doesnt even like killing bugs now. Me, i never have. And even with having chicks, i doubt i would or could unless i had them for that purpose only….. But for you it is sustenance. You could easily be thankful if weather ever permitted you from leaving!

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    1. Hi Susy, my greenie friend! No problem. You probably left a reply on the FB post. If you haven’t noticed, I use the FB posts as a base for some of my blog posts – I just expand on the topic for the blog. I would say, most of our friends don’t visit my blog, but they are interested and excited to read… on FB… about what’s happening in our life and on the homestead. Wherever and however I hear from you, I’m always happy I have. Love you, my friend! Have a great weekend.

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  2. Taking a life is never easy … and it shouldn’t be, even if it is “just a chicken”.

    We’ve raised poultry for our freezer for over 20 years, beef & pork for 15 years and we still have to prepare ourselves mentally for harvest day. We don’t get all teary eyed however we do give respect to the lives we take for our sustenance, from life through harvest and even with meal preparations … and yes, we do name the larger animals.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have to admit, I didn’t read every word of this post, but I did scan it and appreciated your gratitude to the buck and the tears being for the recognition of a life taken. I could kill an animal if it was necessary to feed a child, but otherwise, I don’t think I’d do it. But you never know, maybe if I got hungry enough…. When I was twenty, I read an article in a wildlife magazine that said anyone against hunting was either a vegetarian or a hypocrite. That’s when I became a vegetarian (though not perfect now as I eat fish occasionally). I appreciate that animals killed quickly in the wild have much better, more natural lives that the millions raised on factory farms.Thank you for caring.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s an interesting quote. And In a way I kind of agree – if you’re against hunting, yet you buy meat at the store, you are kind of a hypocrite. But many don’t see it that way. And, it’s not mine to tell them that’s the case. I’m excited that I have a new schedule under my belt. Next spring will be growing your own beef and I’m sure I’ll have similar feelings. I’m not really sure I could handle being a vegetarian though it probably help me lose weight. I really admire those who are able to do it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I lived for 20 years just outside Philly, where drive-by shootings are the tragic norm. These days, I live in a rural area where hunting is respected and practiced. The contrast is striking, to say the least. Recognition that the taking of a life is a solemn thing could serve as a bridge between the two points of view.

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  5. Congrats!! I’ve sat out several times this season and haven’t seen more than cows and turkey. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and hope to sit again Wednesday morning while the girls are in preschool. I’ve been told to rest while they’re in school, so I figure sitting in a blind watching the woods counts, right? Now if I get something I have no idea how I’ll handle it on my own, but I’ll figure something out! 😁

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      1. I sat for two hours. My blind is only 150 yards from my front door. I figured this would be my last chance before baby comes though. I watched a turkey for an hour. Just watched the woods and enjoyed the quiet the rest of the time. It was restful and relaxing. Just what I needed.

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  6. Congratulations and I’m totally jealous! We’re not going to be able to go out this year and gun season starts today!! I laughed so hard when I read “Stump. Branch. Deer butt. Grass. Tree. “Wait!! Butt!!! BUTT…and horns!!” You sounded just the way I do at times!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Harvesting your own animal is the respectful way to live on meat protein. Wild or domestic, I assure you, no animal would choose to die at that moment. But every animal born will die. It’s not a matter of if, but when and how. Very few animals in nature die of old age. Nature isn’t cruel, it just doesn’t have sentimentality one way or the other. Eaten alive by a wolf or slowly starving makes no difference. Man has always has been a part of the balance. It is why God created us the way he did. Though he made us in his image, he did not make us perfect. So we make mistakes. Next time…eyes open, exhale and squeeze the trigger. Hit your mark and the animal will die in the least painful death it could hope for. Appreciate its sustinence that it provides and celebrate it’s spirit. Not many cows will be shown that respect at the slaughter house.

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