In Defense of Hunting



Going to the grocery store is a non-social experience.  Although I’ve met and dated some great women I’ve met while picking up toilet paper and pre-cooked bacon, there’s an invisible wall between you and those you pass in each aisle.  Even if you go with a spouse or friend, you’re almost always wanting to go in a different direction because of your own food peculiarities.

For me, buying my food at the grocery store has become a more difficult activity.  Since I have become more focused on eating real food (meaning, with as little industrial processing as possible, including how an animal is reared), there’s less and less for me to eat.  Restaurant dining, one of my core joys in life, as been practically shut down to zero — I don’t want your canola oil or your gluten-heavy breading; keep your margarine and even your grain-fed butter.  I went to a Chinese restaurant recently with a stick of grass-fed pastured butter and asked the hostess if they could cook my dinner with that.  She went in the back and said certainly, but she was shocked at the idea.  I port around my own 16 ounce insulated bottle of pastured heavy cream during the day in case I want to stop by a Starbucks and have a cup of coffee — half and half isn’t good enough for me.

Since I’m focusing more on real foods, sourcing them myself has become the new joy.  I communicate with dozens of local farmers and farm owners, local fresh produce market managers and even a local cafe or coffee shop, inquiring how I can get real food without the industrial oils and processing.  Sometimes it’s a success (a coffee shop offered to carry my brand of pastured heavy cream), more often it’s a failure (a local farm I admire told me that they have to grain feed their cows in the winter).

Growing my own vegetables is very energy and time consuming, and I can source reasonable vegetables through my local fresh produce markets (the managers are happy to get whatever I ask for).  Meat, though, is still a problem.  Either I pay a “local” farm 200 miles away and buy in bulk and freeze it, or I pay a very high price to get grass-fed pastured ruminant meat at the local Whole Foods ($29.99 a pound for certain steak cuts isn’t unheard of!).

Through all of that, shopping for food is still a non-social experience.  We’re social creatures — it’s not enough to just get 8-9 hours of sleep, reduce industrial neolithic agents of disease (plant oils, gluten grains and any product sourced through solvents and high heat extraction processes), reduce blue light in the evenings and not graze on snack food all day long.  We also need human interaction, and my life in the late night bar scene has also fallen apart — I just have so little in common with the average Westerner.

I want solid, real food and I want the social experience.  That led me to one area that has been at a sharp disadvantage in the West lately: hunting.  With all that PETA and the anti-animal movement has done to society, it’s no wonder that hunters are an endangered species.  Animals have feelings, I’ve been told.  Sure, they also have big teeth, claws, tusks, and leg muscles that let them accelerate to 40 MPH faster than you can exhale the breath you were holding.  We can survive on soybeans, some other say.  Absolutely, and you can watch your joints and muscles deteriorate even as you live to 105.  But it tastes like bacon, just ignore all the processing and chemicals used before it gets that “natural” USDA stamp of approval.

Me?  I want real food: food sourced without overcrowded meat factories, fats made from nature instead of industrial solvents like hexane or supercritical carbon dioxide.  It’s not about me being fair to nature, it’s about finding way that nature can be fair to me.  I’m a selfish man and I want to live as long as possible while still being clear-headed, strong and not worry about the soldier saluting in the bedroom.  That means consuming animal products, and not just the beautiful but lean steaks you can get at the local chophouse.

Some of the best micronutrients (“vitamins”) in animal meat are in the parts you throw away or don’t buy in the first place: the offal, the organs.  Liver, heart, brain, tongue, kidney: all have high saturated fat (the healthiest of all fats) along with a bounty of healthy micronutrients that are bioavailable and easily used by the body.  Why take 15 pills a day when you can ground 1 pound of pastured beef liver into your 65% lean pastured ground beef?  It’s a vitamin explosion, it tastes good, it’s satisfying and it’s what we’ve been designed to do.

So back to hunting.  It’s supposedly cruel, and it’s something that many meat eaters will avoid.  Dr. Kurt Harris goes into some side details about hunting in a recent article of his, I, Caveman, which is actually a review of a reality TV show.  I love his details about how to best slay your prey — you’re looking for a quick, cruelty-free kill, which means getting your bullet or arrow or bolt through the animal’s “spinal cord or trachea or the cerebral vessels to reliably kill or even bring down an animal.”  He goes on to say that “a nice hole in the aorta or heart is merely a bonus” helping to drain the animal of the blood, a step you need to do to properly dress the meat and prepare it for transportation and later consumption.  Usually, we dress our kills in the field — it makes the meat less gamey, the carcass is lighter, and we can have a cleaner job at home.

I don’t mind killing anymore.  I used to, early on, when I first aimed my shotgun at a buck.  I don’t kill for sport, I kill to eat, but there’s something healthy about the hunt.  If we don’t find a source of prey at this end of the woods, a fast sprint to the other end is necessary, before slowing down to quiet our movements.  The animals aren’t defenseless, either — I’ve had to haul ass faster than I’ve done on any open training field when we’ve encountered a group of bucks that were definitely looking to defend their territory.  I have a gun or a bow, they have their intense smelling abilities, huge tusks, gigantic leg muscles and the ability to trample anyone who isn’t careful (watch that link!).

I don’t take an animal’s life calmly, always giving my trophy my true thanks for the challenge and the meat ahead — enough meat to feed myself for months or even a year.  Yet hunting is also a social process.  I bond with my hunter-friends, we confide in our fears for what lies ahead of us, we communicate through words and glances, hand signals and sometimes the blow of a hard-to-locate whistle frequency.  It feels right, congregating on the hunt to track and slay the prey before us, to fill our plates for months with the healthiest wild meat and fat.  It’s sport, for sure, but it challenges us to the edge of human endurance.  It requires patience, speed, large lung capacity for proper aim, muscle endurance and absolutely no alcohol remaining in the blood stream.  Often we end up with not even a slice of bacon, but when we approach a solid beast and it succumbs to our patience and aim and determination, we’ll reap the benefits of inexpensive meat for a long time along with the good nature of friendship.

Dressing the catch in the woods is difficult.  So many meat eaters just buy a burger at the local fancy burger joint (“ooh, it has smoked gouda on top and it’s only $15!”), but they don’t know the process of draining a huge 160lb deer of 35lbs of blood before you can properly break it down to carry it home.  It’s not pretty, it’s not pleasant, and it gives you strong respect for nature.  Once you see and feel the defenses that an animal has, you become aware of what it takes for man to feed himself and his family and community well.  Industrial raising of defenseless animals in cages is not what you want after you do it yourself.

To those who are animal rights lovers, I can respect you more after I have to do what needs to be done.  I take no issue with PETA’s view of industrial animal husbandry — it sickens me, too.  But I also don’t agree with your dietary habits.  Soy is a dangerous toxin, as is wheat.  I want healthy, animal-based saturated fats in my diet, and I want food that satisfies me with only 1 or 2 meals a day, no grazing or snacking.  I won’t get that from the latest soyrizo or bean tamale, and I am driven to living healthy and alert and sexual for as long as possible.  The number of years I have left is irrelevant versus the quality of those years.

So I defend the hunter, and the hunt — I also defend the hunted, since I don’t want to waste one bit of their healthy and satisfying flesh, like the lion who kills their prey just to consume the fat, leaving the lean protein for the vultures or to decay, unused.  I don’t like the idea of a cow living 3 years jammed in between hundreds of other cows, versus the elk I will slay this fall who has lived a long life in nature, raised offspring naturally, and is fully prepared and designed to challenge me and even take me down if I screw up.

It’s what man was designed to do, and if you try it yourself this fall, you might find new uses for speed, stamina, sobriety, friendship and the ability to manipulate your hands in specific, engineered ways.  Get away from your mouse and your monitor, your treadmills and stairmasters, your colon cleanses and barstools — and see what your body can do in nature.

Related posts to peruse:

  1. In Defense of Capitalism
  2. The Best Beef Burger Recipe
  3. Dada’s Buttericano buttered coffee recipe
About A.B. Dada

A.B. Dada resides in Chicago, Illinois and manages a multitude of businesses involved across a wide range of industries.

Comments

  1. Stingray says:

    A really good venison recipe.

    You won’t get that nice caramelized meat without the flour, but it will taste nearly as good.

  2. Stingray says:

    Dammit. Making chili for dinner tonight and we are out of ground venison. I can’t wait for hunting season to start again.

    • A.B. Dada says:

      Make sure to use the offal and fat, too!

      • Stingray says:

        We actually add pork fat to our ground venison as there is not enough on its own. I never thought to add the organs until I read your post though. I need to give that some thought. How much does it change the taste of the meat?

  3. (r)Evoluzione says:

    Which fine state will you grace your presence for the elk hunt? I spent 8 days, in 2-3 day chunks, in the central Rockies hunting deer & elk with a bow. (love the above pic, BTW. Hope to have my kids someday shooting bows.) It was heavily hunted public land, and I knew it would be tough, but it was great to be out there. I got close to a couple cow elk, but not close enough for a shot. Rifle season will bring snow, so the animals will be lower in elevation, and the 6-10x longer range will give me much better odds.

    @Stingray,

    Deer & elk often do have significant fat reserves, but unlike cows & pigs, it’s not intramuscular fat, it’s around the organs, and to a lesser degree subcutaneously. The biggest reserve of fat on those animals often rides around the kidneys, so called suet. It’s loaded with fat-associated carotenoids. If you use that fat, you don’t have to add fat from pigs to your venison sausage or ground.

    Nice to see you blogging, AB. I’ve enjoyed your comments at the Chateau.

    • A.B. Dada says:

      Thanks, (r)ev!

      I’ve been contemplating moving my official address of residence to Jackson Hole, WY and am heading out there to see how bad it is in the fall. I have a few friends with access to some large acreage of private land, so we’re not restricted by the public’s regulations on hunting, and hopefully it won’t be under supplied. Spending 8 days sounds like a dream, to me — maybe next year. How often do you get out there?

      As for the fat reserves, that’s absolutely right. There’s a TON of organ fat and it’s just beautiful. There’s a photo over at Dr. Harris’ site showing off all the lovely (and healthy) fat that most “low fat” animals have.

      Thanks for the compliments — I’ve been blogging off and on since 1991 (BBS days, before the Internet really took off) and go through seasons of active writing and then inactivity.

  4. (r)Evoluzione says:

    AB, I get out as often as I can, which usually means an average of 2-3 overnight trips per month, with 3-4 bigger, week-long trips a year, usually one per season. I’d still like to get out more, and for me that means moving to the mountains as well, though probably somewhere in here Colorado. I’m in the city here, and other than the large population of women here, it’s not doing much for me.

    Jackson Hole is incredible. It’s a great town with a real authentic vibe. If you’re hunting on private land, you should be into elk every day as long as it’s not a profit-mill kind of hunting ranch. That said, even the very exclusive private ranches have had some issues with wolves. The wolf reintroduction, which I support, has kind of gone awry. They originally wanted 100-150 wolves in Yellowstone, and few if any outside yellowstone. That was in the mid-1990′s, and the wolves have proliferated, just as any organism would when given unrestricted access to massive food sources. THere are over 2000 wolves now, most of them ouside the park, and they’ve cut the elk herds in some places by 90%. Something to think about. I love the wolf, but I don’t think they should be allowed to decimate the elk & bison populations as they are now. I’ll probably hunt wolves (legally of course) in the next few years just to do my part. Colorado has yet to see any appreciable wolf population, which is good, because we’ve got the largest elk herd in the US, and I’d hate to see it get whacked.

    The weather in Jackson in fall will probably be comparable to that in Chi-town, if not a little better, until the winter hits. Winter in Jackson can be cold, dark & daunting, but the epic snowfall more than makes up for it in my book, assuming you’re a skier/boarder/shredder of some kind.

    The dating scene there, as in most mountain towns, is a sausage fest. Men with game of course rise to the top like heavy cream, but it’s not without its challenges when the male:female ration is something like 175:100. Being a man of means and taste, if you end up living there, you might consider importing some babes from the city to get your harem going. Mountain women can have a certain kind of sexy & be feminine in a certain way, but there are certainly a surfeit of unfeminine, butch-y chicks who wear man clothes and no makeup or feminine accoutrements of any kind, except maybe for long hair, and the excess number of men means the entitlement princess syndrome is in full effect. Some of these chicks have beta orbiters in layers ten men deep.

    If you end up in Jackson, let me know, I’ll roll up there & shred the mountain with you, or maybe get some days on the hunt.

    • A.B. Dada says:

      Rev:

      Other than the large population of women? Hah, for most guys, that’s enough — good point, though.

      I am familiar with the wolf situation. My business contact up there actually hires hands to try to take care of the wolf population on his property. They only do private hunting, no groups or for-hire. I don’t recall what he said about it, but I know he had problems a decade ago or more.

      My desire to move to Jackson Hole is mostly economic — the tax basis is low, they’re very friendly to my sort of business, and my main clientele vacations out that way anyway. They have plenty of money. When i emailed a realtor looking for a house, she sent me houses worth $10 million plus, ha. No. thanks.

      My short term goal is to purchase outright a Cessna 400TT Corvalis — it would allow me to fly from Chicago to Jackson Hole in 4-5 hours non-stop without a fueling layover. Plus, it can handle 3 passengers, so I could off-set the high cost of purchase with grey market flights for clients in Chicago and back (they’re typically paying $2000-$5000 to fly first class on commercial airliners already). My tax savings, as well as likely additional income from the upscale customers, should mean I can actually afford the aircraft for less than $15,000 a year out of pocket — about the cost of a decent Lexus/Benz car.

      How far are you from JH, drive-wise?

      • Stingray says:

        I’ve been to Jackson Hole twice and it is an amazing place. I hope it works out for you for the best.

        As regards the anonymous handles people have on the internet, personally, it is because I have a family and I have read at least one horrendous article where pedopholes were using the internet to essentially hunt their prey. I have children and even if that whole article was a fabrication if it keeps my family even slightly more safe then I stay anonymous. Nothing on the computer, no facebook, no pics, no personal blog, nothing other than my random thoughts on a couple of bolgs. I don’t know how many people actually think this way, though.

  5. (r)Evoluzione says:

    AB,

    Looks like you’ve got all the bases covered! Especially with the plans in the works for a Cessna. One of my ex’s father has a 421 Golden Eagle, what a dope plane! The 400 appears to have the same speed capacity with far less fuel consumption, which is what you’d expect for a modern aircraft. That old 421 was born before I was! It could handle a few more passengers, but I’m not sure it’s worth it.

    I hadn’t thought much about the tax situation in mountain towns, until I realized that one of my preferred destinations has a wicked tax on real estate, including additions and remodels, to support affordable housing. Lots of Colorado mountain resort towns have this feature/bug. I’ll have to look into Jackson for that reason. I’m about an 8 hour drive from Jackson in good weather, thought the last time I went up there chasing steep & deep champagne powder during a fit epic winter storms, it took 12.

    One other note–I like your free, open, online demeanor. Posting under your real name, facebook, etc–that’s ballsy and unapologetically male. Hell yeah! I’m contemplating that now especially as I ponder a business image/branding reboot for the company I bought last year.

    • A.B. Dada says:

      The 400 is way out of my price range, and I don’t like the idea of debt, so my short term hope was to find maybe 15-20 people who make the flight between Chicago and Jackson Hole (or any airport in between) more than a few times a year and just sell shares and charge a gas fee. If I can get an exec to drop $50k up front for purchase and 5 years of maintenance and a few grand a year for fuel, I won’t “earn” any money on the flight, but who cares? I can get my commuter license pretty quickly, too.

      I love the 421, but having something modern would give me both (a) cost savings in fuel and maintenance and (b) the luxury feel I want and need if I was to package a deal out. 3 passengers is my limit — insurance costs get too extravagant, plus more capacity means more demand, and I don’t want to be a pilot, I just want a nice plane. Might be a pipe dream, but tentative discussions with others show there could be a demand for offering a r/t twice a month — more than enough to offset the high entry costs involved.

      The tax situation in Jackson Hole itself sucks, but the outlying areas are reasonable. I’ve done some comparative spreadsheets and Wyoming is the best state of the union for a guy like me. YMMV, of course.

      The free and open demeanor happened quite by accident many years ago on what would now be considered a blog (long gone, unfortunately). I was posting for awhile under a nom de plume, and accidentally posted my real name and email but signed it with that alter-ego. Dust kicked up a bit, and once it all settled I realized I gained something I never had before: reputation in real life.

      Sure, I’ll have customers, friends, family or some of the dames ask about some of my more aggressive discord and poison I post, but I just tell them: I don’t really give a fuck what is “right”, all I care about is trying to connect with people who I agree with. I’ve been through a lot in my life where I felt “alone” and being honest about my opinions matches me up with the rare few others who become my peers or even friends. 90% of people (or more?) hate who I am — that’s fine. It’s that rare 10% or 5% or even 1% that matter.

      It’s a big step, to become all open, but when I meet someone new and see their Facebook is private, I wonder “What the hell does he/she have to hide?” Or when a gal uses her middle name instead of her last name — Sarah Ellen instead of Sarah Anderson — I ask the same thing. Their reputation FALLS in my book, the more mysterious they make their lives.

      Plus. Google searching me is a nightmare. I have probably 12+ years of Google history under my name(s), and it would take a lifetime to track down everything I’ve ever said.

      Be cautious if it can affect your line of income. My customers know I’m an asshole, and they also know I am the best at what I do, so they tolerate it, and even agree on rare occasions.

      I like wealthy, driven, responsible, cocky alpha guys for my clients, my friends and my collegues. The rest can figuratively suck my dick, unless they’re a size 2, born female, without tattoos or pink hair.

  6. not_PC says:

    So want to go hunting. Will get in touch with some friends.

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