WARNING on this post – shit’s about to get real yo.
Where does your food really come from? Could you kill it yourself?
Life, death, the food chain. I’ve grown up around hunting. My Dad and Brother never hunted but most of our friends do and I’ve been around the process – eaten plenty of game and shot my fair share of guns. I’ve seen a deer gutted before and held its heart in my hands. HERE. It’s the primal, natural food chain and how the earth works. Where did our ancestors get their food? They gathered it, caught it, killed it.
Last weekend my friend, Josh asked me to go hunting with him. We’ve talked about it before, I’ve thought about it plenty of times and it’s always something that I’ve wanted to do and accomplish in my life. I really wasn’t sure if I’d truly be able to do it. Could I really pull the trigger and kill something? A living breathing thing. But after thinking – well, I eat meat. I drool over a nice juicy rare steak from The Capital Grille. So where the hell do I think that comes from. Some poor cow that has no chance – that was born and bred to be slaughtered, that doesn’t even have the chance to fight or run. Someone walks him into a stable or ties him up and slits his throat. Yeah real stuff. I don’t know exactly how it all works but I know it ain’t pretty.
Here’s the deal… I thought to myself, if I can’t shoot a deer and kill something, then I seriously need to reconsider my food choices. How would I go out and order a steak or cook a juicy piece of chicken and turn my head and pretend like I don’t know where it comes from. Because that’s being naive, and hypocritical. So I was going to come back from this trip with either a deer, or as a new-born vegetarian.
So off I went. Trudging through the woods all decked out in camo, war paint, and sporting some serious nerves. Of course a little whiskey in my coffee and some good ‘ol country music playing in the truck always helps that. Finally got to the tree stand and I looked up and couldn’t see it. “Josh – where is it!? Wait a tree stand isn’t like a treehouse, WTF!?” I pictured hanging out on some deck in the treetops like Peter Pan drinking beer and dancing around waiting for the deer to come in. Turns out it’s a tiny little seat stuck to the side of a tree that you have to reach by climbing up a few metal rods. Great so now I have to conquer my fear of heights too, this was turning into quite the day – added onto the fact that I already did two hot yoga classes that morning, and this was just the very beginning. Damn Utkatasana my legs were already sore.
Finally safely in the tree, feeling quite like a squirrel, it actually was a nice view and kinda relaxing. My 20 gauge, one barrel shot-gun was loaded, safety on and propped up ready to go. OK – what now? Apparently there’s no talking either and you have to be super quiet (not my forte). And how long do we have to wait — patience, yoga breathing. I tugged on Josh and tried to do my best to whisper and ask my million infamous ‘what-ifs’. Josh kept saying 10 more minutes and they’ll be coming out. Really dude, you said that an hour ago. Sun is going down and so is the temp. I’m starting to not be able to feel my hands at that point. After coming to the conclusion that this probably wasn’t happening and already getting excited about peeing, drinking a beer and eating a big ass piece of pizza (hey, two yoga classes and the cold takes a lot out of you).
Eyes closed ready to pass out and fall 15 feet out of the tree – Josh taps me and says “There he is! Get ready, and take your safety off.” Click Oh my God, OH MY God, Oh MY GOD! My heart is beating out of my chest and my yoga breathing is no longer working. Fuck! This is actually happening. Can I do this for real? I don’t see him is there a deer really there? Shit there he is and he sees us – don’t move a muscle. I look through my scope and get a pretty good aim, right behind his shoulder. But just doesn’t feel right. I let him move on and follow with my naked eye, he comes into a better clearing with nothing in the way. If I’m going to do this – it’s going to be now! Back in my scope, cross hairs perfectly lined up with a clear shot. Breathe in, Breaaaaaaaathe ouuuuut …. pulled the trigger.
Perfect. Literally perfect shot. Through both lungs and the heart – instant.
It was so natural and earthy, and respectful. Not gory or horrible. Primal. One with the deer, one with earth and one with God. It’s life, it’s death.