Along The Trail 1-12-17

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Editor’s Note: ‘Along the Trail’ is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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As I pulled the roast from the crock pot and began slicing it, my fiancée’s daughter asked, “That’s not deer, is it?”…This time it wasn’t and I assured her that the beef had came from a grocery store. Her response was, “Good, I could never eat a deer!” Of course, as a deer hunter this sparked an interesting conversation.

Eating and our choice of foods, what we like or dislike are personal decisions. I realize that enjoying venison isn’t for everyone’s pallet and that’s fine. But, for discussion’s sake, I find it curious that many, if not most folks have no qualms about going to the local store or meat market and picking out a ribeye and then tossing it on the grill. Same goes with frying up some bacon or roasting a chicken. It’s strange in our modern society, how far removed we’ve become from our food, especially when it comes to meat and protein. Somehow, by having someone else do the dirty work for us, it magically cleanses us from the the fact that to enjoy that juicy T-bone, a creature had to die…there’s no getting around it. If you enjoy eating meat, fish or poultry, blood was let. Sounds harsh, but it’s an undeniable fact that many choose to ignore. Somehow, because many types of wild game appear to be cute and fuzzy from a Disney perspective, to many, it makes them off limits for the dinner plate.

Now, I’m not going to get into some deep philosophical discussion about the ethics of eating meat and if we should or shouldn’t kill animals for our own consumption. There are folks out there much smarter and more educated than me that have fought that fight and continue to do so. But, obviously, I’m a meat eater, a carnivore for the most part. I should eat more greens and vegetables, but given the choice between brussel sprouts and a backstrap venison steak, well, the steak grilled to a fine, medium pink will win out every time. And, the fact that I played a role in obtaining that steak makes it taste that much better, at least in my mind.

You see, as a hunter, the game I take goes to feed either myself, my family or friends or someone in need. Besides the sustenance it provides, there is something even more satisfying in being able to provide. I’m sure that family farmers and ranchers know that same feeling. In today’s throw away world of drive thru windows, fast food and ordering pizza on-line, we have almost lost our connection to the land and the food it provides for us, whether grown, raised, slaughtered or hunted.

As our dinner conversation wore on, we bantered back and forth about the taste of venison versus beef, if frog legs taste like chicken and agreed that no one should have to eat cauliflower unless it’s drowned in cheese sauce! Will my fiancee’s daughter ever change her mind about eating deer? It’s doubtful, but I did pique her interest about the fact that a steak or burger doesn’t just come from the meat section of the grocery store and that maybe all of us should put a little more thought in how and where our protein comes from.

– David Hewitt