This is the final post in an 8-part mini-series chronicling my experiences in the 2012 Ontario Moose Hunt. You can find the entire series here (it will update daily as it’s published) or check out previous years (2009, 2010, 2011). The posts appear exactly one-week after they were experienced.
When we went to bed last night we were still unsure of the plans for today. Dad was considering hunting all day and I offered to stay for the hunt as the camp is small. The team decided to wait for the weather to make a decision. When we woke up to rain the decision was easy – we all started to pack up the camp.
I wish I had a list of profound insights or lessons from this year. Some years seem to provide such insights while others are more mysterious. I am certain that I’ve learned lessons – but also that I’m simply too close to the hunt to figure out what they are.
When I reflect on the week (which I often do on the long drive home), there area few things that dominate my thoughts:
- Relief that we will have meat in our freezer for the winter. Thankful for the land and creature which paid the ultimate sacrifice for our benefit. There’s not a single meal I will consume involving this moose that I won’t think of it’s death and be thankful for it.
- I’m relaxed and realized just how much time I’ve spent watching and listening this week. The uniqueness of this experience (especially when contrasted with a busy day-to-day schedule) is one I’d love for others to experience; be it by hunting or otherwise.
- My appreciation for moose has never been higher. They are truly spectacular animals and they’ve taught me endless lessons about the woods. I used to think of them as defenseless victims of hunting but my perception has changed considerably (per yesterday’s rant). They are hunted every moment of every day and while their existence is partly defined by that fact it’s also defined by their unbelievable ability to survive.
- My relationship with nature is changing. I have so many more lessons to learn but my comfort in the woods and understanding the forest has noticeably changed. I can feel it in my own confidence and several of the guys have echoed my observations.
The city greeted me with all of her noise, motion and excitement. It’s overwhelming for the first few days; I cringe at sounds that I normally don’t even notice. The screech of a streetcar made me jump and the live music at a bar was so loud (to me) that I had to leave before the end of the first sound.
I stopped at the coin laundromat on the way home. It’s more expensive than doing it at home but saves two days of washing and gets everything done in a few hours. As the final load buzzed I realized my hunt was over and I was home.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and would love to hear any feedback. Our hunting series generally cut our traffic by 30-50% and it appears to be similar this year. I’ve taken a few liberties this year with the writing style – specifically I’ve tried to simulate the repetitive experience of sitting and watching with little action before a few brief moments of crazy excitement. I’ve also played a lot with the tenses (moving back and forth between present and past) to try to stimulate the experience of a watch. 5 minutes can feel like 5 hours one day and 5 hours can be like 5 minutes the next. One memory fades into another and time almost disappears into the moment. It’s more of a disorienting and uncomfortable experience than anything deeply philosophical. I hope that aspects of that experience translated. Thanks for sticking with us! The recipes for moose heart and tongue will be posted before long!