Moose Hunter Diaries – Day 8 – Coming Home

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.

Moose Hunter Diaries   Day 8   Coming Home November

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.

Moose Hunter Diaries   Day 8   Coming Home November

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Afterthoughts

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!

 

Comments

  1. I for one really enjoyed this series! I’ve never hunted before but have fished, and the brief periods of tremendous action in between long stretches of quiet waiting seem similar, as is the very likely possibility that one will be going home empty handed.

    I appreciate both the time you’ve put into this and the perseverance in posting an honest portrayal of acquiring a meat source, especially when this topic seems not to be as appealing to all your followers.

    Enjoy your first moose meal – I hope we get to hear about it on the site!

  2. That was really interesting. I’ve never hunted before (only heard stories of my uncles hunting and fishing), so it was neat to hear about your experience. :)

  3. I enjoyed the series. It’s a pity that so many of your readers seem to prefer a disconnect between what they eat & where it comes from.

  4. I honestly do not know what I feel about it all! I was hoping that by following your stories I would get over some of my feelings against it all. I understand the concept of the hunt for survival, but I still wonder about the need for it when so many hunters have paying jobs and so many other opportunities in their lives. I guess I still do not get it!
    Anyways, congrats of achieving your goal and thanks for the record…..

  5. I also loved this series. I have not ever hunted and don’t imagine I ever will. But I loved reading about your experience. Your writing is very authentic and I appreciate that you have shared your thoughts and perspective so genuinely. Well done!

  6. Rebecca Haughn says:

    I for one know exactly where my food typically comes from. I also strive to make my life as close to nature as possible. It is an adjustment from one life to another as you experienced and I would wish everyone could experience it and be able to recreate it often. Thank you so much for playing as you wrote this series. I have enjoyed it immensely. Sorry others do not support you consistently, quality over quantity I say. lol Thanks again.

  7. dixiebelle says:

    As you may have gathered, I am absolutely in support of these series, because as a family getting into hunting, the insight is educational and entertaining. Being able to feed ourselves now & in the future, being able to hunt feral species (in Australia), having skills to pass to our kids and future generations, awareness of food, and the time/ effort/ resources that goes into what we eat. I cannot understand how people do not ‘get it’! This isn’t hunting for sport we are talking about here. To me, your series also show this isn’t just about hunting for the meat, either. There is much more going on, that people who chose not to read during them will miss out on… it is a shame for them, not a shame for you.

    I also support all you ‘regular’ preserving

  8. The most honest and realistic account of Ontario hunting that I’ve read. As a society we are rapidly being urbanized and cut off from our natural connection with the land. As a meat eater it seems only ethical to be deeply involved in the harvest and to take responsibility for being part of the balance of life. Hunting is not really fun, yet more is learned in that week or two in the forest than the rest of the year in concrete condos.

  9. I enjoy this series every year. I’ve never hunted and don’t know anyone who does, but I admire getting closer to your food source. Thanks for writing this.

  10. I’ve really enjoyed this series and how eloquently you’ve written about the experience of the hunt. I did not grow up in a hunting family but have learned a bit of pheasant hunting with my father in law. For me it can be a pretty intense experience in ways similar to what you’ve described. I rather see my experience of hunting as a mostly symbolic but needful act to remind me of what it means to eat meat, and the impact of that decision to continue to eat meat. I now live in Massachusetts and find a lot of peacefulness in the environment back in the Midwest where the hunt takes place. And also a lot of confusion and occasionally much stronger feelings from those with whom I discuss my experiences when I return.

  11. Thank you for the hunting recap. Anyone that has hunted lives the 5 minutes=5 hours regularly. I went on my first hunt in over a decade this year. Our first day out was the only day we saw anything, let alone got a shot off!

    Many thanks.

  12. Late to the party, but wanted to let you know I loved the series (and will read your previous years also). I’ve never hunted, but would like to (for the reasons you and others have mentioned). Hope you continue to write about your hunting trips.

    • Thanks Tracy! I appreciate how much work it took to read those and I am thankful that you did; really appreciate the kind words as well – they are extremely motivating. :)

      Joel

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