Today is an exciting time for me – it is the day I head north (and off the grid) for up to 10 days.
I will pull into our cabin between 6-12pm this evening. My Father and several of our camp veterans have already been in camp for several days. My arrival will be a loud one, hugging men and celebrating the start of 10 days together and the 42nd year of this tradition.
I have known most of the men for my whole life. Several, like my Father and I, are father and son combinations. Most of them have spent at least one week a year vacationing with me and without their families for 15-20 years. Some have spent this week with my father for more than 40 years.
The weekend will see a flurry of activity as well as the occasional party. If you were perched high in a tree we would look like a busy community of ants swarming around the cabin and through the woods. Final preparation of the cabin, scouting runs looking for signs and merriment would be instantly visible. A closer examination would also reveal sincere exchanges of bonding and, dare I say, love as advice and wisdom on hunting, fishing and life at large are shared.
There will be 14 of us in the cabin this year. Each one has his own bunk bed in a communal bedroom. Each has his own seat at one of our tables. We will form a micro community this week – all pulling towards common goals and all hoping, deep inside, that we partake in the pivotal moments of the hunt.
Moose season begins 30 minutes before sunrise on Monday and ends 30 minutes after sunset on the following Saturday. We will only hunt all 6 days if unsuccessful.
I will log some moments of the hunt and share with you on my return. I endeavour not to shock with photos of dead animals, butchering or hanging. If we are successful I will post such articles in a way that you cannot accidentally see them or be forced to look. We will respect that as a choice to you as a reader.
There are posts that are scheduled to appear in my absence. Most will share perspective of the woods, animal signs and general tracking knowledge we have acquired over the years – knowledge you can use in the woods to harvest your own local meal – even if it is a mere feast for the eyes only! We hope to share some of the bigger picture of what we do in the north, why I feel it is important and why it is that I participate.
I am not trying to convert people to hunting – it is actually something I have a very difficult time writing about (as you will likely see in coming posts). I was trained at an early age to stay away from this topic that is so divisive to so many.
I do worry that posting about it will cause full out battles in the comment sections below the posts. While I disdain censorship I also abhor the idea of this becoming a place where people fight for the sake of fighting. Our comment policy remains unchanged – we ask that you leave comments just as you would as a guest in our kitchen. I hope the posts are read with open mind, that people are willing to do their own research and come to their own conclusions without the need to beat their opinions into others.
We will also be conscious of respecting the animals that we write about and describe within these posts. Their ultimate sacrifice (without choice) is not one that I take lightly or am entirely comfortable with. I understand how reading those words would be an absolute abomination for some to accept. I can only earnestly try to share my perspective and the rationalizations that form what I believe to be a conscious and moral choice that I would never force on anyone else.
I will also try to paint a difficult set of topics with a broad brush and one that attempts to go beyond my own obvious bias. There are many sides of hunting that make obvious fodder for criticism – and many sides which go untold. I am hoping that we may share a few of those stories in the spirit of what they mean to us and how this connects to the food we eat.
A common thread on Well Preserved is conscious eating – we are not asking anyone to agree to any specific cause or agenda. We are simply conscious of the choices we make and hope to share with others who but thought into their food choices (regardless of whether they agree with ours or not). It is possibly this reason that, as hunters, some of our closest bonds with other people are with vegetarians.
See you all soon and looking forward to it!