Well Preserved Goes Moose Hunting – Day 10+ – Things I’ve Learned

I’ve posted for 10 days on our hunt – today`s post will take us over 15,000 words.  It`s been quite the journey – both the one I experienced in the bush and the one I went through as I chronicled the adventure here.

As explained before the posts went live, they are published exactly one-week after the adventure happened.  Our cabin has no access to the outside world and I`ve really got no intent to be on the Internet when I`m in the middle of the woods.

I`ve now been home for 2 weeks – though it feels far longer.  It took about 6 days before I wasn`t wincing at street cars and life feels back to a different normal.  Each hunt really does leave me feeling a little different – something that I feel weird writing about.  I don`t want to make things seem far bigger and more dramatic than they really are but it really is the truth.  The same techniques I learn in hunting to control my breath and pulse in the heat of excitement are brought into the boardroom and have changed the way I work in my very corporate role.

I thought I`d recap some of the things I`ve reflected on in the last few days that are left with me – tomorrow (the last post in the series) I am intending to share some of the thoughts of others (will explain then):

  1. Killing and hunting are not synonyms.  Killing is a part of the deal but I am more conscious than ever that this essential act is not the definition of the entire experience.  It used to be the thing I focused on and struggled with for many years – it has become a smaller focus of the hunt.  Seeing deer, turkey, spending time with my Father, friends and other camps are equal parts – some are greater.
  2. There are many parallels to what we do and what has been done for hundreds of years.  There are many difference but more in common than I thought.
  3. I am becoming more comfortable sharing stories on hunting in public.
  4. The responses to our hunting posts have definitively changed.  The topic still reduces our traffic significantly though the amount of emails, comments, tweets and other messages we have received are dramatically higher than in the past.
  5. People are commenting more – something I am way thankful for – it is so exciting to see and read comments and to hear other people`s stories.  The kind words touch me deeply and those that challenge us to see different viewpoints are just as appreciated.
  6. Being there with my Dog is more  fun than either of us could imagine – even if he sometimes abandons me to visit my Father.
  7. My new hunting gear is fabulous.  Having dedicated dogging clothes was something I should have done long ago.
  8. I am, indeed, getting older.  It was a new experience to be one of the older guys.
  9. I am becoming way more confident navigating the forest.  This is usually the point she humbles me and I end up lost again.  I am cautiously optimistic at my progress in the woods.
  10. There is finally something that I have found that I won`t eat…yet.  I have no idea why I am fine with ears, tongue and cheeks and can`t eat eyeball.  Just as interesting is why my friend could – except he skipped the pupil.  In many ways it`s our friend that tried squash for the first time in his life (in his 40s) that is the braver eater – he tried the whole thing.

We`re going to announce the winner of our contest tomorrow and amalgamate the comments that have been posted as I think there`s some amazing content that`s been shared and many would miss.  Would love to know if or what you`ve learned about hunting or your views on it through these posts or in general.

Thanks all for reading, it`s been fun sharing.


This is one of the posts of 9-straight which chronicle my 2010 Ontario moose hunt which began 1 week ago today.  The 9 days will be posted through this week and next weekend and will try to capture the essence of my experiences hunting for local food.  The link above will reveal all the posts which have been published so far – as well as the complete series from last year.  Last years series emphasized a lot of my personal struggle with hunting.

Every comment that adds to the conversation on hunting (i.e. you don’t have to agree with any of our views – but comments that are exceptionally short or ‘attack’ people aren’t eligible) will count as a ballot in our Food Matters Contest (full rules and explanation here).  We hope to create dialogue over hunting and consciousness of what we eat and will listen to all with open ears and open hearts, willing to listen and share with all points of view).


  1. Ms Shorty says:

    It saddens me that over the years there has been a split between the breeding of dogs for the show ring and those that breed for their original hunting purpose. In many breeds the original purpose is no longer viable however in the sporting breeds it is a shame to see some of these breeds having no natural instinct for what they were originally developed for.

    Form follows function is a well known term to dog breeders and it thrills me to see that Schaeffer not only carries breed type (meaning that anyone who looks at him has no doubt that he is a Vizsla) and still has the instinct that the breed has carried for centuries.

    Schaeff’s purpose has always been primarily to be an integral part of the Joel and Dana family and this purpose he has certainly fulfilled. To see that he has the instinct to do what his ancestors have passed down to him is a joy for me to see and I know that Joel is proud to see that Schaeffer is indeed is a Vizsla both in heart and soul.

    One might say that Schaeffer’s breed type is Well Preserved!

  2. It’s great reading along with you on your journey, Joel! You are so generous, as always, with how much you share. One day I hope to join in the hunting ranks. Great work!

    • Less than 5 years ago I was worried that we would never find another hunter for our cabin. Hunting was largely tabboo and the most vocal groups were anti-hunters or the “trophy” hunters which made conversation about such things very difficult and the prospect of interesting new hunters very unlikely.

      It is interesting to me just how many people are showing such interest – and, in particular – how many women have been sharing the same interest. It shouldn’t be a gender thing but the amount of male hunters vs female and the number of women sharing their interest with us is fascinating and in quantities that are notable.

      Thanks for your kind words!


  3. Thank you so much, Joel, for sharing your hunt with us. When I was a child, my father and uncle would hunt every fall for moose, deer and wild ducks. Of course, I was a child and I only really thought of the wonderful meals this provided (and of course hanging the meat and plucking the ducks – we all got to help). My father passed many years ago, but you have allowed me a glimpse into his experience. I have been able to imagine him in your circumstances and it has given me a deeper understanding of why he hunted every year. For the food, yes. But also for the solitude. He was that kind of man. Thank you for giving me that.

  4. Victoria in VA says:

    Greatly enjoyed following along on this experience. My uncles in the UK have always hunted but I don’t think we have ever really had much of a conversation about it-it was just always there. Based on what I have read in your posts, I am looking forward to talking to them about their experience and perspective. Thanks for sharing this…

  5. I really appreciate your perspective on hunting. I have no experience with hunting, however my husband and I recently purchased 20 acres. We are planning to move there sometime in the future. The land is ideal for hunting and it has caused us to think about hunting, farm animals and self-sufficient living.

    I know it will be a life-changing event but I think I’m much more prepared to participate in this new way of life. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten and encourage.

    • Jan, thanks for the nice comment and what an adventure you and your family are on! Incredibly exciting – will come by your blog to check it out. If there`s any questions we may be able to help with (fuinny as we are land locked in a city :)) would be pleased to do our best :) j

Leave a Reply