Now for the neophyte, hunting may just seem like an unfair way to kill an animal. However, hunting is heavily regulated in the name of conservation and preservation. When I took my Hunter's Certification course to get my hunting license, I learned about how the California Department of Fish and Wildlife determines how many of each type of animal can be hunted each season. This number is determined by figuring out how many of a certain animal can be hunted in order to maintain an equilibrium. We don't want to hunt any species to extinction, but on the other extreme, animals that aren't hunted can threaten other wildlife and habitat. For example, let's say we don't hunt deer and let them over populate. Eventually, they will compete for food and space and many of them are bound to die. They may eat food that other animals rely on as well, and so finding a balance is important. The state sells "tags" which is basically a fee for every animal caught.
I already knew that hunting was a way for people to provide for themselves. To take things directly from the land instead of relying on someone else. The element of personal responsibility and pride appeals to me. Knowing that there's a good ecological reason for hunting, and that I could take care of myself should the need arise, is most empowering.
On top of it all, you get to spend a great amount of time outdoors which is a fantastic contrast to all the indoor time I used to spend at Google staring at a computer. A lot of quality time is also spent with friends, and it's great to cut the cord and not be distracted by emails, texts, and the daily drone of every day life.
After a hour or so, Vince took down his first snow goose and it was a beaut. I was really anxious and hoping that my first outing would produce more than goose eggs, if you will. After another 30 minutes of watching and waiting, two green-winged teal ducks were flying towards us and we set up to take a shot. BAM! One of them hit the water and our dog took off to retrieve it. Satisfaction was mine.
I ended up inviting some friends over for dinner the next evening where we all had our first taste of goose. It's a really dark meat, crimson red when rare, and it retains a darkness when cooked. The verdict was that goose was pretty darn good. One recipe I nailed, but the other one I overcooked so it was a learning lesson. The main thing was that hunting brought people together, and we were able to collectively enjoy the bounty and fruits of my labor.
I can't wait for my next hunt!