Hunting For Food

Kids Outdoor Outpost May 2020

Joe Schuster | May 1, 2020

Stay inside.

Stay at least 6 feet back.

Wear a mask.

Wash your hands frequently.

No hugs.

No handshakes.

Go to the store only for essential items.

Church (and Easter Sunday) online.

No toilet paper.

Only two items of canned goods at the grocery store. Ground meat and bread in short supply.

Oh my gosh.

Had I written such an opening just a couple of months ago, I would have been laughed at. Now, at this writing, that’s what we have been faced with. Our state lockdown to “shelter in place” left many wondering what would happen to our upcoming turkey season. Thankfully, we were given the direction that we could still recreate, and our government even encouraged our residents to go outside. We just had to be smart and be safe when we went outside. This of course, included hunting!

I’m an avid hiker, too, and found that with a little advanced notice and checking various north Georgia hiking websites and social media sites, I could still find trails to hit with my sister. During our hikes, we had plenty of time to converse on a variety of topics. One was on the reduction of the activities we enjoy and the effect that the lack of them will have on us.

I walked about 5 miles the morning of this writing in the expansive woods of Redlands WMA. The gobblers fell silent this morning, but what a beautiful sunrise my son and I witnessed. On the way out, we drove to the check-in station to take a look at their dove fields. What a sight! Acres and acres of rolling green fields. Very impressive. Now, a quick shift back to last year’s deer season.

My son, his girlfriend and I had a tremendous bow season with several deer taken that we quartered up, vacuum sealed and stored in the freezer to be used in the future as grind. Right when the supplies of ground meat started getting thin this spring, we drove to a local butcher in search of beef fat. We found one willing to part with about 15 pounds. We thawed the deer meat and added the fat to it in the grinder. It was a long process that turned out more than 70, 1-lb. packs of ground venison. Let me tell you, it’s a very satisfying feeling to have a freezer full of ground venison when times are tough at the grocery store. Maybe having several cords of dry, stacked firewood could come close to rivaling that feeling.

During the hunter-education classes that I teach, I always start with a question: “Why do we hunt?” The students usually yell an enthusiastic, “to eat.” Well amen to that! It’s one of the prime reasons that we hunt and never was it ever so clear than when we shoved that ground meat in the tubes to freeze. Let us all never take for granted the incredible rewards that hunting and fishing provides us.


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