What happened to our gathering spirit
I recently read an unpublished story written by an Alaska man.
He and his friend had gone on a moose hunt last autumn, being
dropped in the bush by a pilot. They had their camping, hunting and
necessary river equipment to float down river, hunting at various
points along a 35-mile journey.
After several harrowing experiences, one that almost took a one
hunter’s life, the two men returned with a bull moose. The last
paragraph in the captivating story made mention of being ready for
winter with 40 pints of blueberries, many smoked salmon, and 800
pounds of moose meat.
The moose killing part of the story was two sentences, which
emphasized that the hunt and bringing home meat for winter were
significant over killing a big bull.
Unlike these men, some Wisconsin hunters forgo thinking of
hunting, fishing and gathering as a supplement to winter
Would our attitudes be more civil regarding game management if
we were to refresh the idea of gathering; refresh the idea of
recreation instead of sport; and refresh the re-creation of the
purpose of gathering?
When outdoors activities become more important for getting
another wall mount than for winter provisions, sometimes something
seems to be lost. Size matters most now, not the energy and
excitement expended to get a winter supply of food through hunting,
fishing or gathering.
In preparation for this autumn’s hunting seasons, including
scouting and checking equipment, it may be a good time to
reacquaint ourselves with picking black raspberries and
blackberries. Or gathering, drying and cracking hickory and walnut
nuts. Hunting would seem to be the next most logical step, then,
during the progression of seasons, but hunting with at least some
emphasis on the meat it can provide.
Many hunters, writers, editors, biologists and politicians find
it impossible to give up using the term harvesting when describing
our grouse, turkey and deer hunts.
If we continue to measure successful hunts by describing them on
the basis of harvests, let’s then emphasize the meat, berries and
nuts we bring home as much as the animal parts that are