Share The Harvest: By James Bullman
The crack of your rifle. . . the whiff of your bow. The hunt is over and you just harvested a nice buck. Now the hard work begins of dressing your kill, breaking down the animal, and processing the meat into an assortment of cuts and preparations.
And then it happens. The neighbor, the friend, the co-worker, and definitely the family, all start to hover over you for some meat. We’ve all had that thought–go get your own!
You spent countless hours preparing for the season, you have braved the elements and laid out the best tactics to successfully harvest that animal. You’ve done the dirty work and the proper work to get that buck into the freezer. It is an easy inclination to guard your harvest as the fruit of your efforts. However, this would be the wrong approach and I implore my fellow hunters to think differently.
As most hunters know, hunting is not about killing. Hunting is about being in touch with our history, the land, and where our food comes from. Ever since man began serious hunting efforts, we have shared the bounty of a successful hunt. Virtually all hunting cultures have accepted the cooperative and sharing approach to the harvest–mainly as a means of providing for your tribe or community. This communal sharing of meat often took the form of intense social events that celebrated the land and the hunter. They brought the community together.
Today, we mostly don’t have to hunt for preservation of our family and community. Although we live in a world that is evermore interconnected, we have somehow built fictional silos that have insulated ourselves with just an occasional social media interaction. We have advanced and sophisticated technology that connects millions of people, yet we are seemingly becoming more and more absorbed in our own circle with less cooperative sharing. That “get your own” approach to sharing the harvest is a bi-product of the isolated world we now live in.
As hunters, we intentionally strive to harken back to our roots. We embrace history and tradition. We should embrace the history and tradition of sharing the harvest. Let’s reject that little voice in all of our heads that want to hoard our kill. Let’s accept that our efforts should be enjoyed by others and that we are honoring the spirit of our ancestors when we give our neighbor some of that beautiful back-strap.