Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sustainable Harvest

I know some people will object to this picture, because someone always objects to something, but the fact is that Deus Ex Machina and I are omnivores (just like every other human being on this planet) and because of that, we have made the - very conscious - choice to ensure that the meat we eat has been ethically raised and sustainably harvested.

It's why, very early in our homesteading endeavors, we added rabbits, why we raise the chicken we eat, why we were thankful to the young 4-Her who raised a pig for us this year, and why we are willing to pay a local farmer $3/lb for ground beef.

It's also why Deus Ex Machina decided to try hunting. It has nothing to do with male ego or wanting to kill or even the sport. It is about eating.

In fact, there is not a more sustainable - or ethical - meat than wild caught. One may feel whatever one wishes to feel about hunters (and meat-eaters, in general), but the fact is that this animal was never confined, lived exactly as an animal should be live, was never fed anything that its species should not eat, was never shot-full with chemicals or antibiotics in an attempt to make it healthier (but in fact slowly killing it), and had as good a chance of survival as not. This turkey was killed using one, single, perfectly placed arrow.

We are neither celebrating our victory nor mourning the loss of the life of this turkey. It's not about victory or defeat. It is, for us, about eating. And the fact of life is that everything eats and everything gets eaten.

We are very thankful for this turkey, and it will be a part of the harvest meal we have at the end of November, and while we do and will celebrate that Holiday with the rest of the country, for us, it has taken on a deeper meaning than some artificial show of patriotism or a glut-fest. Rather it is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of the bounty that surrounds us, and for at least the last five years, we've taken this opportunity to really enjoy all our local environment has to offer.

This year, we'll be taking our celebration that one step further - and not just have local foods, but have truly native, truly local foods, some of which we foraged, some of which we grew, and our wild hen turkey will take the center spot.

With our gratitude.


  1. Great shot (with the arrow, that is!) I've had a lot of game but never wild turkey. You will enjoy your holiday harvest meal for all the right reasons. What a great new tradition for your family.

  2. I guess the sustainability of hunting depends on the ratio of predators to prey. If every person in my city (Melbourne, Australia) of around 5,000,000 humans hunted there wouldn't be a pigeon in town within the week. So, it's sustainable, so long as it doesn't catch on.

  3. Congrats! How many lbs. will it be? I get my turkey from my CSA, so I know what goes into it, etc., but it can be very PRICEY!!

  4. As long as he had a permit to take the turkey (if that's what ME requires) and long as he was killed (and the process of killing him was ethical) I don't care. I put the process of killing him disqualifier in there because I've known people who "bait" for larger game. I.e., you kill a moose just for the sake of using it as carrion to attract a bear to kill. Totally illegal and highly unethical if you ask me.

  5. I guess I was speaking from the perspective of one who practices ethical eating, and when comparing "ethically-raised, but domesticated" meat and wild caught meat (shot with a bow and not, any way, baited or trapped), this wild harvested turkey was a more sustainable and ethical choice.

    Deus Ex Machina is a licensed bow-hunter, and he is extremely conscious of the fact that he is taking a life when he uses his bow to hunt meat. It's the same when we butcher the animals we raise ourselves.

    I guess I should have been more clear to make my statements about me and Deus Ex Machina - specifically - and not about hunters and hunting in general.

  6. wow -- great shot! Glad to hear that there are still omnivores in the world. I'm getting so tired of hearing that I'm a heartless monster because I drink milk and eat meat (I'm allergic to nuts, where else am I going to get enough protein to be a triathalete?)

    I'm really enjoying your blog and I'm looking forward to reading your book.

  7. I knew your husband would hunt ethically. It's written all over your lives.
    We're vegan for a variety of reasons, but determined to co-exist peaceably with folks who make other choices. And after deer damaged some of our favorite garden crops this year, we're thinking of starting a "vegans for venison" deer-hunting advocacy group. ;)

  8. Hats off to deus, I usualy hunt w/ black powder. This year however I pulled a centerfire bull elk permit.The natural meat, as well as the primal experience are very important to me. Some day soon I hope to gleen my skills with my bow, and hunt with it.However I do it it will be done with much reverence.Gotta go, Im late planting my garlic. THNX

  9. My husband would love to learn to hunt so he can provide meat for the table.