Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Husband talking Hunting and Hogs

My husband has a passion.  Every year around the first of September he starts to get this itch he can't scratch for a few weeks.  He is a hunter at heart and a outdoorsman by nature.  I decided to ask him a few questions about his favorite pastime and thus I am killing three H's in one, Husband, Hunting  and hogs.   Before I get to his answers, I want to say a few words. 

I was never fond of guns or hunting before I met the man.  My brother is a hunter and it would drive me crazy, the dead animal photos on Facebook.  Who wants to see that?  Then I started dating Mr. Hunter himself and he took me to his land in East Texas.  I fell in love with the land but not so much hunting.  I thought it was all about killing animals.  

My husband explained something my brother tried to tell me 100 times.   Hunting has very little to do with killing although there is apparently a big rush when you actually do get your buck.   Hunting is about being responsible to yourself, family, friends and the land.  Hunting is about getting back to nature and taking care of the land the way our ancestors have done since we lived in caves.  Hunting is about work.  More importantly he explained that many of the deer would die without the hunters feeding them.   We feed the animals about 9 months of the year even thought hunting is around 2 months.   Feeding a herd for the hope that you get one good shot in the fall.  Sometimes even that doesn't happen but you still take care of the animals.  Finally, hunting is controlled and it controls the population limiting the number of deer that end up bumper decorations.   One place on the east coast disallowed hunting in the area and now the auto accidents with deer have exploded.   The deer can get into neighborhoods and eat whatever you have in your front yard. My husband shared this story.   In Wyoming where he grew up, people would sit baskets of apples out at night to keep the deer from eating their front lawns.

Alright, here is my interview with the man himself.

What is your favorite part of hunting?

-I like observing nature and sitting and watching everything.  Sitting in the stand and watching the animals.  Spending time with my friends and sometimes my wife and daughter, around a campfire with s'mores and laughter.   (The sometimes is because I don't go down with him all the time. I have things that have to be done at home.)  You see cardinals, ducks, squirrels, doves, migrating birds, raccoons, wrens, armadillos, road runners,  fox, bobcats, coyotes, owls, and once even a cougar.

What do you think the biggest misconception of hunting is?

-That it is all about the kill.   It encompasses so much more, discipline, delayed gratification. It teaches a work ethic to children and adults about taking care of your land.  Sometimes you even get the truck stuck working on the land.  (This is a shot at me because I did get the truck stuck).  You find a way to achieve a goal even if it is getting the truck out.   The goal is feeding your family but there are so many steps to get to the goal.  Also, when you do feed your family with animals you hunt, you know exactly where it came from and how it was processed.  There is no mystery meat included.  

What is your off season like outside of fishing?

-There is no off season.  We are still spending time on our land taking care of the animals even if we aren't hunting.  We are feeding them, being a steward of the land.  We are still enjoying nature, watching the birds and bugs.  We still have to cut the grass, taking care of the tractor and 4 wheelers, maintaining the trailers and you still put food out for the deer.  You feed them all year long so that somewhere in the year, you get your one deer to feed your family. hopefully.  (We didn't get any last year.)  When a tree falls across the road, you have to clear the tree but you even get firewood for your home.  Mowing the roads and fields makes the land have higher value but it also promotes growth of tender foliage and benefits the animals in the forest especially the browsers, like deer and rabbits.   Cows are grazers, they sit in one spot and just eat and eat.   Browsers nibble and then move to another spot. 

What do your want people to know about wild hogs?

-They are totally destructive.  They are not native to the land.  They are invasive.    They eat quail eggs and turkey eggs.  Anything that nests on the ground.  Wild hogs take the food from the deer and squirrels and other wild animals who eat acorns and other nuts.  They root up plants (This is a shocking sight.  It looks like a bomb or rototiller went off.)   They are uncontrollable.  Normal hunting practices can't even hope to contain the feral hog population much less control it.  They are invading cities too.  It isn't just the country folks that have to worry about them.   (The city of Dallas actually just hired people to help control the Feral hog populations. That is Dallas, Texas folks!)

I told you the other day that I can't talk baseball with my husband.  There are two things however that he could go on and on about, one is hunting and the other is fishing.   I want to thank my husband for letting me pick his brain.  Okay folks, we are off to the races, literally.  We have tickets to the Duck Commander 500 today where NASCAR meets camo and the beer flows freely. 

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