Me (top) and an 170-pound eight-point buck (bottom).
Well color my deer hunting article for Louisville Magazine’s March issue at the front of the trend curve. From Dwight Garner’s ”A New Breed of Hunter Shoots, Eats and Tells in The New York Times:
In May 2011 [Mark] Zuckerberg made a pledge to consume, for one year, only meat he had hunted or slaughtered himself. He got a hunting license and shot a bison. “My personal challenge,” he explained, is “being thankful for the food I have to eat.”
If four new books are any indication, Mr. Zuckerberg is the decidedly nonmacho, non-pickup-driving embodiment of a new breed of American hunter. These young memoirists have loaded their rifles and shotguns for complicated reasons, including culinary one-upmanship. Nothing wows jaded dinner guests like a braised shank of calf moose that you’ve recently “harvested” and “dressed” — hunting euphemisms for killed, skinned and disemboweled — before bringing it to the table.
What feels counterintuitive and new here though is this: These writers have largely taken to hunting, they say, for ethical reasons. They’ve read their Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, their Peter Singer and Jonathan Safran Foer, and are intimate with the horrors of industrial meat production.
They no longer wish to have an anonymous hit man between themselves and supper. They want to thoughtfully stare their protein in the face, to take locavorism to blood-flecked new heights. What they desire, as Tovar Cerulli puts it his new book “The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance” (Pegasus), is as follows: “To eat with my eyes wide open.”
My desire was a little less saccharine: I just wanted to each fresh, organic, local, and cheap—and maybe have a little fun too.
My deep freeze still holds about 50 pounds of venison (next up is a venison chili in our new slow cooker). I’m hoping to bag a turkey soon though. Tim Farmer, the host of Kentucky Afield, which aired my deer hunt, and I have a bet: if Mitt Romney wins the 2012 U.S. presidential election, I’m designing Farmer a website; if Barack Obama wins, Farmer’s taking me to his “honeyhole.” (When pressed he explained that’s man-speak for a prized hunting spot. Good thing he clarified—I’d already bought some brie, which pairs wonderfully with honey.)
Full disclosure: this post is just a cheap excuse to re-run that photo.