It had been ten years since I attended a big game hunting trip with my family and thankfully that streak is over and won’t climb that high again anytime soon. After moving to University of Idaho hunting camp fell down the list of priorities as it landed right smack in the middle of our fall semester. Similarly at Penn State, timing and now distance weren’t right. In Alaska.. well same story. Idaho was different, we planned to hunt locally but it never materialized and here we are ten years later in Colorado and I finally accompanied my Dad, Uncle and long time family friend “Uncle Fred” on our newest hunting tradition – antelope camp in Wyoming.
YO! If you don’t want to see a photo of a dead antelope stop here. Although not gruesome I thought I would warn you!
It’s kinda funny the mix of reactions I get when I talk about hunting or “hunting camp”. When I was in high school, a doctors note, death in the family or hunting camp were the only acceptable excused absence. Idaho was much the same although the hunting scene is a bit muted in a college town. As I grew apart from hunting I retained a deep respect for it’s tradition and necessity as a human and more so a Davis but I also found the thought of harvesting my own meat more challenging. I became fairly indifferent about hunting but missed the tradition of our whole family out camping at our historical deer camp in northeastern Oregon. Of all things it was influence from Robyn that tipped the scales back toward a hunting lifestyle. I’m not going to get all PETA on you or anything, and I don’t claim to be an expert in commercial farming and ranching. What I will do though is say after following Robyn’s passion in food and cooking for some time now I’ve drastically changed my diet to reflect foods that were shown respect. I can’t and wont support many of the commercial sources that our meat comes from and I’ve adopted a “know who raised it or harvest it myself” approach.
More photos from the trip in my dad’s album here.
Taking an animals life will never be an easy thing for me and I don’t want it to be. Hunting however gives me a chance to be accountable for where, how and why the animal was harvested and treated. The 35-odd pounds of fresh meat and burger we collected from my antelope will likely last Robyn and I the rest of the year. All ethical and health topics aside, hunting is a deeply connecting practice that helps folks better understand, really understand a facet of their background in the natural world. The Davis family now has 5 generations of hunting history in Eastern Oregon and it’s played a huge role in connecting our family and passing on traditions. Traditions I hope to pass along to my own kids someday.
Our Antelope camp is relatively new. It’s come about since I left Oregon after high school. This year we all filled our tags and there were plenty of bucks to choose from. I got schooled in the art of shooting in 40 mph wind but after 3 clean whiffs managed to make a nice stalk and shot on a buck from about 100 yards. As we gear up to head back to Idaho we will have been in the area just long enough to claim in state hunting licenses for next fall. I hope to continue the tradition of hunting and fishing in both Oregon and Idaho and maybe start a few of my own.