Chasing Cats

While I had a conventional introduction to hunting and fishing in my younger years, it wasn’t until the last three or four years that my interest, involvement, and identification with hunting really took shape. I’ve also begun to learn that this relationship with the outdoors will likely always be evolving and adapting and that an individual’s hunting or fishing “ethos” is perhaps one of the most personal things; built and shaped by one’s experiences, mixed with opinions and localized social norms, and perhaps more contentious than even politics.

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Wild Turkey Salad

Being on the go so often, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the freezer downstairs that’s full of meat when prepping meals. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t add extra work to cook a meal from scratch compared to swinging by the store for lunch meat or hot dogs but I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that I’d take any of these meals over a plain old salami sandwich any day. And there’s something pretty darn magical about using the fruits of previous days afield to fuel new ones. Here is one of my simplest recipes to put together on a work night using some wild turkey I had in the freezer.

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How to Eat Tag Soup

I write this in an effort to normalize these feelings, to be authentic, and in some ways, to help me cope with the emotions. To those “muggles” who do not share our passion for the outdoors, I sound dramatic, but I live for this stuff. It truly has affected my life the last few weeks. I self-prescribed a social media hiatus, reinitiated morning runs, and strategically avoided hunting conversations. But why does it have to be like this? I partially blame our hunting culture. It seems gone are the days of deer camps focused on procuring venison for the looming winter with nary a care of who pulls the trigger. The media instead constantly paints an unrealistic picture of successes afield and creates a highlight reel of others’ experiences. And further yet, as a female I feel an immense amount of additional pressure to prove myself. It sometimes seems like it is not enough to just identify as a hunter, if I do not harvest anything it is assumed that I lack skill, effort, passion or all three. Whether that assumption is true (although I have experiences that support that it is), those emotions are real and I have a hunch I’m not alone in feeling them.

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Fish and Chips

By Saturday afternoon, I had hit a point where it didn’t really matter how soaked everything was. What had started off as a wet heavy snow during our snowmobile ride to the portage, had slowly transitioned to a sleet after the sun fully came up. Our packs where covered in snow, everything in them soggy, my mittens water-logged from wiping snow off the flasher screen every few minutes and my already heavy ice fishing jacket and bibs were even heavier. There was actually a sense of relief with succumbing to the fact that nothing was going to be dry anymore and it didn’t matter. We stuck it out for a few more hours just in case the lake trout changed their mood, but it would ultimately be a one-fish day.

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Success Tastes Sweeter When You’ve Earned It

In my personal and professional life I’m often posed with the concerning declines in hunters, anglers and advocates for this lifestyle. This week alone, I fielded several calls of people citing limited access and opportunity. While I believe strongly in increasing and equalizing both of those, I can’t help but think that if people would just go outside, try something new, fail, learn, try again, make observations, take risks, bring coffee, and stay positive, that they too would stumble into their fair share of opportunities. Most importantly, take someone new and pass on this sentiment. You don’t have to provide guaranteed success, in fact, they might even appreciate it more if they learn how to earn it.

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