By: Jenn Bickler – Huntin’ Wives Pro Staff Member
Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? Why can’t we be both? I say we can!
When I was young it was understood that most of the Men were the hunters while most of the Women were the gatherer’s. This was portrayed in movies, books and everyday life. Times have changed…
I remember when I was growing up I would help my Grandmother in her garden during my Summer vacations and I loved it! I used to love to pull carrots and eat them fresh out of the ground. I would try to wash them off with the outside water hose but I didn’t care if they weren’t clean, my Grandmother used to say “God made dirt so dirt won’t hurt” so down they would go, dirt and all. Even at a young age I enjoyed gathering the veggies from the garden and watching everyone eat them. There is nothing quite like walking out to your back yard and picking the fixings for your salad, side veggie or fruit for dessert.
I think of my Grandmother’s garden often and looking back I am so grateful that she let me help her. It instilled a sense of pride in me knowing that I can grow my own fruits and vegetable and provide that for my family. Although we haven’t had a garden in a couple of years due to work and life, we do have friends and neighbors who have beautiful gardens and we usually trade meat for veggies which works out great for everyone. Even though we will be planting our own garden this year we will still provide our neighbors with meat because that is just what we do. I am already planning the layout and should be able to start planting in the Spring once the ground thaws, I just wish my Grandmother was still around to help me make sure my garden turns out as good as her’s always did.
My love for gathering also turned into a love of foraging. My Husband and I look forward to going into the woods to look for wild mushrooms, wild chokecherries, wild raspberries or wild strawberries before the animals get to them. These are all time sensitive and you don’t always come out with an abundance of them, if anything but even just enough for one meal is a victory in my book.
Here is where I go from just gatherer to hunter….
As a young Girl I fished in small ponds and lakes but later in life I grew very fond of fishing larger bodies of water for larger fish and a better meal. Fishing in Alaska is an amazing experience and being able to bring home an abundance of fresh fish to stockpile in your freezer is even more amazing. Razor clam digging on the coast is quite the adventure as well. Most of the time it is wet, cold and miserable but it is so fun to hunt down those clams and try to get them out of the sand. They are fast and it can be frustrating but in the end it is worth it. Clam chowder for day’s!!!! Well months but you get the drift.
The same can be said for hunting small or large game, being taxing that is. Whether it is bird hunting, rabbit hunting, deer or elk hunting it can all be a challenge but the reward is so great. You can hunt for days or weeks without being successful and you can be just about ready to throw in the towel when you finally get what you came for……MEAT!!! Having to work for your food and process your own food whether it is hunting for it or foraging/gathering it, is both labor intensive and rewarding.
My Husband and I eat what we kill or grow or gather and I love it. It has it’s challenges but I think when you hunt or gather your own food you appreciate it more, you respect it more and you take pride in the fact that you can provide for your family. When you can look down at your dinner plate and see that everything on there was provided by you that is a great sense of accomplishment.
I’ve often thought to myself, on more than one occasion, while we are out fishing or hunting or clam digging or foraging around the forest that we are bounty hunters!! We are out there hunting for natures bounty and I for one am grateful for that. I am both a Hunter and a Gatherer and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What would you say you are? A hunter? A Gatherer? Or just a bounty hunter?