FREE MEAT!

Gun World - - Chewing The Fat -

Meat. It is the de­sire of mankind and wom­ankind to eat meat. Restau­rant menus are based upon meat. No one or­ders a veg­etable med­ley with a side of rib­eye. Meals are about the meat. In Ten­nessee, “bar­beque” is not a verb; it is a noun, and it means “meat” in var­i­ous stages of charred good­ness.

The other stuff is op­tional. Salad is just a prac­tice food to give you some­thing to do while wait­ing for the steak. Even ve­g­ans de­sire to eat meat (re­gard­less of the lies they will tell you). That is why up­scale ve­gan shops sell tex­tur­ized soy-fiber masses called Sham­burg­ers, Not-Dogs and Fa­con.

Meat is ex­pen­sive, and that is why every fall, as a chill be­gins to fill the air, hunters take to the woods and fields in pur­suit of free meat.

There are ba­si­cally two types of hunters: those who grew up hunt­ing as a fam­ily bond­ing rit­ual and those who are new to the hunt­ing scene and have de­vel­oped an in­ter­est af­ter learn­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of free meat. The typ­i­cal new hunter of adult age comes to the world of hunt­ing with a prac­ti­cal pur­pose in mind: the sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to feed one’s fam­ily.

Th­ese days, feed­ing a fam­ily is an ex­pen­sive in­vest­ment. One can go to the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket, drop $100 and eas­ily carry the grub home with one hand.

Bring­ing home free meat sounds to the new would-be hunter like an ex­cel­lent way to save money. Nat­u­rally, he wants in on this free-meat deal and de­cides hunt­ing would be the re­spon­si­ble thing for any fam­ily man to do. So, he ea­gerly re­searches what he must do to get this free meat.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The first step in ob­tain­ing one’s share of the lo­cal free meat sup­ply usu­ally in­volves a visit to the sport­ing goods em­po­rium. Look­ing over ri­fle racks filled with ev­ery­thing from sur­plus mil­i­tary relics (that ob­vi­ously served dou­ble duty as fence posts) to the exquisitely en­graved, best-qual­ity ri­fles re­served for those who sip im­ported brandy from 16th-cen­tury golden gob­lets.

The new hunter usu­ally set­tles some­where in be­tween, pur­chas­ing a re­li­able bolt gun cham­bered for the lat­est car­tridge that is touted to be the ul­ti­mate deer-killer. Along with the ri­fle, the new hunter is out­fit­ted with an op­ti­cal sight, scope mount, ammo, binoc­u­lars, rangefinder, grunt call, 10-inch Bowie knife, flash­light, climb­ing stand, de­signer cam­ou­flage cloth­ing, boots suit­able for as­cend­ing Mount Ever­est and enough doe scent to make him smell like the deer equiv­a­lent of a cheap date. He leaves the sport­ing goods store two hours later and a cou­ple of thou­sand dol­lars poorer, ready to seek and har­vest his fair share of free meat.

He awak­ens at 2 a.m. open­ing day. The air is un­usu­ally bit­ter cold (par for the course for open­ing morn­ing). His buddy ar­rives a few min­utes later, and they fill their bel­lies with an am­ple sup­ply of store-bought meat in prepa­ra­tion for the long, but glo­ri­ous, day.

As they load up the pickup truck with all the new hunter’s gear, his buddy in­quires about the ac­cu­racy of the new ri­fle— at which time both re­al­ize that no one at the sport­ing goods store men­tioned the weapon had to be sighted-in. Us­ing the one work­ing head­light of the pickup truck, and rest­ing the ri­fle on the hood of said ve­hi­cle, they hastily get the ri­fle shoot­ing to minute-of-tree stump.

They then head down the road to the lo­cal Stop-And-Rob to load up on cof­fee and sand­wiches, as well as to buy a hunt­ing li­cense. A hunt­ing li­cense has to be fresh, so most new hunters do not ob­tain it un­til the morn­ing of the hunt.

The new hunter and his com­padre head out a few min­utes later … af­ter sur­ren­der­ing a con­sid­er­able amount of cash to the state for the [free] meat per­mit.

Ar­riv­ing at their pre-de­ter­mined hunt­ing spot only a cou­ple of hours later than de­sired, they hear the report of open­ing morn­ing gun­shots all around their po­si­tion; th­ese sound some­thing akin to the gun­fire on the beaches of Nor­mandy in World War II.

Af­ter what seems like an eter­nity of sit­ting in the cold and watch­ing his fin­gers turn from gray to blue, the new hunter hears the ap­proach of what must be the world’s largest deer. He takes the shot, and his free meat is now ly­ing on the ground.

The proud new hunter fi­nally re­trieves his prize, cuts it open to re­move ev­ery­thing that doesn’t look like free meat and drags the enor­mous, 80-pound doe to the truck.

A cou­ple of days later, the anx­ious new hunter picks up about 30 pounds of pack­aged free meat from the lo­cal deer pro­ces­sor, pays the man $50 for his work and heads home— car­ry­ing a cou­ple of thou­sand dol­lars’ worth of “free” meat in one hand. He is al­ready think­ing about next deer sea­son and maybe get­ting in on some­thing that he heard about: free fish.

But that is an­other story al­to­gether. GW

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