05 September 2012


Our leaves are beginning the change, the lush green of summer is turning to pale yellows in the birch and aspens. Our maples are still mostly green but some are shifting to the fiery red and orange. The tamaracks have not started yet though, still their olive green. Tamarack is an Algonquin word that loosely translates to 'wood used for snowshoes'. A poultice of its inner bark has been used to treat cuts, infected wounds, boils, and frostbite. Tamaracks resemble evergreens but they are not. It is a deciduous coniferous tree. Like other leaf bearing deciduous trees they'll change from green to a nice yellow before dropping its needles.

Young Tamarack

Close up of needles...

Tamarack in the fall

Our temperatures are dropping too, down into the forties at night, highs in the mid to upper sixties. Fall is coming and with it comes that familiar deeply instinctual urge to make meat. Ron, The Trying Woodsman, recently posted about the urge to start foraging.  The idea being that humans have an instinctual compulsion that may be triggered by the seasons to do certain things. Foraging and harvesting, putting back for the long winter ahead for example. I've believed this to be the case for many years, most of my adult life I've recognized this compulsion. I believe it's tied to our distant past when our survival was much closer to the bone.

For me, the compulsion to hunt is the most intense. It is a primal thing buried deep beneath the dusty eons, a thing not easily disregarded.

For as long as we've walked the earth we've eaten the bounty thereof, as much a predator as the wolf or the cougar. There's a connection, I believe it is partly instinctual, the same as a cat will instinctively crouch and pounce, or a short hair pointer will point as a young pup. It's somehow hardwired in them, it's also hardwired into some humans as well. Beyond the purely instinctual, it's also spiritual in nature for me. Something I believe our ancient ancestors felt as well.

There are a number of reasons that I hunt. Some are related to this primal spiritual instinctual connection, others because I prefer to know where my meat came from, still others related to the environment and the fact that hunting is in fact much more environmentally friendly than massive commercial meat farms. I'm not condemning meat production, God knows I like a good beef steak, as well as nice and juicy cheeseburgers as much as the next person. Because I am in a position to supply 90% of our meat by way hunting it would be utterly foolish not to do so, you can't get fresher, you can't get cleaner.

I am the follower from whence it came, I will be there where it goes.
I am the the tracker, the eyes in the woods, the silent shadow.
I am the hand that completes the cycle, taker and provider.
I am the hunter.


  1. Nice one... nice one!

    So I'm not the only one. Knew it all along.
    Hunting is one of the many things I wrote about, that I can not do... yet.
    And the really neat thing is, that I found a bow I most likely can use! So I might be able to combine the two.

    Thanks for mentioning me!

    1. No problem, it was your post that finally motivated me enough to write about it.

      Is hunting completely banned there or is it a matter of jumping through some hoops to be able to do it?

    2. Hunting is real big around here. Moosehunt starts here next month.
      I simply do not have the permits nor the weapons nor the knowledge to do it. But first I need to establish some local contacts who can and want to show me around in the world of hunting.

  2. I get the "urge" for hunting big time. I can't ignore it no matter what I do. So I embrace it. Why fight it? It's fun, rewarding, and you get fresh food that has a taste of self-accomplishment to go with it. It's a shame not everyone gets to experience it.

    Nice write up. I really enjoyed this one and hit home for me.

  3. Good luck to you, AG, in your pursuit of meat this season. :)

    1. Thank you WW. Hope your season is memorable as well!

  4. Small game season opens this weekend, and grey squirrel is high on my list of good things to eat.

    1. Outstanding. We're a little behind but not by much, we go live the 15th!