Monday, October 27, 2014

Hunting in the Autumn

Hunting has been a part of my family for decades in both and good ways. I can remember each year when I was a child that my father and later my brothers headed off each autumn to a hunting trip. Mom would usually take the meat and hide it in meatloaf, spaghetti, or chili.  One year she made homemade mincemeat which my father still talks about reverently.

Capitola Frddle  - abt 1933
My mother was born in the middle of hunting season.  When my grandmother went into labor, it was her brother, Claude, who took her to the hospital.  Grandma decided after that experience, that she wasn't going to have any more babies if her husband couldn't be around for the birth.  I can remember when my uncle told me that story.  It must have been something else for a 17 year old kid to drive his sister to the hospital while she was having a baby.  However, my grandmother should have known better.  When she first started going out with my grandfather, Richard...she knew that he was a hunter.  While she was teaching, he poached meat (hunted deer) so she could feed her students.  She brought vegetables up from her parent's home and used meat from her boyfriend, and fed her students who rarely had a hot meal during the height of the depression.  She also went with him on hunting camp after they were married and actually went hunting herself.  That all changed when he was killed during a hunting trip for birds with a friend on 9 Nov 1947.  Grandma Cappy never again went hunting - however, she did marry another man who was also hunter.
Richard Tannahill - Around 1930

Grandpa Gwen built a lumber mill in Elk City, ID.  I know that the location and the availability of the lumber was the biggest lure to the area.   However, I have to wonder if he wasn't tempted by the hunting and fishing in the area as well.  Every year, Grandpa would go out and spend a lot of the autumn season hunting and many times, my father went along.  In his later years, he really wasn't able to go hunting as he used to.  I do remember one year when he went on a hunting trip with my father and brothers.

My brother's have told me that it was one of their most memorable hunting trips.  They were hunting at Eagle Creek which is on the Salmon river in Idaho.  While my brothers and father spent the day hunting, Grandpa spent the day fishing.  Each of them got their deer on that trip.  Grandpa Gwen proved to be an exemplary camp cook and they had the benefit of eating fresh liver and heart for breakfast.  It doesn't sound all that tempting to me...but they certainly enjoyed it.

John Bernard Gage - hunting with dog Scipio
I have talked to some who don't understand why we hunt.  I know that when the men in my family hunt, the antlers might be put on display but I know the meat was not wasted.  Perhaps it was made into sausage or pepperoni.  I know that my grandmother was incredibly excited to get an elk roast.    Nothing was wasted.  I also know that my father and his father hunted to provide meat for their family just as my mother's father did.  In our family, just like many other families in the region, hunting was a whole lot more than just something they did every fall.  Hunting was means of putting meat on the table to help feed the family during the winter.

So...it has become an annual tradition in our family that the men in my family go off to enjoy a hunting weekend during the opening of hunting season. I prepare my mother's chili in large quantity and send along for the hunting getaway.  During the last several years, I have gone to Spokane and my sister in law and I enjoy our own hunting expedition...except we are shopping.