Monday, January 23, 2017

Subsistence Hunting

Old NFO’s recent hunting trip wasn’t quite successful

and I suggested he consider subsistence (aka poaching) hunting.

My father and his siblings were poachers. Growing up during the Great Depression in Northwest Colorado, it was a choice of wild game or starving for an extended family of nearly twenty souls. Others in the area faced the same dilemma.  The local authorities tending to turn a blind eye, so long as the game wasn’t wasted or sold.

After WWII jobs were scarce and pay was low. My father and his older brother found employment around Breckenridge, CO. At age three I called deer “bang, bang cows”.

An early memory was being asleep in the back seat of a car, at night, and the doors opening and a fresh deer carcass landing on the floor.

We grew up eating venison and elk. Beef was a rare treat.

One Christmas season we were having dinner with another family. The mother had, as a special treat, prepared a ham. Her kids didn’t want to eat it, said it,” Didn’t taste like meat”. A hard look from her and they did eat it, quietly. In those days kids had two choices. Eat what was in front of them or go hungry, often with a paddled bottom.

In later years my father slacked off on poaching. Our finances were better, we had a very small ranch, and we grew our own beef.

To this day some of my relatives poach. It isn’t so much economic as it is giving the finger to the government. That said, they don’t waste any of the meat or take just the choice parts. They don’t want to be disowned by the others in the clan.

Have I ever taken game out of season or without a proper license? I respectfully refuse to answer that question on the grounds………………….

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