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Nov 25, 2011
“It will be just like hiking,” my husband said, promising the beauty of nature all around us. My parents live close to Marindahl Lake near Volin and Jeremy thought walking some of its 634 acres of game production area would be a great activity before Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, he also hoped to shoot a deer.
I don’t usually tag along for this type of thing. I have terrible fall allergies so traipsing through autumn fields can be miserable and I’ve often felt conflicted about hunting. Many of my family members hunt and I support their right to do so. But I am a yoga teacher and an important part of yogic philosophy involves practicing ahimsa. It’s a Sanskrit word meaning nonviolence and loving kindness to all living things. I am fairly certain that hunting – or even meat eating – and ahimsa don’t mix well.
That being said, I’m not a vegetarian. I tried it for a few years in college, much to the dismay and confusion of my family. Grandma was certain vegetarians ate chicken. And when Grandpa grilled steaks he intentionally dripped blood onto my black bean burger. I don’t know if their cajoling changed me back, or if I just missed eating meat. But now I try my best to eat humanely raised animals like grass fed beef or cage-free chicken. I like to think that pheasants or deer procured from the natural fields and brush of South Dakota at least have a pretty good life before they meet their demise. With this rationale in mind, I agreed to bundle up and tag along.
The walk started easily enough. We stomped through tall grass as I whispered commentary about the scenery. Jeremy has often talked fondly about the idea of hosting a husband and wife hunting show. I used this opportunity to practice possible banter as we climbed up and down hills. I got a little quieter when we approached a large patch of sumac and brush. It took some concentration to squeeze through without getting poked in the eyes or slapped in the face with branches – and I didn’t even complain. But I did imagine accepting “Wife of the Year” award while I belly crawled under a large span of evergreen trees.
There were no deer in sight on that crisp morning and no fires were shot. Jeremy was a touch disappointed as we hiked back to the truck but I was relieved. I don’t think we could have maneuvered one out of the bracken if we wanted to and it would have made us late for Thanksgiving dinner.