3 days ago
- Memories of venison pastrami. - I had been waiting about 8 weeks for this moment. I sliced into this first piece of juniper brined venison pastrami, and all the steps that brought me here, flooded in. After 7.5 weeks of brining in the fridge, a few days of drying, rubbing with home smoked pork fat, crusting with juniper, thyme, homemade spruce salt and brown sugar. After sleeping outside in my hammock to cold smoke it through the night in a smoke house I built, with wood I chopped. Throwing rocks at coyotes barking at me from the edge of the treeline, and hot smoking on the barbecue. I shot this gorgeous doe on my property on Gambier Island, off the coast of Gibsons, British Columbia. It was a perfect shot and she just lay down on her side and fell asleep. One of the best shots I've made. There was no further intervention on my part, and she never saw me. I only approached her after she was gone. She was healthy, perfect and fat in all the right places, walking alone on the ridge overlooking Howe Sound and listening to the birds and sniffing the air. It's hard to imagine for some I know, but for me, I used every ounce of skill and restraint I possess to be able to do this as cleanly and humanely as I possibly could. I feel like I've done that justice. There was no struggle, there was no fear. My favourite thing someone ever said to me about wild meat is that "They only have one bad day. They live free and breathe and breed and love and frolic. And then it just ends." I understand the aversion to hunting. Completely. It's so easy to see the maltreatment of animals and bravado of most hunters that take away from the respect and honour of it. For me, I grew up in a community where hunters were seen as real, true conservationists. They understand population balance, they know the animals habitats and regimes like they are their own. They are experts in their field. A deer in nature doesn't die peacefully. They get injured, starve to death. They die of exposure or being eaten alive by something else. Nothing in nature dies of old age. Dying instantly by being taken by a responsible hunter, is the quickest, most humane way an animal like this could expect to go.