Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A different kind of harvest

© 2010 Joshua Stark

Since I moved my 'Lands on the Margin' concept over here to Agrarianista, I feel more free to talk about my other passions, my outdoor life.  As I've said, California is blessed with a huge variety of climates and conditions, from which has arisen a vast diversity of plant life.  It has also, therefore, been blessed with a vast diversity of animal life, which, though greatly impacted by urban sprawl and industrial agriculture, it still provides in abundance.

Ever since I can remember, I've been fascinated by animal life.  As a kid, we used to always play "animal", pretending to be one or another sort of creature (almost always ending, by the way, in one of us being a badger or a wolverine, those symbols of the utter wild in the West).  I also birdwatched, and we took a spotlight out on the 'back roads' looking for nighttime creatures.  I've had a deep and intimate relationship with one Olaus Murie, but until about 6 years ago, I had no idea he was a founding father of the environmental movement - to me, he (along with my Dad) was the man who taught me how to track.  I fished, too.  And, I hunted.

I didn't know just how big an impact hunting would have on my life when I was a child.  I was just attracted to it the same way a cat has to get that little string you jiggle in front of her.  With my friends, I hunted from the day I got my first BB gun.  When I got older, I thought about the ethics of hunting and death, and I decided that not only was it okay to hunt, to me it was actually morally preferable to other ways of living (if you are interested in my ethical philosophy, take a look at my other active blog, "Ethics and the Environment").

Today, much of my professional life and my personal choices are due to my outdoor experiences.  And California has blessed me with an abundance of outdoor choices, from kayaking and birdwatching, to telemark, mountain climbing (should I so choose to try these things), hunting and fishing. 

More generally, hunting and fishing are grand traditions in a homesteading, agrarian life, and I see no reason why living inside city limits should change that.  Within 30 minutes of my door, I can hunt anything from rabbits and doves to deer.  Oftentimes, in places like California, foraging, hunting, and fishing actually can provide quite a consistent meal, more efficiently turning the local Sun, water and soil into something to sustain us.  In fact, in light of the constraints on animal husbandry that city life brings, hunting and fishing may be the only ways to directly acquire meat.

And so it is Fall here in California (regardless of the high today of 75 degrees), and that means hunting seasons.  Expect some conversations to follow about game, should some of my hunting friends get lucky enough to want to share...

If you have any questions or comments about hunting and how it might fit into urban homesteading and urban agrarianism, please let me know!

If you are a waterfowl hunter, click on this image to be given the shakes.


Bumbling Bushman said...

I'm looking forward to making your blog a regular read. Sounds like we have a lot in common.

Josh said...

Bumbling Bushman, welcome! I hope you find something interesting here.

Hippo said...

A very nice article. I strolled over to Hunter Angler gardener Cook and was delighted with what I found so thank you very much for the link.

I'm just off to visit Bumbling Bushman (sounds a bit like me!).

Josh said...

Obrigado, Hippo! Yeah, there's some great folks out there. Please feel free to stop in here any time and comment. I'm a fan of your sites too, by the way (though your cooking one is daunting).

Bpaul said...

I sat at Sauvie's Island outside Portland, on the Columbia River, last week and watched literally hundreds of thousands of geese (not shootable from public land on Sauvies) overhead.

Boy was that hard on the endocrine system.

Didn't manage any ducks, but we're learning.


Josh said...

Bpaul, good luck to you! That sounds great. I grew up in the Sacramento Delta, and so nearly every Winter night I was serenaded to sleep by geese, swans, and cranes flying through the night. Still, the sight of them does the same thing to me you describe!