Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hunting for the Table

Hunting to supply meat for the table is common here and totally acceptable. Well, the animal rights folks and the vegans don't approve. Neither do the transplants from the mainland cities. But hunting is a long established tradition and is a very, very important source of nutrition for many families. 

While my husband and I do not actively hunt ourselves we take advantage of hunters. I've set up a bartering network with several hunters, trading my excess vegetables and eggs for their meat or fish. 

So what does one hunt in Hawaii? You'd be surprised. We have plenty of wild pigs, mouflon, and feral goats & cows. Turkeys, pheasants, and doves abound. There are so many that they are a nuisense to the non-hunters. Many property owners invite hunters and trappers to clear out their property from time to time. And of course, we have good fishing waters. Fishermen often have fresh caught ahi, ono, and opelu for sale. 

It is not uncommon to see mouflon and feral goats near our farm. And wild pigs actively live in the area, as do turkeys, pheasants, and doves. No problem finding game. In fact I currently have a wild sow living on the back of our 20 acres. Whenever her latest litter of piglets reach 8 weeks of age, we set up traps to capture them. It's a challenge since the sow is smart and avoids any trap that has caught her in the past. But for the past four years we've managed to outsmart her. I can't guarantee we'll continue to be successful. But we keep her bribed with culled fruit, roadkill, and moldy bread year around. So she tends to drop her guard. 

A number of my friends are hunters. So in the past few years I've eaten just about everything there is to hunt. I've been on hunts and althought I haven't been the one that makes the kill, I could if I had to. The thought of hunting turns some people off, I know, but if your family needs protein and can't afford to buy it, then hunting becomes a serious option. Plus in my area, if hunters don't take the game, then the Feds come in with helicopters and sharpshooters. They shoot the animals and just leave them to rot....and those are the lucky ones. Most are not killed outright, but linger to die a slow, painful, cruel death. I'd rather see local hunters take them. 

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