Friday, September 21, 2007

Here, little sheepie, sheepie, sheepie

That alarm clock at 1:35 a.m. sucked so bad.

A. left at 2:00 a.m. to go big horn sheep hunting. As I type this, I realize I never posted about the results of his first trip. (Because you care!)

He and his four hunting buddies were out for a week in very rugged country at 10,000- and 12,000-feet altitude. He did see some rams--some of the largest he's ever seen--but didn't manage to "harvest" one. (I hate that word, "harvest." Let's face it: there is something very different from harvesting corn and shooting a breathing, moving, arguably cognitive animal dead.)

Anyway. A. learned that the very instant one of these sheep see you they are running. They don't take a second or two to process what they see. They just run. Bolt and run! With the agility to cover rocky, unsteady ground that they are born with. And A. had a hard time chasing them with his silly human feet and wobbly ankles. He took two shots at a running ram and missed. Bummer. The guys came home sore, covered in blisters and stinking to high heaven.

So. He and C.R., one of the guys who originally joined him, headed out again. C.R.'s uncle and cousin are meeting them near the area. They've brought their horses, so at least the guys don't have to carry their 50+ pound packs (and hopefully a ram!) for 13 miles each way. With a change in elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet. Jesus.

I am fidgety and antsy, like always am when A. is hunting. My tummy just won't relax, and I can only focus on the tasks at hand in a really half-assed kind of way. The last remaining influence of my Catholic upbringing is urging me to light a candle, but I don't want to burn the house down while I am at work (or do I? There would be a lot less cleaning.). Thus, I feel like I am not doing my part to influence The Universe to make sure A. has a safe hunt. Since I do not have a lit candle burning all day I worry that I single-handedly am putting him at risk.

Catholic guilt and questionable mental health do not a happy Artemisia make.

I think of all the things that can go wrong, from a car accident to slipping on the side of a mountain. Bears. BEARS. A sudden blizzard. Yes, in these parts and at that altitude this is a completely reasonable fear. Really. Even in September.

I am also anxious for this hunt to go well for A.'s sake. He's put a lot of time and effort into it and I'd hate for this opportunity to have come and gone without a reward. He's anxious to have the hunt over so he can focus on school, but I am sure he'll be disappointed if the season closes without a ram.

I hope he comes home soon. My stomach lining hopes so, too.


  1. Maybe you could light one at a church instead, to avoid the house burning to the ground issue. OR, you could just say a rosary for him. But that IS a lot of work. I know a thing or two about the Catholic guilt!

  2. Catholic guilt makes even the most mundane of life events exciting, doesn't it?

  3. Oh, I would be so conflicted if I was in your shoes. I'm on the Ram's side. I hope A has a safe and exciting chase and returns completely well and sound and ... empty handed.

  4. Pann - I understand, I do! I could never do it. And every hunt, A. gets more and more conflicted, himself.

    Although, both A. and I really like being more responsible for the meat we are eating and avoiding purchasing feed lot "products."

  5. I wonder if you could...oh, Tessie already thought of church. Or maybe put one in the tub or sink, so if something goes wrong it's unlikely to burn anything down.

  6. I hope he makes it home safe, with or without the ram. I find the idea of hunting rams quite odd - I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen in Australia. I don't think we have any wild rams. And they're nice to eat? My imagination says that wild sheep galloping around mountains have got to be fairly tough.

  7. Sadly for A., I'm on the ram's side too. Did he take the camera? Perhaps he could hunt these rams and mooses and such with a camera and make a fortune. And face it, what are you going to do with a stuffed ram's head in your living room (or wherever). Go A. But go faster, rams!

  8. I'm impressed with how supportive you are of his interests and activities even if it's something you don't want to do yourself. I'm not sure I could handle it if Torsten went off to hunt rams. Or anything else.

    I agree with Tessie and Swistle on the church thing, by the way.

  9. Cee - I have no idea about what is available for hunting in Australia. The U.S. has very different opportunities/regulations than other countries. And I am not too familiar with Australian wildlife, other than kangaroos, of course!

    I'd think the meat would be tough as hell, too, but apparently it is the best wild game there is. It is supposed to be really tender and just yummy as hell.

    Pixelpi - your intentions were heard! A. came home without a ram...

    Jess - Hunting is a very large part of the culture out here. While I could never hunt, I do like eating meat that is free of feedlot treatment, hormones, antibiotics, etc. Plus, I feel more responsible for my impact on the earth, in a weird way and definitely more connected to the food I require.

  10. That makes a lot of sense. I was thinking about that when I was reading about how you're stuck with moose meat all winter, and how cool and connected it is that you're going to eat what you have and not what you could buy at the grocery store.

  11. Jess - we still break down and buy chicken or pork once in a while, but we rarely buy beef (unless we have a particularly picky house guest). We are fortunate to be in a position to make these kinds of decisions.


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