Dealing With An Idealistic Non-Hunter
'Tis that time of year for Christmas parties, which usually include conversation fueled by cheer and possibly an adult beverage. I had the pleasure of attending a Christmas party hosted by my hunting partner, Michael, and his wife last Friday and there always seems to be a story when I attend something like this.
Now, the story starts off kinda funny because while I read the invite, and spoke to Michael, I had no idea it was a 'Christmas' party. We had discussed the party while hunting and Michael had mentioned that they moved to a new place, were going to have some friends over... yadda yadda yadda... so I figured a few friends to relax and have a housewarming party. "Survey says... EHHHHHNT!" I read the body of the email, but the subject line said Xmas Party Invite. I failed to see that! Now, my wife had a feeling it was a Christmas party, but I, being of sound mind and stubborn spirit decided to wing it. I threw on the black jeans and a Realtree MAX-1 camo button up. Little did I know my attire would be a nice topic of conversation. (ok, so I figured it would be. That's why I wore it!)
Now, I am going to skip all of the party bits and such and get right to the meat of this post. Literally. Michael had mentioned that he was making a vat of venison chili with the deer he killed. I was stoked to try it! While hanging out and eating, one of the guests approached me and asked if I was a hunter and friend of Michael's. Was it that obvious? <-- That's sarcasm for you straight-laced folks. I'm known for that. Anyway, the gentleman introduces himself and we get to chatting. Immediately, we get on the subject of hunting and it takes a dark turn. See how I handled it and would you have handled it different?
I am paraphrasing, but the conversation went something like this...
Party Guest: "So, are you a hunter, too?"
Me: "Indeed I am. I am Michael's bow hunting partner."
PG: "OH! So were you with him when he killed his deer?"
Me: "The doe he shot? Yes, I was. In fact, I watched it all go down. Pretty cool stuff seeing a guy take his first deer with archery equipment!"
PG: "Wow, so he shot a doe? My family hunts, too. We are full of hunters. I am not a hunter, but my family hunts and if you went out and shot a doe they would have your ass."
Me: "Why would they 'have your ass'? Shooting does is good to keep a healthy population and you have to keep them in check."
PG: "I guess it's a manly thing. You really aren't a man unless you hunt for big buck."
Me: "What makes you say that? Are you saying that you aren't a real hunter if you shoot a doe and don't shoot a big buck?"
PG: "Well, my family is full of trophy hunters. They won't shoot does. So, you aren't a buck hunter?"
Me: "That's not what I said. What I said was that I will gladly shoot a doe if she comes into range. I will also shoot a buck if it comes into range. I am not picky and my tag allows either one."
PG: "Like I said, you aren't a man unless you hunt for a buck."
Me: "I am curious, why would you say that when you told me you aren't even a hunter? Your family is, but you aren't, right? [with a smile on my face] Are you an expert on manliness?"
PG: "That's true, I don't hunt, but this is what my family tells me."
Me: "The meat from a buck or a doe, no matter how you cut it, is venison, no matter if it has horns or not. Have you ever tried eating the horns? You can't eat the horns and a doe tastes delicious."
PG: "I am sure it does."
Me: "By the way, how did you like the chili? Pretty good, right?"
PG: "It was very good."
Me: "Yeah, I guess it doesn't taste too bad considering that it's made with the doe that Michael shot last week. Tasty stuff right there."
At this point, PG shakes my hand and walks away. I never raised my voice, got angry or backed down. I am a hunter and I will not apologize for shooting does. You don't like it, too bad. To the PG and anyone else who doesn't believe in shooting does, if there is ever a famine or you are just downright hungry, please feel free to set your trophy horns aside and come sit at my table. I am not knocking anyone who hunts just for the trophy horns. On the contrary, if you choose to hunt for horns, go nuts! Hunting is hunting, but don't EVER try to put me down for sending an arrow through a doe. Ever.