Woman chef becomes hunter in order to truly participate in her omnivorous life.
Pretty good stories, good looking recipes but one thing really bothered me.
Georgia shoots her chukar at a Texas game ranch where “…an olive brown figure rises from the left, only 10 yards in front and, crosses my path in a diagonal leap skyward.”
She who has never tasted a chukar gets her bird, and life is good. I bet she even remembers how it tastes.
I have also been chukar hunting.
It was a bit different than that.
My Dad, brother and cousin Johnny all went chukar hunting in Nevada a few years ago. After lots and lots of driving we arrived and it was beautiful.
Until I realized that I had to hike up all that beauty.
See here is the thing, the locals don’t call them “Dirty Rotten Bastards” without due cause. Chukars hang out on the side of the mountain until they see you coming, then they run – straight – up – the – mountain. When they reach the top they no doubt do a few chukar high fives before the Dirty Rotten Bastards laugh and fly down the other side of the mountain.
I don’t run up mountains as fast as a chukar, my game vest stayed empty.
After a few days of hunting we got smarter and learned what the birds ( I mean Dirty Rotten Bastards) were flying to and we were able to set up hunts so that they flew down our side of the mountain. That sounds like it should be much better, and it was. All you had to do was stop upward movement on a 45 degree, rocky, snow covered slope, pivot outward to be facing the flying birds and then attempt to stop gasping for oxygen in the thin mountain air so as to steady your gun and get a shot off.
Then I’d watch and watch as the unscathed bastards would fly off, mark where they went down, hike back down my mountain and get ready to chase them up the next one. It was fantastic in a masochistic sort of way.
Fortunately not everyone was as bad a shot as I was and we were able to eat chukar for dinner at night.
Unlike Georgia I do not remember how it tastes.
I was so tired by the end of the day it’s possible I would have thought cardboard a delicious dinner.
As the local mountain lion hunter told us, you go Dirty Rotten Bastard hunting the first time for fun, the next times are all revenge.
And now that I have my own bird dog and know that I have to pretend I’m training for a marathon before I leave, I can’t wait until I have an opportunity to get my revenge.
Hopefully I’ll even remember how it tastes.
Would I recommend the book? I go bird hunting because I like the hunting. Figuring out what the birds are eating, where they will be and when, watching the dogs work the field (or mountain) and maybe if I’m lucky being able to fill my game vest with something tasty for dinner. I’d rather hike up and down mountains while puzzling out how it all works with friends or family than be certain of finding game on a managed property with a guide.
The author is a hunter to find out where her food came from, participate in the harvest and cook great food. I think what she does is admirable, I think her stories are good and I’m glad she wrote a book about it, I just can’t broadly recommend it as a hunting book. It’s not my kind of hunting.