I Killed Bambi: describing Stalking to hipsters

Here's a piece I wrote for Sabotage Times which I hope gives a worthwhile introduction to stalking.

I Killed Bambi – Foodie Turns Hunter

Some flavours ask a little more of the bon viveur than a trip to Tesco’s or the pop-up food courts of Dalston.

It’s dawn, the first Saturday in August, the start of the Fallow buck season. I’m sitting with a lawyer in a metal chair ten feet off the ground with a rifle across my lap.
As a culture we’re pretty strange in our dealings with animals. Some animals we torture, wrap in plastic, and eat, some animals we Disney-fiy imagining them to have morals and emotions that match our own.
Sanitised to abstraction those two for a fiver chickens and meatballs of more than one animal – sometimes more than one species – can only be as cheap as they are if a living thing is reduced to a commodity, one that is moved through the process with as much haste and as little interaction as possible.

The lawyer comes from a family of hunters, ‘home’ is a farm in Ethiopia; his dad hunts, his uncles and cousins hunt. During the week he works 14 hour days in the city. In the early hours of Saturday morning while his colleagues are staggering home from the lapdancing bars he’s on the road for the 100 mile drive to an estate in the country he has leased to shoot deer on.
After a few years as a vegetarian I started to eat meat again, while my reasons for being vegetarian were largely about the assumed health benefits for me, my renewed interest in meat eating made me question the morality of eating meat from the industrialised food chain. If I were to eat an animal perhaps I owed it to the animal to kill it myself and to eat all of it, from nose to tail. I’m a novice hunter, I didn’t start shooting my own dinner until I was in my mid thirties and still have a lot to learn.

In our highseat we sit and marvel at the dawn chorus, a bat swoops past and somewhere nearby a woodpecker excavates his breakfast from under the bark of a tree. Our seat is positioned to overlook the spot where four ‘rides’ or wide pathways through the woodland intersect, the perfect place for the deer to browse the new growth where the trees have been cut back, and to keep a look out for predators. This is where the magic happens.
Fallow deer were indigenous to these islands; hunted to extinction in pre history, and reintroduced by the Romans, they flourish on the abundant foodstuffs provided by modern farming. So much so that there are now more deer in the UK than at any time since William the ******* landed in Hastings. William kept all the deer for himself and his acolytes, no Saxon was permitted to take one. Anyone caught ‘red-handed’ with the blood of a newly killed deer was marched to the gallows as an example to his neighbours.
At this time of year the deer are at the peak of condition, with all that barley to eat the living is easy, as the summer ends they’ll have to work harder for every calorie. It’s the only time of year the deer will have a layer of fat under their skin and kidneys encased in caul-fat. By the new-year the deer will be lean, the lustre will have left their coats.
Suddenly as if teleported in, a Doe appears with this years fawns following her, she catches a hint of us on the breeze but unable to see or hear us, rather than panic and run; she wanders away down the ride, looking back every few steps, trying to confirm her suspicions, still unsure what unconscious cue she’s responding to.
The sun breaks the treeline and another family group rocks up, this time a doe and fawn are followed by a Pricket, last years child now with the single pronged antlers of his ‘teenage’ year. He pauses to gnaw at the tender shoots of a coppiced hazel. At last the opportunity has presented itself; I set the scopes crosshairs on the space just behind his shoulder and slowly squeeze the trigger, as gently as possible adding more pressure until the trigger breaks like a champagne glass snapping in my hand. My concentration is so complete I don’t even hear the bang. A hole the size of a 5p piece appears just behind the pricket’s shoulder, his legs buckle and then straighten. Silently he stumbles a couple of steps and slumps to the floor. The bullet had killed him before the bang reached his ears.
Youtube is full of redneck hunting videos, where the hunters whoop and cheer, all high-fives and a pounding metal soundtrack. I prefer the more sombre tradition where a couple of fronds of vegetation are put into the animals mouth, a last supper, a benediction to see him on his way, some thanks that acknowledge that he has died so we might live and a quiet moment that serves as a reminder that, death is not to be caused lightly, even that the resource of deer in those woods was not to be over used. Like any funeral these traditions are more about the living than the dead.
For me the moment is still, the calm in the eye of the storm that lead us here; the days on the rifle range - working on the accuracy needed for the immediate one-shot kill, evenings sharpening a hunting knife until it’s sharper than a razorblade, and the weekends of practice-stalks, being busted trying to get close to unsuspecting deer. Now the shark is jumped, its all hard work from here on in. After the ‘Gralloch’ or gutting in the field we’ll drag him to the truck and let him cool in a chiller before taking him back home where I cut him into steaks, stews and burgers. Sixty Five portions of meat, a terrene of Pate from his liver, and a breakfast of his Kidneys.
The first cut is above the deer’s solar plexus, his blood is still under some pressure and pumps out for a few seconds pooling on the grass, I heave the stomach onto the ground, steam rises from the cavity and the lawyer reaches in to lift the still quivering liver away from the other offal.Slicing off a hunk he offers it to me on the blade of his knife “in my family we always eat a bit of the liver at the kill site”. It melts in my mouth, woodland sashimi and honesty. A taste you can’t get anywhere else.
You can read it on Sab Times HERE

And no i didn't submit the picture of a Whitetail that appears at the top of the article, and the editor changed the title
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
Very well written article.

What's with the title 'Sabotage Times'? I looked at the link you posted but don't get the title or the mix of content? just curious as to what the publications stand or view is????

The one comment from someone about, '...being proud...' I couldn't decide if it was genuine or sarcastic, although currently erring towards the latter. Sad when you bother to explain the processing of food before it reaches our shelves, and proven by simply reading the packaging, that some still cannot see the benefits to both us and the animals we hunt in providing food for the table by these means.
 

Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
Someone all but said it for me:

"The disconnect between us and our food is evidence of how easy it is to brainwash people. If people were eating recycled human flesh, a la matrix, they wouldn't even know. Seeing the life slip out of the eye of your prey reminds us of our short stay on this fine world of ours. All children should see how food is sent from field, farm (or factory) to the shelf in Tesco. This is the only way to preserve our humanity. Your article was humorous, honest and humbling."

Good stuff and well done.

Cheers
:tiphat:

K
 

suburban bushwacker

Well-Known Member
@jamross65
Thanks, Sab times is a mix of all kinds of writing, most of it from hobbyists like me but some well known writers too. It was started by the chap who founded Loaded back in the 90's

i suspect it was knee-yerk sarcasm from someone who wasn't able to read the whole piece as very little sunlight penetrates the place where his head is stuck.

@Klenchblaize
Thanks. Rudy is the pen name of a chap i used to work with, he should be writing them too

 

Pine Marten

Well-Known Member
Very good article and you really made the effort to use terminology that means something to those who have little or no dealings with parts of the world that we do. Excellent!
 

suburban bushwacker

Well-Known Member
@pinemarten thank you. It's gratifiying that it seems to have worked out
@Claret_dabbler he's a lot of fun, bit worried about his truck though
 

Cootmeurer

Well-Known Member
.....
And no i didn't submit the picture of a Whitetail that appears at the top of the article, and the editor changed the title

Well written. The picture your editor subbed was actually an American MULE deer (not whitetail). You can tell by the bifurcated (branch then branch again - sort of a double sling shot) antlers and extremely small brow tines.
 

jimo

Well-Known Member
So everyone who has posted a reply so far agrees that as a culture we torture the animals that we wrap in plastic and eat. As a livestock farmer I take great exception to that statement. It is a ridiculous and irresponsible statement of the type we have come to expect from Brian May and you lot are patting him on the back?
 

suburban bushwacker

Well-Known Member
Well written. The picture your editor subbed was actually an American MULE deer (not whitetail). You can tell by the bifurcated (branch then branch again - sort of a double sling shot) antlers and extremely small brow tines.

Every day's a school day


Ric6point5 Thanks fella
 

tjm160

Well-Known Member
Outstandingly well written, put so well into words what I imagine many of us think and feel, but struggle to articulate so eloquently, well done SB :tiphat:
 

rick6point5

Well-Known Member
Hi Jimo

I don't think for 1 moment this is a personal affront on you or your farming methods in fact many of us are more than aware of how much Knowledge, humanity, effort, time and concern the majority of farmers invest & have for their livestock and best farming practice, however anyone who has been on this planet for anytime will recognize immediately the paragraph you are referring to is sadly a global issue in this 'world of convenient cheap as possible maximum profit, fast food, ready meal consumer culture' in which we live. IMO it needs to be pointed out to the ignorant masses everyday if only they would look up from the 'Ever cheapening planet destroying unnecessary & unsustainable consumer electronics that are detaching them from reality', which i might point out are sold in a similar fashion.. rant over.

atb
 

The Singing Stalker

Well-Known Member
A good read and I wish I could put my point across as well.
I agree that it is not a go against the farmers here.
But I had an argument with a girl who said it was okay to eat cows and pigs because they were ugly and rabbits were pretty so shouldn't be killed. and she was being serious. Problems start with the food chain when companies say made in UK or what ever the label is and in reality it came from brazil but because it was packed in the UK they can make the claim.
I may not be 100 per cent about the correct wording so feel free not to jump down my throat.
Anyway I digress.
It was a good read and in my opinion it expresses my feelings too and what I try to explain to people.
 

Wolverine

Well-Known Member
An article well written.
However,I agree with Jimo.
PETA/vegetarian/Compassion in World Farming language spread through it for no reason.
Animals are not tortured in the UK,even in heavily intensified systems.
To suggest otherwise shows a lack of knowledge towards those systems and industries.
If a product is grown/stocked then produced in the UK,the oval code has a stamp/number,that will tell you country of origin and processor code.....check that it is grown in UK and packed in UK.
ie produced and packed in the UK.
http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/publication/countryoriginlabellingscot.pdf
​UK products-look for the red tractor logo.
The ONLY animals in that article that thrive with no interaction are the deer.
 
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JabaliHunter

Well-Known Member
If a product is grown/stocked then produced in the UK,the oval code has a stamp/number,that will tell you country of origin and processor code.....check that it is grown in UK and packed in UK.
The oval code does not show the ingredient/product country of origin. It is an approved premises code and shows where the ingredient/product it was processed or packed. Not the same thing...
 

Wolverine

Well-Known Member
The oval code does not show the ingredient/product country of origin. It is an approved premises code and shows where the ingredient/product it was processed or packed. Not the same thing...
Spot on Jabali....sorry I was chatting to my wife and missed out the "not" country of origin....it is a factory code.:thumb:She has been chatting in my ear all night....
Everything on the link correct though.
Red Tractor logo too.
 

suburban bushwacker

Well-Known Member
I had an argument with a girl who said it was okay to eat cows and pigs because they were ugly and rabbits were pretty so shouldn't be killed. and she was being serious.

Funny you should mention that i heard the same thing from my daughter - she was 7 at the time.

Her latest
TLB: "Daddy STOP killing animals"
SBW: "You liked the venison we ate at Christmas, you didn't complain then"
TLB: " I know daddy, I wanted to say something, but it was so delicious!"

The conflicted hypocrite Now 8

​Glad you liked the piece
 

suburban bushwacker

Well-Known Member
Gentlemen it wasn't my intention to get involved in any squabbles on this site, however as I am clearly the cause of the consternation I feel its time to clear a few things up

So everyone who has posted a reply so far agrees that as a culture we torture the animals that we wrap in plastic and eat. As a livestock farmer I take great exception to that statement. It is a ridiculous and irresponsible statement of the type we have come to expect from Brian May and you lot are patting him on the back?

@jimo to express pleasure in reading is not the same as expressing agreement.
Yes even though I have never heard of you the piece I wrote was a personal attack on you and everything you hold dear
Now the good news - you have received feedback from one of your customers, other customers may agree. If you wish to see your business portrayed in a different light you have two options; try to change my view though debate, or point your finger and tell me I'm like Brian May.

An article well written.
However,I agree with Jimo.
PETA/vegetarian/Compassion in World Farming language spread through it for no reason.
Animals are not tortured in the UK,even in heavily intensified systems.
To suggest otherwise shows a lack of knowledge towards those systems and industries.
If a product is grown/stocked then produced in the UK,the oval code has a stamp/number,that will tell you country of origin and processor code.....check that it is grown in UK and packed in UK.
ie produced and packed in the UK.
http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/publication/countryoriginlabellingscot.pdf
​UK products-look for the red tractor logo.
The ONLY animals in that article that thrive with no interaction are the deer.

@Wolverine
Thanks I'm glad you liked it
You say
'PETA/vegetarian/Compassion in World Farming language spread through it for no reason.'

hardly 'spread though it' and clearly my statements about the industrialised food chain and the time I spent eating a vegetarian diet are to set a context for my feelings and beliefs about the origins of foodstuffs, so the commentary is there for a reason - with only a limited number of words to be used every word is in fact there for a reason.

You say
'Animals are not tortured in the UK,even in heavily intensified systems.'
The other day i read a very interesting thread on this very site, detailing a study that suggests animals suffer more pain through the use of the captive bolt gun than they do through the practice of halal slaughter. I've been to chicken sheds where birds lay eggs that are legally allowed to be described as 'Free Range' the sight that met my eyes did not meet my definition of either free or able to range. Both practices cause suffering as a result of the industrialisation of the process of bringing meat to the table. That I have concerns for the well being of my dinner before it reaches my plate of course makes me a vegan nut job who posts on the internet that he's shot deer.

I found your faith in the government's labeling scheme touching

SBW
 
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