Walking into a brand-new gas station/convenience store off of State Road 70 in Manatee County near the entrance to the chic suburban community of Lakewood Ranch, just as most folks are stopping for a fill-up and snack after a workday, I feel self-conscious. I'm decked from head to almost toe in mottled brown and green camouflage. Plastic mesh cap. Wallet in my front pocket. What will people think?
Apparently, they think I'm a hunter. Before we make it to the counter with our drinks and snacks, one person asks whether we'd been after deer "Nah, not quite season yet, is it?" replies my companion Scott Hair while another mentions that she wouldn't mind us stopping by and dropping off some meat after we get done for the day. We (I mean Scott) shoot the shit about where we're headed, and where others have been having luck. Now, instead of fearing that I'd be pegged as a rural bumpkin by my white collar peeps, I feel like a poseur. I am not a hunter. At least, that is, until tonight.
Recently, when local food blogger and cookbook author Jaden Hair offered me some wild pig meat shot by her husband, I realized I was suffering from a disconnect that needed to be remedied. I can quote chapter and verse about the maladies of our dysfunctional food supply system, the horrors of factory farming and the joys of local foods, but I know more about the interior of a chicken factory than I do about how Florida hunters ply their trade. Easy solution: Go hunting for wild hog in the Florida badlands with two seasoned hunters.
Plus, I eat meat, but I've never been around for the visceral experience of the kill. That seems like cheating.
If you are against hunting, but still eat meat, you'll need to reassess your logical consistency, especially