Rite of Passage
- Monday, 15 August 2016
At County Deer Stalking we are firm believers in the value of introducing young people to hunting.
Helping young people to learn the value of sustainable hunting and to understand the link between the field and the dinner plate, is a lesson which is more easily taught in the field than in the classroom. Furthermore being able to hunt and cook your own food over an open fire is not only the ‘stuff of dreams’ for many young boys and girls, it is also a huge confidence builder.
We have been delighted to help many proud fathers introduce their children to this memorable ‘rite of passage’.
In the following article James Schneider takes up the story of one such outing in the Hampshire countryside just one hour from London.
As a long, warm August summer’s day melted into evening, I sat in a verdant Hampshire wood by a tree, tending a fire as it burnt into coals. It was then that I enjoyed one of the more satisfying moments in a father’s relationship with his son, when I watched my child’s face light up in a broad smile as he took his first bite of a fresh loin of hare roasted over the flame on a shaved beech sprig.
And this was not just any bit of hare, rather the fruit of his first outing hunting.
(Left: A promising young shot)
The moment had been in the making for well over a year. I began taking him along on various stalking and shooting days, gently introducing him to the special world of the hunter and educating him on its importance to our heritage and the broader environment around us.
After further proving himself at the range, my son began his own walk with St. Hubertus and sealed his rite of passage with a terrific clean shot.
Hare retrieved and son blooded, we began to move off the field. It was as if he had grown three inches before my eyes and was levitating on a cloud of grass as we walked towards the road. His shoulders were back, his head up and chin out, eyes alert for the next target. There was a change, confidence instilled in a young man emerging. A big step made and legacy reinforced.
The diced and browned haunch was combined with various ingredients in a family heirloom iron pot and cooked directly over the coals into a delicious stew accompanied by a large round of sour dough bread. It was unanimously declared by a population of one to be the greatest meal I had ever prepared (aside from Boxing Day).
The warm and comforting stew capped the day’s memories, sealing intense hours of walking, hard work and adrenaline with the satisfaction of a self-sourced field-to-plate dinner and glowing fire.
“Daddy, when can we come back and do this again?” Music to my ears.
Good shooting, some bush craft and culinary prowess make for fine family memories. I hope you can get out with your family and enjoy the same during the remaining few weeks of summer we have left!
To read more about introducing young people to hunting follow this link: young-blood