March 27, 2019– By Mike Schut, Senior Program Director

As a boy I could not wait to go pheasant hunting with Uncle Rog.

I pretty much idolized Rog. For one thing, he shot a basketball better than anyone I knew, and I loved hoops. And he also could shoot a pheasant out of the air more quickly than I could recover from the fright of the pheasant bursting from the tall tawny grass right at our feet. And Rog was kind and safe and cared about the world; he taught junior high Earth Science. He cared that the next generation cared: about soil, and habitat, and wild animals.

Farm Table is excited to cosponsor a series of classes titled “Learn to Hunt for Food.” In April that series will teach adults, those with no or little experience, how to hunt for wild turkey. (This fall we will likely cosponsor a course on deer hunting, so stay tuned.)

Hunters and fishers are often among the most engaged in conservation efforts. They know the importance of habitat, of ensuring that animals have homes. Habitat conservation is one of the main priorities of some of Farm Table’s partners in this class: National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, and Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources.

Our mission is to “grow a local food culture.” When hunting is done with respect and gratitude it is one of the most sustainable ways to feed ourselves. Hunting brings families together, often builds a tradition of caring for the land, and fills freezers with good food.

Wendell Berry writes, “To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation.” In other words, others die so that we may live. The point is, Berry goes on, that when we daily break the body and shed the blood “knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration.”

We know that hunting can be done with humility. We know that hunting can grow deep gratitude in us: after all, we are taking the life of another being that we might live. We trust that this wild turkey course will be such an experience—even, as Berry knows is possible, be a “sacrament.”

Please note: the class is now full. As noted above, we will very likely be hosting a Learn to Hunt for Food series this fall for novice deer hunters.