Hunting is a Mearig family tradition! The number one reason we hunt is to spend quality time enjoying the outdoors. Sitting still in a silent deer blind in the crisp fall air as the world wakes up, watching the sunrise, perfectly in tune with the stirrings of nature is rewarding in itself.
It’s an experience that always humbles me. I grew up in a big family that hunted every fall to fill the freezer and I know many subsistence families that still do. Today, our Party of Five lives one minute away from HEB and we are surrounded by urban conveniences like Door Dash and Instacart that we take full advantage of. It’s the quiet exposure to nature that I crave from our hunting trips. The cabin, the campfires, the early morning hike with a thermos of coffee.
The harvest is just a bonus!
As a mother of three boys, I have always tried to share my knowledge and passion for the outdoors with my kids. Growing up, our parents and grandparents took us hunting, put wild game on the table, and taught my husband and I to love and respect the outdoors. We started including our own children in the process at an early age, hoping that they would become lifelong stewards of the wild. When they were tiny, we would have a sitter for the early morning hunts or overnights. Later, we started involving the boys in the meat processing and jerky making. As they got older, our kids began asking to join us on the adventures. Sacrificing a peaceful solo hunt or weekend at the cabin with my man wasn’t the easiest thing for me! Sometimes, “we” were too loud and squirmy and came home with nothing to show for our time in the blind.
However, I knew my kids were gaining priceless experiences and life skills while doing something we all love.
In addition to quality family time, we are teaching our kids that it is a privilege to be able to harvest our own fresh, organic food. I’m grateful for every opportunity to help our kids understand where meat comes from (not just the grocery store!) and the work and sacrifice involved. We field dress and process our own harvest so our boys are learning how to use as much of the animal as possible and the biology of it all.
I love that wild game is a sustainable resource and families that hunt tend to be conservationists and only taking as much as we need. I still laugh about my mom’s rule growing up that “you can only kill it if you’re going to eat it.” She once made my brother cook and consume a squirrel he had shot with his bb gun to drive the point home! You know what though, I tell my kids the same thing, and they have expanded their pallets to include venison, dove, quail, Canadian goose, mountain goat, wild boar, and moose meat.
The experiences are priceless and we are absolutely making family memories on our hunting adventures! A few of my favorites? The pride of Kenan bagging his first spike buck. The celebration and family dinners that follow the harvest. The time Mom’s eight point was bigger than Dad’s. Not to mention the elaborate hunting tales as only our kids can tell them! With deer season kicking off this weekend, we are already planning our next hunting trip!
Does your family hunt? Do your kids eat wild game?