Interesting information on the growth of hunting in America, over all there have been some large movements in the self sufficient community. In 2007, the New Oxford American Dictionary selected locavore as the “Word of the Year.” “individuals who go afield for reasons of self-sufficiency and a desire for organic, local, chemical-free meat.” as explained by the Responsive Management (http://www.responsivemanagement.com/download/reports/Hunt_Fish_Increase_Report.pdf) a report conducted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Southwhick Associates. In this excellent article written by Ben O’Brien, Steven Rinella, Andrew Zimmern, and Georgia Pellegrini weigh in on why hunting is such and important part of our culture. Hunting is on the rise in America, check out the links for some great information on the benefits of this lifestyle.
Hunting to many Alaskas means red meat for the freezer, enough meat to get a family through the winter. Across Alaska many residents practice the art handed down by our ancestors and the cave men before that, the not-so lost art form called subsistence hunting. Each Fall locals from around the state leave the comfort of there homes and thrust themselves into the wild attempting to fill the freezer against all odds.
When your an Alaskan and attempting to fill your freezer, any animal deemed by ADFG (Alaska Department of Fish and Game)as legal under the states rules and regulations most likely will be harvested. As Alaskan subsistence hunter August Manelick would say “a legal spike for moose will taste just as good if not better than a trophy moose.” I agree with August in that the goal of hunting is first and foremost to be legal and secondly to fill your freezer. All though most hunters (including August and myself) will agree that a 55 inch trophy bull moose would look better on the wall and in the freezer than a spike fork (small legal yearling bull moose) would.
The goal of hunting is to fill your freezer and provide sustenance for the long winter months. Taking a trophy animal is a bonus, providing in a sense two trophies the meat and the antlers. The meat of an animal is the true trophy, don’t let anyone tell you different. The hunt is about the experience, camaraderie, and the stories shared with loved ones post hunt. The harvest of the hunt is a physical representation of the memories made while in the field, regardless of the animals antler size. Any legal animal is a gift, take your blessings and eat plentifully through out the following year.
Bottom line, there is a big difference between trophy hunting and subsistence hunting. Trophy hunting individuals hunt usually for just the size of the antlers, bigger is always better. Subsistence hunters hunt for the meat value of an animal. Two very different ball games, playing by the same rules.