During all of 2015,
I was deployed to Kuwait, an entire year with no hunting or fishing. Besides being away from my wife and kids, who I love with all my heart, this was what I missed the most: the outdoors and the adventure hunting and fishing brings, not to mention the wonderful delicious meat I am able to harvest. But I was stuck in ridiculous heat, eating dry bland chicken.
About half way through the deployment one of our medics sent me a message saying he just received a care package full of venison jerky. Knowing I hunt, he gave me a gallon Ziploc bag full. As I sat in my hooch snacking on it, it reminded me so much of home. I’ll admit I got a little emotional; it was a type of nostalgia I cannot really explain. It took me back to our cabin in West Virginia where I killed my first deer, followed by spending time with my family on my Uncle’s property in southern Ohio. All of my hunting memories were with me. It was more than jerky, it was a quick trip out of the desert and back where I really belong. It was a little slice of home.
It seems a little weird that something as simple as deer jerky would cause such a reaction. I could go to our little PX and buy pounds upon pounds of beef jerky, but it would not come close to the satisfaction I got from that treat my buddy shared with me. I would have never guessed that deer meat and a connection to one’s food would be so strong.
I have been home for a few months now and I have had time to reflect on what wild meat means to me. I have been lucky to kill a deer and fill my freezer with an assortment of small game. The meat truly is the reason I hunt. The time and effort is more than worth it. Because it is more than meat. With every bite you relive the adventure of how it was acquired. You know for a fact where your food came from and how the animal died. Plus you have the satisfaction of knowing that you were able to provide for your family. None of this can be said about a piece of wrapped meat you get from the grocery store.
If you have never hunted it is hard to explain. It is a connection that takes us back to the days of our primal ancestors, where hunting was life or death. I believe that there is still a natural desire for the hunt and a need to fulfill that desire. Meat is the fruit of that labor. It offers a satisfaction that money cannot buy.
I think some people were hoping for a recipe, but all I can remember about the physical taste is that there was definitely rosemary in it.