Every summer, when the nights are still warm but the nip of fall is in the air, we build a long table in our backyard next to our bursting garden and bring our hunting community together.
You see, these are the people that make the hunting season so special. All year we plan for the tags we’ve drawn, hone in our bows and rifles, and scout our units to be ready for the chance to harvest an animal. We obsess about it -- dream about it -- live for it.
Over the years, we’ve forged our bonds during far too early mornings, over missed shots, busted stalks, long recoveries, painful temperatures, pack outs, celebratory whiskeys, amazing meals and food experiments, deep dives into ethics, tears, laughs, you name it.
So for one night before the season opens, we gather -- outdoors, lights strung in trees, untethered by the normal rules of our shelter. This is a good luck feast. A time to honor and enjoy the last remaining wild game in our freezers under an open sky by making an elaborate dish and sharing our hopes for the days in the field ahead.
What follows are the demands of the fall season. Early mornings, long grueling days in the field, and the fulfilled hope and shattered dreams that inherently come with the pursuit of wild animals.
To me, hunting is as much about the pursuit and yield as it is the people you share it with. Each person at this table has been willing to teach me something, let me borrow their gear, has shared their traditions, their table, and made me the hunter I am today.
It's inevitable that we need each other. We show up for each other’s pack outs, share insights into animal’s trends and behaviors, spend hours hiking and tracking to ensure the safe recovery of the animals we pursue and lend a hand when it's time for late night butchering sessions.
Endeavor by endeavor, meal by meal, this is my hunting community. Building one is maybe the most important part of becoming a hunter.
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For this dinner Goal Zero powered the electric pellet grill with a Yeti 1000X, brightened up the yard with Crush Light Chromas, and lined the long table with the Lighthouse 600s giving the backyard a warm and enjoyable ambience.