Rattlesnake Creek. Photo credit: Philip Dague

Erin O’Regan White, a yogi, learns to hunt, and weighs the ethics of how her food is sourced in her essay, “The Good Hunt” from Deep Wild Journal: Writing from the Backcountry 2021.

“Safety off. The scope is trained. The crosshairs bisect a patch
behind his shoulder blade. Exhale, then squeeze. The report is as
crisp and honest as a temple bell.

“As easy as breathing out, a life is taken.

“The buck struggles back to his feet for a step, then two, then falls. Back to his feet to discover his shoulder is broken and lung punctured. Down again, up, then down for keeps.

“I am grateful for my true aim and hot bullet, because my hands are shaking too hard to do anything but needless damage with a second shot. His life dissolves rapidly into the big sky, mingling with pine trees and birdsong and the fresh November air.

“By the time we reach him, the soft, glassy eyes stare without seeing. I hand off the rifle to my boyfriend, Philip, and drop to my knees. One hand on the strong, still-hot swoop of the buck’s neck, I look him in the eye and give him my thanks.

“I am astonished by what I’ve just done.

“I am not the most likely hunter. Although I was raised in Montana, my dad and brothers don’t hunt and I didn’t grow up hunting. I’m a middle-class, nearly middle-aged, gun regulation-supporting yogi. Unlike 89% of registered hunters in America, I am decidedly female. I am absolutely not a morning person. I simply don’t fit the macho, gun-toting hunter-dude stereotype, which makes the barrier to entry that much more rigid. Hell, just to find a safety-orange vest in my size with all the features and pockets (and none of the pink), I had to shop in the boys’ section at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

“So why would I learn to hunt as an adult? And how could I begin to reconcile killing animals with the yogic ethics and ethos that have come to shape my life?”

To read the rest of the story, visit deepwildjournal.com/subscribe. Deep Wild Journal is the home for creative work inspired by journeys to places where there are no roads. To read more stories about wild places, order your copy at deepwildjournal.comOur fall sale is happening now! We are also currently open for submissions for our 2022 issue.

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