Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hunters OR Gatherers? pros and cons

     Most people assume in primitive cultures, especially in Native America, that the hunters were the glorious feeders of the family.  

     The hunter's were made to look good in Hollywood, and rarely was there any film glorifying the gatherers. 
     While hunting surely honed the skills of a warrior for blood battle, it was both energy and time consuming.  Hunting depends on the skills of traveling mostly on foot over long distances focusing on a single goal, reading sign of game and exercising the deployment of the weapon.  Doesn't matter to me if it is a bow or a rifle, the weapon skill is the final skill needed in hunting, not the first and not the most important.  Finding the game, following the game while not becoming game is more important that the final shot.     

     A bit of a warning to those honing hunting skills only.  You are not the only one thinking hunting will feed the group.  After days of hunting with no kill to feed the family, hunters may employ those same skills to take food from others.  Hunters can turn into marauders, depending on their point of view and level of hunger.

     Here in Florida, we have a limited hunting season.  We can fish year round, but in  a crunch, too many people will be on the banks of too little water to support them, fighting over what they can reel in.  A knowledge of edible plants, roots and herbs as well as the vegetables already in the garden, can keep you alive and out of the woods full of gangbangers with Saturday night specials hunting animals they don't know how to clean or cook properly.   

     The truth is, the gatherers provided 80% of the food consumed by the group.  Gatherers were just as attuned to the seasons as the game followers.  They knew what was growing, what was edible, nutritional values and where food could be found. 
     They knew how to get to food and they did just that while raising their young close to their camps keeping a secure perimeter while the hunters went off for meat.   

     Gathering was more than just wandering through the woods randomly finding an egg in a nest. When you find a nest with fresh young eggs without too much bird in them, I imagine it would bring a smile to you but, it is no Easter egg hunt.  If the goal is to gather wild eggs, a gatherer may bring back seeds, nuts, roots, medicine herbs, and/or berries.  The focus to gathering is not to find the one game target.  The goal is to find and return with good healthy life preserving foods and medicines.  

     Just to bring the point home....the muscadine jelly that was such a big hit in the family came from wild vines on son number 2's property.  Gathering wild fruits and preserving them may not be as glorious as hunting big game and winning, but it feeds the body just as well.   I don't know what's growing wild in your backyard, so pick up some books on the subject and get outside!  It's year round open season on wild fruits, vegetables, herbs and mushrooms.  Get some in your diet.  If you don't know what to do with the things that grow wild, look up the Paleo diet or get a foraging manual with good instructions on storing and cooking the food you can find.  

All these books are available at Amazon



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