Last Monday, I had my very first "hunting" experience with a very knowledgeable and talented hunter, Mr. Jurewicz and his dog Jesse.
I know, I know, I didn't even touch a gun or waited out in the cold for 10+ hours. BUT I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to start learning about the hunting culture in Wisconsin. We drove to an open field about 20 minutes west from Verona where we were greeted by a lady who seemed to be the landowner or the manager of the place.
Mr. Jurewicz shared some of his hunting stories with us on the way to the field. One of these was how none of his classmates understood why he would wear a red cap to school during certain days of the year (this was equivalent to the orange cap used today for hunting). He grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee where rarely kids get exposed ‘to the woods’, let alone to the hunting culture. His love and knowledge for hunting started an early age when his dad, a mechanic at the time, made sure that despite his busy schedule they had time to go out and get their food for the upcoming months. Mr. Jurewicz told us he hunted with his dad for 33 years and plans to break that record with his son who also hunts. A good quote from his dad: “you shoot it, you eat it”, came about when as a kid Mr. Jurewicz wanted to shoot a pigeon to practice, he has never killed anything just because (I’m assuming the pigeon tasted horrible?). I sensed that he and his family had strong utilitarian values and also cared deeply for nature.
The area where Mr. Jurewicz took us hunting was closed-off to the public and had pheasants, which where bred by the landowner, running around. After a quick lesson on gun safety and how to walk along side him and Jesse, we started our quest searching for pheasants. I wasn’t sure if Jesse was just running around having fun or actually doing his job of searching, he seemed just happy to be out.
After a long walk, he spotted our first pheasant, it took flight, and shortly- a loud shot. I learned that pheasant hunting dogs are not supposed to chase after the bird when the hunter misses, but Jesse doesn’t follow that rule. He stormed over to where the bird flew and sure enough he scared it again, but this time the shot from the gun got the pheasant as it was in full-flight. I felt sad when I saw the pheasant’s flight interrupted by the bullet, still do, but I am relieved that the meat will be used. It was a great experience overall and, if invited, will definitely do it again.
Ecóloga, Mujer y Puertorriqueña. Sarcástica, pero seria