Let’s face it – the DIY train arrived 10 years ago and they want their pickles back.
You broke serious ground when you distilled your homegrown potatoes and sold your hand-felted hats online, and that one time you ironically played the harpsichord at that dive bar was great. But now mason jars are at Pier 51 beside the scented candles and all you can do is descend further into the hipster abyss or claw your way out, one pleated pair of khakis at a time.
But perhaps we don’t have to pick between pretending we’re historical pioneers and tucking our golf shirts into our cuffed pants. Maybe the solution is to consider why we began fermenting, sewing, foraging, and generally going back to the basics in the first place.
We choose to DIY because it’s good for us, our community, and the environment. It’s unique and high quality. It’s supporting small-scale artisans, not big box corporations. Most of all, it’s fun.
So, what’s next? How do we push forward, craft harder, and truly create sustainable, exceptional, and inimitable lifestyles that lets us live according to our integrity?
The first thing you’ll probably do is drop the packaged chicken and pick up a really, really big gun.
Hunting is quickly becoming popular with urbanites looking to take the back-to-the-basics approach one step further, whether it is for their principles or for their stomachs. While mainstream hunting has never fully disappeared, especially in rural areas, there is an entirely new demographic entering the practice.
Preconceived notions of hunters may look like Looney Tunes’ Elmer Fudd but in reality, expanding numbers of them are young, well-educated, politically liberal, and increasingly female. This trend is immediately apparent when you take an EatWild class and find yourself surrounded by the same people who were with you at the experimental gallery opening the night before.
Though making your own organic cheese and disemboweling an animal are undeniably different, the fundamental reasoning behind doing both are comparable. Making cheese and eating wild game are enjoyable and delicious. Hunting is local, all-natural, and eliminates the ecological harm and cruelty of factory farming. Organic dairy products are better for you and cheese doesn’t have feelings.
For many people, hunting is the next logical step of the DIY lifestyle. When you harvest wild game, you are literally doing-it-yourself. Hiking, carrying gear, stalking, and taking the shot are only the beginning. As all hunters know, the real work begins after because that 60 pounds of deer won’t haul itself back to the truck. You are earning your next meal in a very real, tangible way and it does feel more honest.
Because hunting is better, ethically speaking. Eating wild game is a natural progression for vegetable-growing, chicken-raising locavores who support farm-to-table dining. For more and more people, staying true to your beliefs means hunting.
Other adventurers simply begin because they appreciate the taste of wild game. Venison, grouse, quail, goose, duck, and other game species are all available in the Pacific Northwest and they’re all incredible tasting. It’s also ordinarily illegal to sell game within the province or territory it was collected in (http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/wild-about-game/). That means daring eaters have little choice but to start hunting or find someone willing to part with their hard-won harvest.
Of course, hunting is not for everyone. The reality is that it’s an expensive practice that isn’t widely accessible. The gear is costly, travel isn’t cheap, and hunting and gun licenses aren’t free. Investing your money, resources, and time also does not guarantee a great hunt. It’s entirely possible to pour hundreds of dollars into it without ever seeing a deer. But preparation and perseverance are key to success, as long as they’re combined with knowledge readily available through EatWild and the Internet.
If you’re after the next big thing, hunting is it. Some aspects like the clothes haven’t been updated with the changing times but when they are, I’ll be first in line for the camouflage skinny jeans.