Let's be honest with ourselves when it comes to the act of hunting and harvesting a wild animal. The instinct to hunt is so deeply encoded into our genetics, that whether or not we realize it, the process of tracking, shooting, and eating meat is second nature. Not long ago, the skills required to be a successful hunter was the difference between survival and starvation. Thousands of generations before us worked to master these skills and through natural selection those who become master hunters reproduced, whereas others did not.
As a species, the single most important evolutionary catalyst was our dietary transition from forager to hunter & gatherer. Through our ability to harvest wild game meat, our ancestors secured steady sources of nutrient rich foods, healthy fats, and vital proteins. No matter what your dietary preference is today, it's important to recognize that YOU would not exist if your forefathers were not skilled hunters.
I consider myself like many of you when it comes to hunting. I'm not opposed to it, but I'm also not very familiar with it. I grew up in the city, my parents were not hunters, and we bought meat from the grocery store. To be honest, I have always had a negative stereotype of modern hunters as being hillbillies that shoot corn fed deer while drinking beers inside a blind. There was nothing aspirational about my perception of hunting culture, and I was content spending my weekends exploring the outdoors through running, cycling, and camping.
It wasn't until I started eating paleo that my perception of hunting dramatically changed. Since reintroducing meat into my diet, I have considered myself to be a conscious carnivore. I love knowing the source of my food, how animals are raised, and how land is managed. I have visited slaughter plants with the sole intention to gain a better understanding of livestock's lifecycle and see the last moments of a healthy animals existence. I believe that all carnivores should experience this, as it is often the missing link between the pastured animal we imagine and the delicious steak on your plate. Watching a living animal die for the purpose of your own consumption leads to a sense of overwhelming gratefulness and a desire to honor and utilize the entire creature.
On what will likely be one of the most EPIC adventures of my life, I am heading into the Colorado wilderness for 5 days with the intention to hunt elk. I will be joined by our Director of Operations (Kirk Blanchard) and a long time friend and colleague Brad Probst. Both Kirk and Brad are seasoned bow hunters who have a unique appreciation for nature and a deep respect for the meat they feed their families. Although the final objective of our trip is to bring home food, the purpose is much deeper. We aim to ground ourselves physically and spiritually through immersion in nature. Connecting with a much larger world, we hope to activate deeply encoded genetics that heighten our own instinct and share a powerful experience that was the evolutionary foundation for our current existence. We embark on this journey with mindfulness, gratitude, and a desire to be compassionate carnivores. Here is our story...