Mulling things on my morning ramble
with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
Buck of the Week goes to the heart of what I do.
And by Buck of the Week, I mean both the original BOTW feature during hunting season, usually from November into January, celebrating big bucks bagged by hunters; and BOTW: Unplugged, the celebration of live big bucks around Chicago outdoors, which began as an idea from Bill Peak in the fall of 2009.
That split between nature viewed in the city and suburbs and the outdoors as experienced by hunting is the very essence of what I have tried to do for 15 years as the outdoors columnist for the Sun-Times.
It's a process, probably a never-ending one, of trying to divide the meaning of nature and the outdoors as a viewing experience in the city and suburbs and the more hands on experience of hunting in more rural areas. Fishing in Chicago I think brings that gap between observation and participation.
What got me thinking about this in the last week or so was the BOTW: Unplugged nomination sent by Karl Scherer. I used it this week. He photographed four 10-point bucks (the kind of things that we as deer hunters wake up dreaming about) with several other bucks and does on the Northwest Side on July 30.
At the end of his e-mail, he sent added this paragraph:
Note: I cautiously used the term big game as game may imply that the animal can be hunted. While I am an avid deer hunter, I would be the first to take action against anyone poaching these animals.
I think that catches the difference in the outdoor experience many of us who hunt and fish experience in modern America, a modern America moved (literally) far away from the rural experience.
That has changed dramatically our direct relationship to nature, and how it is experienced.
And it's not going to change back.