I’m from South Louisiana, so hunting and fishing have always been big hobbies of mine. Everything about sporting makes me happy: being in nature, the thrill of the hunt, hanging a big fish, and the family meal times spent cooking and eating the fare we have caught or bagged. Hunting and fishing are very peaceful and relaxing for me. I get so excited about going that I tend to lose sleep the night before like the little boy from the Disney world commercial. Being able to live off of the land just completes me as a Southerner.
Hunting is an adrenaline-filled sport. I can still remember the first deer that I killed. The anticipation was almost overwhelming when it walked out into the shooting lane. Your heart starts to beat rapidly, your breathing gets irregular, sweat may even sprout up in 30-degree weather and your vision tends to blur a little while looking through the scope. Sound exciting? It definitely is, knowing that you are about to stock the freezer with enough meat to last 6 months. Then the shot, almost deafening, is a release of all of that adrenaline at once. When the smoke clears and you see that you were successful, the feeling is almost priceless.
I took my son hunting for the first time when he was six. Sitting in the stand before sunrise was the quietest I had ever seen him. We patiently waited until the sun came up, freezing in the 38° weather, to be able to see down the shooting lanes. About 1 hour after the sun came up an 8-point buck came out to eat corn. My heart immediately started racing and my son was able to get out of the noisiest chair I have ever heard without making a sound to see the deer. I raised my rifle, my son placed his hands over his ears and at the perfect moment for a clean shot, I took it. The deer fell, my son jumped with excitement and we made a memory that no one will ever be able to take from us. As we walked to get my jeep to haul deer out of the woods, my son was so excited about the deer we got that he couldn’t even feel his teeth chattering from the cold. That deer stocked the freezer for 6 months.
Fishing, on the other hand, is also an adrenaline sport, but more relaxing than anything. The boat ride through the beautiful waterways that God made for us, the sitting back relaxing, and finally the thrill of that tug when that fish takes the bait. The fight from the fish is where the adrenaline lies in fishing. The first time I went fishing was definitely a learning experience. My father told me to take the rod and reel, hold it a certain way, press down the button, draw it back over your head and throw it. Well, that is exactly what I did. As he looked back at me after he heard a splash, he realized that I did not have a pole in my hand anymore. Instead, it was at the bottom of the canal we were fishing at because I threw it like he told me. It was a learning experience for both of us. Fortunately for me, I now knew how to word it when I told my son for the first time.
When it comes to cooking all of the fare we hunt and catch, most of the time simple is better. Louisiana, I would say, has one of the widest ranges of offerings from hunting and fishing that I know of. Anywhere from Whitetail deer, squirrel, and rabbit to hunt and Largemouth Bass, Bream, Redfish, Speckled Trout and Sacalait to fish. All of these items have distinct flavors and textures that set them apart and should be treated with respect. I am happy to call Louisiana my home and feel blessed to have all of this at my fingertips.