Cowgirl Sass & Savvy: Camo and ammo up!

Julie Carter is a New Mexico writer and author whose column appears weekly on Rio Grande Digital.

Julie Carter

Something about the cool fall air that brings out the plaid jackets, crockpot recipes and the smell of cedar burning in a wood stove. It is also Mother Nature’s call-of-the-wild to the world of hunters.

The primal instinct to hunt and kill “a little winter meat” as it is said around here, rises up like sap in a maple tree. It is one of the few things I can think of that brings out in men the same stalk, kill and drag-it-home instinct now as it did in the days of cave men.

Die-hard hunters look offended if you ask them, “You going hunting this year?”  In their minds it is a national holiday and they really do believe that. Hunting season is marked on the calendar before anything else for the year.

Of course they are going hunting. Any more silly questions?

I’ve known men to quit a job in order to have the time off to go hunting. Another who would injure himself just enough to qualify for some paid time off which, of course, he used to go hunting.  It is an addiction gone Neanderthal.

Good help is hard to find if you are working the real-man, hunter-type of guys. They have their priorities.

There was a time when hunting kept food on the table, whether the table was a rock in a cave or crudely built slab table in a log cabin.  However, today the cost of the sport far outweighs any justification said hunter can ever give you for the little dab of meat he may or may not salvage from what he killed.

Today it is big business, as in mega-bucks, depended-upon income for an entire industry that has been built around it.

Between the hunters who come to hunt on their own and the guides and outfitters who bring in even more from geographical locations further away, hunting draws income to the coffers of businesses from one end of town to other.  Just try elbowing your way through the camouflaged shoppers at Wal-Mart just before or during a hunt.

Signs announcing the sale of licenses, food and beer flash up and down the streets and often free meals are offered to the hunters by grateful merchants. One fella said he spent $200 in gas driving from burg to burg to take part in the good deal on meals. He wasn’t a hunter, just an eater.

The motels and restaurants are a sea of camouflage. As one local commented when he went into the grocery store to get a loaf of bread and the line was long with hunters, “I decided it was faster to go home and make biscuits.”

I grew up in a family of hunters. We lived in the mountains, so the hunters hunted early in the mornings, did a days work, squeezed in some hunting before sundown and slept in their own beds each night. It was a generational skill passed on from the days of needing that “winter meat.”

My grandmother used to laugh when the hunters would come home empty handed, telling tales of the big tracks they saw but no elk. “Well I guess we’ll just cook up some track soup,” she would say.

One of the best things that has evolved over the years in this hunting deal is now the women can and do say “you killed it, you clean it.” No Wilma Flintstone dresses hanging around this outfit.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.comVisit her website at

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