I am not a hunter.

A couple of weeks ago I was awakened by the sounds of shotguns, and I realized it was, once again, that time of the year.

And, once again, I had a touch of envy and, also, pity.

I grew up hunting pheasants, quails, squirrels and rabbits so I’m not a stranger to the process but, at one point in my formative years, something began to bother me. That something was the end result of hunting — the ending of a life.

We hosted a number of hunters on our farm every year and I enjoyed the camaraderie and the hiking through our fields. It was an upbeat, fun time and I learned very early that hunting was a sport and we never wasted our results of the sport. We ate them.

But then that “something” begin to bother me. Let it make it very clear that the “something” doesn’t make me better than anyone else and there’s no judging of anyone in my statements. As a matter of fact, I kind of envy those sports people who like their hunting.

However, I do feel some pity for the prey and at that long ago moment, I asked myself why I was ending the life of an animal that hadn’t done anything negative to me.

That long ago moment was when I was rabbit hunting with my cousin. He had to shoot a rabbit — it was his passion. As we walked through a field, a rabbit jumped up in front of us and my cousin took the first shot and wounded the animal. He yelled at me to shoot it again, and, after a short pause, I did so. He was overjoyed with the result and I ended my hunting career that day.

Again, this is not a criticism of hunting — there are many reasons to hunt including animal and disease control, land management and I support these reasons. It’s a sport that teaches many lessons in life such as gun safety and handling, teamwork and stewardship. I applaud those who can hunt and do so safely and lawfully.

Today I prefer to hunt in other ways.

I like to hunt for new places to visit. To discover a walking path not taken before and to find a new stranger who just may become a friend. It’s satisfying when I can hunt for a way to serve another person and help them fulfill their destiny. And, of course, there’s that hunting for a new tasting adventure commonly known as sipping a new wine.

Notice how I slipped in that wine reference It’s similar to walking during a bird hunt and you hope a bird jumps up in front of you but when will it happen? Similarly, when will that untasted bottle of wine appear?

I had heard about Round Lake Vineyards & Winery’s The Gander and I was hunting for a bottle of it when it suddenly appeared before me. It’s an award winning wine and I was excited to taste it. I wasn’t disappointed.

With its flavorful blending of Marquette, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, it’s delicious. The tartness of the Marquette is primary but the mellowness of the Merlot and the full body of the Cabernet Sauvignon comes together masterfully. The hunt was worth the wait.

As we all know, in the animal kingdom, there are predators — those animals that prey on others for their meals. I recently had a Predator that wasn’t looking to do anything but please me.

Grown and bottled by Predator Wines from California, Predator is a very good blended wine. It’s made from Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Malbec grapes and it will dominate your conversation. The full body of the wine comes from the Malbec with its hardiness and dominant black cherry taste. However, the other two grape varietals cannot be missed and they contribute a noticeable spicy taste that completes the wine.

When it comes to an Italian wine, I don’t have to go much farther than Tuscany. The terroir of the area lends itself to very good wines and Toscana Sangiovese doesn’t disappoint. This delicious red is perfect with pasta and its easy tasting red fruit taste combined with its long finish is so pleasant.

At the end of the day/hunt, it’s always necessary to sit back and reflect on the happenings of the day. Why not try a bottle of Mommy’s Time Out Prosecco? It’s an Italian wine that is softly acidic and its tiny bubbles will help you celebrate the hits and misses of the pass few hours.

No, I’m not a hunter but many of you are and we should celebrate together. So what if the hunter wants a hardy red blended wine and I want a Moscato? Wine will bring us together — as it has for centuries.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!



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