Learn about the mental challenges of boar hunting! Mysterious itching and infinite patience in the deep, dark, German forest.
"Hunting season is coming to an end so I’m going on one last big game hunt in Germany. I’ll be hunting deer, boar, and other large mammals with Sjoerd Evenhuis, a young guy who runs “Wild van Wild,” a company that turns wild animals into charcuterie, stews, and other delicacies and delivers them to high-end restaurants and stores in Amsterdam. Sjoerd is the first hunter I’ve met from my generation in Amsterdam. As I’ve mentioned before, hunting in Holland is hardly an urban (or youthful) affair, so it’s a rare pleasure to meet someone like him. And just like me, he’s in it for the food. We’ll be hunting with a group of about twenty hunters at his regular spot in the Eifel region, a five hour drive from home, where the hills are rolling and the forest is dark. ... "
"In the Netherlands, hunting isn’t all that common. Growing up in the city, I had always thought hunting was something that happened in a Grimm brothers’ tale: something mythical that didn’t exist anymore. In past decades, hunting has been vehemently opposed in the Netherlands—so much so that it’s currently facing further threat by severely restrictive laws that could be passed at any moment. Even though a mere 4 percent of the US population hunts—as opposed to 2 percent of the Dutch population—they have a loud and unapologetic attitude that’s enthusiastically flaunted in TV shows, magazines, and advertising. In my experience, American hunters are hardly afraid of bad press, and are generally very willing to be photographed. ... "
Germany, part 2: the finer points of the German hunting tradition explained, and how handling deer penis lead to the worst hangover of a lifetime.
"We tear back to the farm and Sjoerd mentions that he has received a text from his friend, who is stationed in a blind a couple of fields over. According to the text, Franz Joseph is down—”a joke, obviously,” he says. Finishing a hunt in a matter of 15 minutes rarely occurs, and we can hardly believe it just happened to us. But as we drive past his hunting blind, we notice the hunter’s car is gone. Why would he leave so soon if he hadn’t shot anything? And who is Franz Joseph anyway? When we get to the farm, we pull up to the garage. Every hunter is gathered around an enormous body suspended from the ceiling. The neck and head are draped on the floor while gargantuan antlers jut out across the room. Today was Franz Joseph’s last day. ... "
"When I first began photographing hunters and they offered to share their catch, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the freshly killed meat. I didn’t even really like game–I would have picked a spicy bowl of pho over venison any day, yet I was determined to turn it into something delicious. I read cookbooks from a variety of cultures, and I discovered that game does not need to taste like your grandmother’s socks; it can be so much more than Christmas dinner. ... "