Need to know how to involve yourself in a hunt without actually killing anything? Read on...
So, you've married a hunter, but you're not a hunter yourself. Don't worry about it! Here are some great ways to get involved even if you know absolutely nothing about hunting.
Help set up and take down
As any hunter knows, preparing for the season is no small thing. A hunt requires patience, time, and often a great deal of work. If your husband plans to camp out for the weekend, help him set up the RV or the tent. If his hunt requires additional equipment, help him to set up his stands and feeders. While these jobs are often possible for just one person, they become a great deal easier and more enjoyable with company.
Practice with him
Sometimes, there's no better way to encourage a hunter than to go out and keep him company. If your husband is planning to practice at the range or with his bow, go with him. Try it out for yourself. Even if you don't ultimately plan to join him on the hunt, you can still turn something as routine as target practice into a fun experience that will get you both excited for the season.
Washing in non-scent soap
One of the most vital things a hunter can do is hide his scent, and the process of doing so often starts at home. If you're in charge of laundry, wash his hunting clothes in scent free soap. This small thing could be the difference between a successful hunt and him coming home empty handed. There are a number of brands for scent-free detergents out there, but you can always try a more cost-effective solution of making your own. Just look up a recipe for scent-eliminators made from water, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and soap.
Help haul the game
If you don't mind getting a little dirty, one huge way to help out would be to help your husband haul in his game. This may not be necessary if he's just taken down some ducks or doves, but if it's a boar or a deer, odds are good an extra pair of hands will be needed to bring it home.
Help prepare and package the meat
Once the meat is home, something has to be done with it, unless you want a dead deer sitting in your deep freezer until next hunting season. The preparation takes on a different form depending on the type of game you have to work with. If your husband has brought home any sort of fowl, you may find yourself plucking feathers. Small game like rabbits could require skinning. If you're working with a deer or an elk, you may find yourself boiling the antlers to preserve them (and possible create valuable tools your husband can use on the next hunt). You can cut up the meat, purchase the necessary paper and tape to package it, label it, and find room for it in your freezer. You may want to take the kill to a taxidermist for a wall mount, or a tanner to prepare the fur, or a meat market for sausage. The preparation of the meat is perhaps the most involved way for you to help out, and though it's a lot of work, it's always worth it.
This almost goes without saying. The best way for you to help out is to learn how to use the meat once it's been properly packaged. You can fry it, grill it, bake it, whatever you like. Just as long as it tastes great! For starters, take a look at some of our favorite venison tenderloin recipes.
The most important thing the spouse of a hunter can do is encourage. In this, I can cite personal experience.
My mother married my father over twenty five years ago. At that time, she did not like venison or fish. She hated muck and sweat, and couldn't stand the idea of sitting out in a cold stand for hours, just for the chance to maybe kill a wild animal. At the same time, she saw that my dad enjoyed it. So she encouraged him. She never once complained about him spending too much time or money on the outdoors. If anything, she told him he ought to do it more often, because she could see how relaxed and happy he was at the end of a successful weekend. Now, years later, she is as involved in the year-round planning as my father is.