Ahead of the Game

by Simon Whitehead, UK

At home in England, my world revolves around, like many cultures across the world, being completely absorbed by the life of the quarry that I hunt. Learning to become an integral part of its environment as opposed to an intruder, becoming a student to its teaching of how it operates, how to manage and how best to honour its life by knowing what to do with it once it has been harvested.

My name is Simon Whitehead and I am a traditional rabbit catcher. A rare specimen in the modern technological filled worlds we live in. I implement the old working skills of the countryside that are destined to become a museum piece if we are not careful. I rely on the rabbit in all its guises to feed, cloth and house my family and as I have no safety net like a pest controller that has bugs, rats or other pests to control nor the close season of the recreational rabbiter, I must remain vigilant and adaptable in order to evolve. Charles Darwin (1809) said It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change This gentleman knew a thing or two about evolution and this quote says it all.

Over the course of the farming and sporting calendar, I talk to a lot of people from all walks of life. The sad fact of life is that many of them do not know how to properly respect their harvest by preparing it, sharing it out or eating it themselves. This is the Achilles heel that needs addressing. Across the world in every continent we have so much wild game running about, much of it in environments that would be poorer if it were not for hunting, yet so little is taught about how to truly honour the animal that they are about to harvest. The knowledge or aspirations to learn how to prepare and cook their bounty is a lesson that needs to be taught. A life skill that can be cross pollinated to any meat off any beast large or small, fin, feathered or furred. This sobering thought made Scott and myself realise that what was needed on the bookshelf, in the library and in the kitchen, was a book just like, ‘Ahead of The Game’.

The cornerstone of my chosen quarry, livelihood and passion was of course the need to hunt to eat and survive. Today we live in more affluent times, many of us don’t need to hunt the land, they can hunt the shop shelf instead. That relationship with nature’s bounty has been lost and today, if we are to take the decision to take an animals life it should never be in vain, therefore, utilising the meat that the animal has invested its whole life in producing for food.

We can start making everybody understand just why wild game such as rabbit is good for the body and mind. Educate them into understanding where they can purchase it from. They may not agree with how it got there, that isn’t our gig, our job is to let them see the full and correct factual picture and let them decide for themselves. If they still cannot understand nor agree then we have done out best and yes, sometimes we must agree to disagree.

Our mission is simple. If a culinary delinquent like myself, who lives a busy, crazy lifestyle, can pick up this book, follow the instructions, look at the pictures and successfully prepare and cook a dish for my family, then it has been successful. If I can do it, anybody can; there can be no more excuses, no more taking rabbit and leaving it behind in the fields. To quote the French restauranteur, Fernand Point, “If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.”  

If I am to evolve even further, to continue teaching the world about rabbits, ferrets and how we hunt we of course need a good supply of rabbits. Sadly, that is something everyone tells me is completely out of our hands, or is it?

Buy now from: http://www.awaywithmedia.com