Unless you're raising your own meat and milk at home, hunting -- despite its brutality -- may be the best way to consume animal products.
It was nearly dark on the last day of my hunt, and I had just shot two does, a mom and her fawn, standing near each other. Mom heard the first gunshot but didn't know where it came from. As she looked toward her fawn, I shot her. After dating my last two doe licenses, I prepared to get to work.
I was more than a mile from my car, and the only way to take out two deer at once is to leave behind everything but the meat. This procedure takes time, and as the setting sun sent the temperature plummeting toward zero, I realized I couldn't find my headlamp. I'd be butchering in the dark. This can be especially treacherous when it's so cold you might not feel knife on hand. Luckily, the heat of the animals kept me warm.
The light disappeared as I was cutting off one of the does' hind legs. My knife nicked her udder, and milk poured out. Before I explain what happened next, two things:
Combine savage hormones with my burgeoning interest in comparative milk, then put me in front of a leaky deer and, well, I decided it was time for a snack.
First, ever since my son was born I've been paying a lot more attention to milk. For the second time in my life I've had the opportunity to sample human breast milk (it didn't do it for me like it used to). Meanwhile, in our search for alternatives to cow milk, which we find leaves a lot to be desired, I've become familiar with sheep and goat milk. And I've heard good things about camel milk, though I've yet to try it.
The other thing is that when you're pumped full of adrenaline and hunting endorphins -- I call them savage hormones -- you can enter a primal, wild space where you sometimes do things you might not normally do, like squeeze turds between your fingers to see how fresh they are. When you're cutting up an animal, your adrenaline is still peaking from the hunt, and the carnage can turn you into more of an animal than you already are. Many hunters encourage newbies to eat the raw heart of their first kill. Thanks to savage hormones, they often do.
Combine savage hormones with my burgeoning interest in comparative milk, then put me in front of a leaky deer and, well, I decided it was time for a snack. By the light of my cell phone I could see that the milk was pure white, not pink with blood. I leaned in and took a slurp from the lacerated udder. It was good. Really good. Even better than sheep's milk, which was previously my favorite. It was so good that I collected some in a clean Ziploc bag to take home for the kid.