So, I’ve been getting some great email updates from readers harvesting thier first animals – the stories are really fun to hear. Laura Benjamin got a very nice Thanksgiving present this year with her first muley! She took him on a hunt near Craig, Colo., and she writes about him, her first elk, and the reasons she started hunting in the first place (despite the fact that she’s a self-described “girly girl”) at her blog . Just to give you an idea, here’s what she says about her initial interest in the sport:

I believe we’ve done ourselves a disservice by distancing ourselves from the lives our grandparents andLaurasfirstbucknov07_2 parents lived when they had to put food on the table the old fashioned way. Nowadays if the electricity goes out and the grocery store isn’t restocked, most people are frantic. We’ve lost the ability to be self-sufficient. We rely too much on electronic and digital gadgets to make our lives comfortable. Hunting is a way to engage that self-sufficient gene.

Just before that email from Laura, reader NorCal Cazadora wrote about her first pheasant, which she took near Sacramento, Calif., and talks about on her own blog . I, for one, got a kick out of her cat’s reaction to the kill:

The best part was when I got home. I spotted our outdoor cat, Giblet, who’s been known to take outPheasant0720071110 scrub jays for kicks, and I thought, Hey, she’ll LOVE this! So I brought it out to her to show off MY hunting. And she absolutely freaked out. Wouldn’t go near the bird at all. Looked on from about five feet away. Seemed relieved when I took it back in the house. HA! You’ve got to love the role reversal, dontcha? Isn’t it usually the cat who wants to show off the caracass to the human, and the human who wants nothing to do with it?

Congrats to all who’ve gotten their first, second, or any number of harvests so far this season. For anyone still with an empty freezer, congrats just on being out there – it’s the doing not the getting that makes the experience worthwhile. –K.H.