May 2020 News/Columns

Corona Virus: Food for Thought

CrappieNOW Editor Richard Simms has always pursued wild game and fish mostly for the thrill of the hunt. But the Corona Virus Crisis made him realize the possibility, however remote, that for the first time in modern-day history, the time could come when people must hunt and fish for food. (Photo: Richard Simms)

 

Corona Virus: Food for Thought

An Editorial Opinion

by CrappieNow Editor Richard Simms

The Corona Virus hit home for me in a unique way in April as the crisis was worsening in my part of Tennessee. For the first time in all of my 65 years I thought, “Yea, I need to hoard some crappie filets.”

I have hunted and fished all my life. But I have never done so primarily for the purpose of gathering food. Sure, I have always considered fresh wild game or fresh fish an excellent benefit of my hunting and fishing. However, I have always been very honest, knowing that the primary drive was my love of the hunt – the joy of pursuit and developing the skills to harvest wild game or fish. Food for the freezer was simply a secondary benefit.

But as a professional fishing guide, I had clients (prior to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s April mandatory “Stay at Home” order) that wanted to go crappie fishing, but they told me they had no interest in taking any fish home. They said they just wanted to fish for fun and I was welcome to keep any fish we caught.

My immediate thought was, “Sure, who knows what’s going to happen in the coming days or weeks. Having some more fish filets stockpiled would probably be a good idea.”

Don’t get me wrong. While the Corona Virus Crisis is bad enough, I am not expecting our society to fall into complete chaos, bringing riots, looting and totally empty store shelves.

But like most people (the honest ones anyway), I won’t deny a tiny twinge of fear. Not just of catching the virus, but of the potential inability to pop down to the grocery store and buy whatever we want or need. Before this crisis who would have ever thought that store shelves would be emptied of toilet paper.

For the first time in my life I became fully aware of the possibility that hunting and fishing could become a necessity – admittedly an extremely slim possibility – but a possibility nonetheless.

At this writing, my wife and I just finished filleting and freezing a healthy supply of crappie to add to our larder, along with a wild turkey a friend harvested and offered to me.

Again I emphasize – in no way, shape or form am I predicting or envisioning the need – but I do know that those of us with the willingness and the ability to get blood on our boots, harvesting what we eat by our own hand, might feel just a little bit safer than those who cannot.

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