“Isn’t there something that tastes this good, but isn’t groundhog?”, asked Mariner. The groundhog stew was in a small serving dish set to the side of our regular dinner plates. It was within easy reach, but also far enough way to be ignored if it came to that.
None of us had ever eaten groundhog before, and we were, well,. cautious. I would have liked to have felt braver, having inclinations toward wilderness living, but I realized I was experiencing yet another example of ambiguity and contradiction.
Two days ago the woodchuck was alive and living underground, under a field of clover planted to encourage and study native pollinators. Our friend Eric, the scientist monitoring the project, discovered the squatter, who, in eating all the clover in the plot threatened the research Eric needs to complete his master’s thesis. After repeated attempts to take him alive in a Have-A -Heart trap, Eric took the cold blooded way out and put a bullet through the woodchuck’s head. He dressed the critter out, took him home in a five gallon pail with some ice, and two days later presented us with a canning jar of groundhog stew.
I admit we procrastinated a couple of days before placing the stew on the menu. It felt a little like watching a horror movie through your fingers, though I’ve never done that. I have now, though, eaten woodchuck, and I can report it did taste very good. There are other things that taste as good, lots of things. Maybe just about everything you can think of. However, there’s nothing quite like having groundhog stuck in your teeth.