Gratitude and Google bots

Looking back over this blog’s first six months, I notice three items that need tending.

Photo by Steve Wright

First, a postscript to the loss of my friend Steve’s French Brittany, Kate: He brought home her two-month-old niece this past Friday. Cath and I got to meet her yesterday. Yes, she is as sweet and silky soft as she looks.

Second, some acknowledgments are in order. My thanks:

As a first step in paying things forward, I encourage you to check out Tamar Haspel’s delightful blog Starving Off the Land, if you haven’t already. Two years ago, Tamar and her husband relocated from Manhattan to Cape Cod. Their goal in 2009 was, every day, to eat one thing they had grown, fished, hunted, or gathered.

This fall will be Tamar’s first deer hunt. Having hunted deer on the Cape in my first season—with my hunting mentor, my Uncle Mark—I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes for Tamar. I wish her more success than I had my first year. Or my second. Or my third.

Finally, about those scavenging Google bots. As anyone with a blog or website knows, they send visitors in hundreds of wacky ways. I’d like to share a few favorite searches that led folks here over the past six months:

  • “Are elf owls carnivores or vegetarians?” – Carnivores, if you count insects as carne. The swift, stealthy, typically nocturnal hunting habits of an owl would be wasted on vegetables, don’t you think?
  • “Does prey suffer while being swallowed?” – If the suppositions of this blog’s readers are correct, that depends on the amount of euphoric neurotoxin involved.
  • “Wild animals have no lace in the 21st century…” – I hope this was a typo and you meant “place.” If not, where can I read more about their use of fancy clothing and lingerie in previous centuries?

    Photo by Carl Brandon
  • “Physics involved car hitting moose” – The physics involved are very, very bad. See photo at right. At highway speed, this is the best-case scenario.
  • “Is hitting a moose in a car worse than hitting a pig?” – Yes. Much worse. Unless the pig is on stilts and, like a bull moose, weighs nearly as much as a Volkswagen Beetle. See physics inquiry above and photo at right.

© 2010 Tovar Cerulli


  1. Casey Harn says:

    For only being around for 6 months, this blog sure gets a lot of attention – and well deserved. The topics you post about are thought provoking and hit spots that need talking about. Congrats and hang in there!!

    Thank you for the link to Starving Off The Land – looks good.

  2. Tovar, it’s been such a pleasure to have you in the community of food/hunting bloggers. Your very presence and the readers you attract have elevated the discourse, which is a delight.

  3. kmurray says:

    I love the Google Bot bit! That is just laugh out loud funny in every way, but I don’t know about the vision I got of a cow moose standing in her lacy ensemble!

    I also want to say that it was absolutely my pleasure mentioning your blog on mine. I’ve got a whole new outlook on my place here on earth and how being here impacts the rest of the inhabitants I share her with. I also look at everything I stick in my mouth, as well as the mouths of my family, in a whole new light. So I thank you, dear sir, for opening my eyes to a whole new light.


  4. Cork Graham says:

    Your friend Steve is a lucky man, Tovar. I can’t say enough about Brittanies these days–always thought the Chesapeake Bay retriever I was gifted when I was a subsistence hunter/angler in Alaska was the end all bird dog and best friend–when he passed in 2000, I never thought I’d get over it to get another dog…The question now is to see how many pheasants we can whittle down before next season….quite a few pheasant recipes we’ll be releasing this summer: all birds all pointed by my new 2-year-old American Brittany.

    Was just chatting with Hank Shaw last week and seems as Clarissa Dickson Wright (the living half of the “Two Fat Ladies”), who’s “The Game Cookbook” I’ll be reviewing this coming week, said: “If you have pheasant, you often have a lot of them”…especially with a Brittany, American or French!

    …Ziggy’s fast asleep near my feet at this moment as I work on getting my new spy novel to my agent in time…great dog for the field and a quick adapt to a relaxed home environment.

  5. BTW, Tovar — Great that you linked to Lierre Keith’s “The Vegetarian Myth”. I’m just appalled at what she had to go through on that wacky diet! Will be interviewing her for Cork’s Outdoors Radio in the next three weeks as soon as I’m done reading her book for the review. Everyone who even thinks of starting a vegetarian diet needs to read her book to get a full understanding of human chemistry and anatomy…and how vegetarian diets/economies actually don’t lead to “saving the planet”…what if we didn’t plant wheat throughout the Midwest and left the American bison alone…?

    Kudos for putting a prominent link to her site!

  6. Tovar says:

    Casey: Thanks. I think you’ll enjoy Tamar’s site, too.

    NorCal: Thanks, Holly. Your company has been great and you’ve helped provide a wonderful welcome.

    Kari: If I ever see a moose in lace, I’m calling Fish and Wildlife to report wildlife abuse! It’s wonderful to hear that my stories and musings have played some part in helping you see things from a different angle.

    Cork: I have no bird hunting experience, but have heard fine things about Brittanies. Yes, Keith had a rough time as a vegan; thankfully, I did pretty well on that diet, though I do find my health is better now.

  7. Mungo says:

    Yours is one of my favourite blogs that I’ve stumbled across in a long time. Having been a butcher, and being a camper and naturalist, I really appreciate your seemingly unique balanced approach and ethical position on hunting.



  8. Bill Koury says:


    You definitely have brought a few different angles to thinking about hunting, wildlife and what we call “food” to my thinking. Thanks.

    BTW, I knew Steve’s Kate. She’s was lively and pretty. The new pup looks like a real cutie and will no doubt be a terrific grouse finder too. (‘Course I love Brits, so…)

    As for the question, “Is hitting a moose in a car worse than hitting a pig?” No, hitting either is equally abusive and neither should be in a car anyway.

  9. Tovar says:

    Mungo: I’m glad you enjoy the blog. And thanks again for the listing on your blog roll.

    SBW: Thanks, my friend.

    Bill: You’re more than welcome. And I knew someone was going to jump on the “moose in a car” bit—considered doing so myself. 🙂

    Arthur: Thanks so much. You’ve been with me since the beginning and I’ve really appreciated the thoughts you’ve shared along the way.

  10. Ingrid says:

    Thank you for your generosity, Tovar. Your judicious and humane take on hunting and the well-being of wildlife is appreciated by the likes of me.

  11. Tovar says:

    Ingrid: Thank you. Your voice has been invaluable here.

    All: I just knew I was going to forget to mention certain people when I put together this post. I have added Josh, Casey, and Eric to the list of folks above (sorry, guys!) and welcome folks to mention anyone else I have overlooked!

  12. Michelle says:

    Tovar – it has been a pleasure knowing you! And I am going to throw in another scenario to that last bullet point – what if the pig weighed more than 600 pounds and had tusks? Something tells me you wouldn’t have hit it anyway as I doubt they move that fast. 🙂

    • Tovar says:

      Good getting to know you, too, Michelle.

      I grant you that having a high-speed vehicular encounter with a tusky 600-700 pound pig is not high on my list! The thing about moose is that they are so dark-colored. If you’re driving at night, you’re not likely to see the animal until the last second, even if it has strolled out into the road at a leisurely pace. I guess you could have the same problem with a giant, dark boar. I’ve never hit a member of either species or even had a close call, thankfully.

  13. Sherry Kerr says:

    Tovar, it has been a pleasure to discover this blog and the most thoughtful, articulate commentary on hunting that I’ve read. Your posts are a welcome reminder that asking questions of ourselves about our place in the food chain is not only OK, but right.

    • Tovar says:

      Thanks, Sherry.

      I appreciate you taking the time to offer such praise for the blog. For me, it makes a big difference to know that folks are getting something out of the posts and discussions.

  14. Tovar — Thanks so much for the kind words, and for pointing your readers to my site. One of the best parts of writing about hunting and fishing, growing and gathering is tapping into the community of people who think about, and care about some of the same issues I do.

    Your Google analysis is hilarious. Although I haven’t approached mine scientifically, I do notice that I get a lot of searches about waders — all pointing to a piece I wrote last year called “Do these waders make me look fat?” Well, I’m glad at least one of us is tackling substantive issues …

    Thanks again.

  15. MNAngler says:


    I found you through one of your cohorts mentioned above, Kari, the non-pink camo wearing hunter. You have a great blog here and I look forward to reading more. I’ll be adding you to my reader list and my blogroll.

    While my blog is mainly about my fishing adventures and all that goes with it, I do occasionally post about food when I find it appropriate. So as not to be gratuitously plugging my posts here (any more than I already have), I’ll send them to you personally.

    Keep up the great work.

    P.S. I LOVE your name. It’s one of the coolest I’ve ever seen.

    • Tovar says:

      Thanks for coming this way and adding me to your blogroll. And thanks to Kari for sending you.

      I look forward to checking out your blog, too. My wife and I had striped bass for dinner the night before last, a delicious fillet given to me a few weeks back by my uncle on Cape Cod, who did better than I during our weekend of fishing together.

      Yeah, my name is an oddity. That’s what you get when you have an Italian grandfather and parents who opt to name you after a movie character.

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