Why Do You Hunt?
Why do I hunt? I never really thought about it that much aside from responding to ill-informed anti-hunters.
My knee-jerk responses were usually glib and sarcastic as a retort to their antagonistic prods. Tit for tat I reasoned. But there were folks; friends really, that sincerely wanted an answer. I assume that they thought of me as an all right kind of guy. We were friends after all, but they were literally astonished. How could I choose to pursue an activity that ultimately results in taking an animal’s life? This sincerity and genuine lack of understanding gave me pause…thus, here I go, trying to capture with words, the inexplicable answer.
I believe that my love for hunting evolved because my dad loved hunting. I loved my dad and as a child, I wanted to be with him whenever I could. Sometimes, however, I couldn’t be with him because, “I wasn’t big enough, yet”. Eventually, I was big enough and we did go hunting together. We had fun and talked about all kinds of things. It really wasn’t about killing animals out of necessity for food. It was about being outside, away from “people pollution” as my dad used to call it…connecting with the natural unspoiled beauty of nature. As I spent time with my dad, I came to notice the simple, yet exquisitely marvelous details of all that surrounded me; Juncos and sparrows searching for food…insects, slowly but determinedly walking, seemingly to nowhere. I was learning; becoming a part of all that was around me. The rhythm of life was palpable, coursing through me. The relationship with nature was now becoming personal. As the seasons passed, the yearnings to be outside morphed from wanting to be with Dad to just wanting to be outside. I was growing up. As I grew, I had a better understanding and appreciation of nature. It wasn’t just about hunting, but rather being an outdoorsman…learning the ways of the land…having respect for all living things and unabashedly becoming a part of it all.
The years have all but too quickly gone by. I now reflect upon my youth as I answer the question, “Why do I hunt?” It’s not about the meat or the comradery or the trophies, all of which are very satisfying, but it’s more complex and indefinable. It’s realigning your soul with that of nature…no pretense…no innuendo…no compromise, just unadulterated truth. And in so doing, our part in this world makes much more sense than listening to the evening news.
Shepard Greene, California