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Will Hunt for Food

Some thoughts on why I hunt

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ince hunting is considered politically incorrect in some circles, and there is a lot of non-hunting information in this website, it’s likely that many people who are prejudiced against hunting or just undecided may see this. Thus, I feel compelled to include an explanation of my hunting philosophies.

I am a meat hunter and confirmed carnivore. Except for a little pork andWillHunt.jpg (20020 bytes) chicken, nearly all of my family’s meat diet comes from wild game. It is far healthier and nutritious than domestic meat and I would hate to do without it. I am also a trophy hunter, and guess what, so is nearly every hunter I know (or at least they would like to be). Trophy hunting has had a nasty connotation attached to it, conjuring up the idea of a wealthy "sportsman" who wantonly slaughters wildlife, taking only the heads and leaving the rest to rot. I am acquainted with a great many hunters and no one I know fits this description. I am sure that such individuals do exist, there are a few bad apples in every group, but I feel certain that most hunters are outraged by this abuse of our hunting privileges. In fact, it is a misnomer to even call people like that hunters, they are simply killers, pathetically lacking in fundamental character.

To me, trophy hunting means something altogether different. Hunting is more than a casual pastime, it is a passion and a large part of the fabric of who I am. Trophy animals represent the supreme challenge. They have survived many years of predators and brutal winters and their survival skills are fully intact. Taking such an animal, fair chase, is very difficult and nothing to scoff at. To pack into wild and remote country, often alone, stalk and kill an animal with arrow or bullet, pack said animal out and use his meat to feed my family and antlers to decorate my home is something for which I will apologize to no one. Doing so is a source of great fulfillment and offers a connection to the cycle of life as it really works in nature. Those who are critical of this should be sure that their attitude of moral superiority is not compromised by using a hired killer to provide them with leather for shoes and meat for dinner. I handle this sometimes messy and always strenuous chore myself, and am acutely aware of the real cost to all parties involved. I strive to kill what I eat, and eat what I kill.

One more point I would like to clear up is that for myself and virtually all other hunters I know, killing animals is not what it is all about. Yes, that is the final result (although in fact, I come home empty-handed far more often than not and still consider the experience eminently satisfactory), but it is the hunt, not the kill, that drives me. Pulling the trigger is often anticlimactic, and I usually pass on a fair number of animals before deciding that now is the time. Aside from the jeweled sunrises and invigorating exercise in high, thin, pure air, what keeps bringing me back is a slightly altered state I enter when I am really hunting. There’s nothing quite like lurking through the lodgepoles, watching for patches of tan hair, and getting into the flow or the zone or whatever you choose to call it. I call this "becoming a predator", and while anthropomorphism is a murky subject at best, I imagine it’s what mountain lions and wolves feel a lot of the time. It’s a right-brain state where you stop thinking in words and are just "there" with all senses turned up to ten. I can still clearly recall when I first felt this sensation many years ago while descending a ridge in the Bridger Mountains. I haven’t been quite the same since.

Unfortunately, hunting seems to be one of those polarizing issues where it seems there is no middle ground where opposing viewpoints can meet and agree to disagree. That is regrettable, and in most cases the opposing viewpoints probably share more common ground than they realize. I know that I love wild country and the wildlife that inhabit it, and my experiences in pursuit of big game have enriched my life immeasurably. Since you are reading this, I suspect chances are good that you have similar tastes, and let’s not let the fact that I occasionally kill and eat those animals drive a wedge between us.

See you on the trail.

 

 

 

 

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