As a hunter I am often asked the question - “why do you hunt?.” The most popular answer I hear people give is “for food” or “to know where my food comes from.” As a hunter and a farmer, I don’t believe this answer truly captures the reasons why I personally hunt.There are nearly unlimited places we get food from. However, people can rarely say exactly where their food has come from. This makes me think most of us do not put as much thought into knowing where our food comes from as we probably should.
Don’t get me wrong, I eat what I harvest and I love getting more meat for the freezer. But I believe that hunting is not just “getting meat for the freezer”, it is about so much more than that - so why do I hunt?
Hunting teaches me about the circle of life, and the reality of life and death. In order to consume meat, an animal has to lose its life. This is something that a package of meat at the grocery store doesn’t fully convey. It also teaches me to be patient, persistent and to never give up. As in life, there are many variables to take into consideration when hunting and things don’t always go according to plan. There are both “highs” and “lows” that hunting teaches – in my opinion, the lows are where the most learning takes place
In our fast-paced-world full of technology where living through a screen is becoming the norm, I find it refreshing to take a step back and immerse myself in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Harvesting an animal is nice, but to me the real value of hunting is the sense of peace I feel when I am out in the woods. There is something special about sneaking into the woods while it is dark to watch the sunrise - the woods just come to life. There’s no other time in my everyday life that I actually take time to observe animals in their natural habitat…without them knowing I am there.
To me, hunting isn’t about the harvest. It is everything that takes places leading up to AND after the harvest. Hunting has allowed me to strengthen my relationship with my family and with God.
In my family, hunting is a tradition. The sport has allowed me to form a close bond with my father and grandfather. My grandfather has passed, but my dad and I still keep the tradition alive. We spend a lot of time together hanging stands and strategizing our hunting plan. We talk every single day during hunting season to share all the events that took place in the field that day.
Not everyone in my family hunts. However, they are all involved in certain aspects of the process. Whether it is going to the range to sight in guns or sharing a delicious meal with each other after a successful harvest, it is a time we all look forward to spending together.
A Love of Animals
This may seem counter intuitive to non-hunters. Though as a hunter, I am able to connect with nature in a deeper, more intimate way. While hunting, my senses are heightened. I pay close attention to every detail in the woods. Hunting awakens a deep appreciation and respect for life and death.
This is why I hunt. Next time you are in a tree stand or duck blind, why not give it a little thought – see what you come up with. You may be surprised at the truth behind why you hunt. Whatever your reasons, I wish you a safe and prosperous hunt this fall!