Why do you hunt? This is a question I often get. So often that I have lost count. Often the question gets asked out of curiosity, but once in a while the person asking me the question is a wee bit more hostile. If you ask me why I hunt out of curiosity I will not have any problem answering you. But if you are an anti-hunter with the perception of hunting as only a blood sport with all hunters as evil-minded people, you better expect some hostility from me in return. To all of you anti-hunters who go after hunters with a passion - I have only one thing to say to you: Think carefully as you unabashedly proclaim that every hunter is bloodthirsty lowlife with no human emotions as sport a nice leather belt or a fancy leather purse. If I had a pound for every hypocrite decrying hunting while eating meat and buying animal products, I would probably be just as rich as Donald Trump. If I were as rich as Donald I would probably try to run for president to. That would be a scary thought wouldn’t it? Well, enough about that. I wasn’t going to write about old Donald with his comb over and my imaginary presidential candidacy.
Hunting is a controversial topic in today’s modern society, and I understand that fact. It will likely continue to be a more and more controversial topic as society evolves. We are moving further and further from our true nature. If we go back in time, hunting in combination with fishing and gathering was our most important source of food. We had to hunt to survive. I get that that’s not the case in today’s modern society. We don’t need to hunt anymore to survive. We can just go to our local supermarket and buy some meat. No stress.
Even if we don’t need to hunt to survive anymore there are still a lot of passionate hunters in the world, and there is a lot of reasons for being a hunter. You could say that I don’t need to hunt to survive, and I would agree with you on that fact. But nevertheless I would rather eat something I shot myself. I would eat it with a better conscience knowing that the animal had the best living conditions it could possibly have before it was died. And last but not least – I would eat it knowing that the meat was clean and un-tainted by chemicals. Wild game is the best meat you can have.
I’m far from a bloodthirsty monster who roams the wilderness with only one goal in mind– to kill everything in sight. I use my head when I hunt and I think ahead. You can’t shot out an entire population - then you would have nothing to shoot the following year. That would be like peeing your trousers when it’s below freezing point outside. It feels good at the time, but the aftermath really stings. Both me and other fellow hunters focus on conservation through hunting. I will admit that not all hunters have this focus, but at least all good hunters do. A good hunter is the best conservationist there is - in my opinion. A good hunter does everything in his or her power to see that populations remain at a sustainable level. A good hunter would not shoot an animal if it had negative consequences for the species.
Even though in some cases choose not to shoot an animal, I am not proclaiming to have a halo around my head. I don’t take my gun out just to walk around with it. My gun is not a dog. My gun does not get bored if it’s kept inside a gun safe. If I take my gun out I do it with purpose. That purpose it to find an animal it would be beneficial to shoot and then make sure I get a good opportunity to get a clean shot.
I am a hunter and therefor I kill.
It sounds bad, but there is no way around that fact and there is no prettier way of saying it. At the same time I don’t see a day out hunting as unsuccessful if I don’t get to shoot an animal. There are sometimes long periods without success. But that fact does not take the joy out of hunting. Hunting is not just about the kill. There are a lot of other factors which make hunting so amazing for me. When I’m out hunting or fishing, every worry and stress I have is forgotten. I just enjoy living in the moment. I absolutely love all the challenges of hunting. I love the struggle and I find something incredibly appealing in the solitude found deep in the wilderness miles away from other people. Even the days when I’m out hunting and never even see an animal to shoot, there is so much beauty to be found in the simplest things in nature. It’s these things which make every day hunting a good day.
There are probably tens of thousands of books written about self-help. Us humans are always on the search for something. That something is happiness. True happiness. We long to find it. Whatever true happiness means. I am one of the lucky ones. I have found my happiness in life. I found it in the wilderness hunting. The joy I get from can’t be compared to anything else in my life. It’s consuming. If you are a hunter and reading this I think you will recognize the true feeling of happiness I describe. If you’re not a hunter I hope you find your happiness in life – even if it’s not hunting. To find something that you truly enjoy doing is something not everyone is fortunate enough to do in their lifetime. I am forever grateful to have found something that I love with all of my heart. Hunting for me is the very symbol of happiness, and no anti-hunter can take that away.