I don’t hunt for the “sport” of it. I don’t get my kicks rifling down furry woodland animals to prove my dominance as a species or to compete against other hunters. I don’t do it for the trophy; some people do, but this isn’t about other people. This is about why I choose to go out into the woods and take the life of an animal.
My first reason for hunting is because I eat meat.
Eating meat and using animal products is an ethical dilemma and there are a growing number of people who are not okay with it. I respect their compassion and their views, and I don’t look down upon them for not wanting to take the life of another living creature. However, I choose to eat meat, and my reasons for that are a part of a whole different debate.
Hunting reconnects me with nature.
We are natural, biological creatures, and I believe we are engineered to love and connect with nature on a very deep level. I believe nature is a very important component to our intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual development. This is an element of life that many people have lost touch with, or have never been in touch with. People in today’s society mindlessly eat hamburgers from McDonalds and pick up a package of chicken breasts from the super market every day. Do they ever stop to think about the cows and pigs that were killed to feed them? In most cases, no. People are constantly consuming and are too often oblivious to where these things have come from.
When I go out into the forest and feel the crisp air, the non-paved earth beneath my feet, and the sun shining through the trees, I return home. I feel whole and completely stress-free. All of the artificialness of civilized life is gone, and I am now part of something much older, greater, and powerful. Upon killing a deer, and kneeling beside it to touch it’s still-warm shoulder, I become part of the circle-of-life in a way that is lost when ordering that bacon cheeseburger. I can see the direct consequence of what I will later consume. And I feel much better about cooking and eating the venison that I took from a mature, adult deer that I know lived a free and natural life, than I do eating a bacon cheeseburger that came from animals from who knows where, that lived who knows what kind of lives. There are good farms, that take care of their animals and give them a quality life, and there are very bad farms that do just the opposite. If I’m not the one responsible for killing what I eat, it’s likely that I’ll never know.
As mentioned before, I understand whole-heartedly some people do not believe in eating meat or animal products at all and I respect that. But there are far too many people that will gladly eat a McDouble, but will spit on hunters for shooting a deer. I believe that if I am going to be someone who eats meat, I should be able to kill an animal I am eating with my own hands; otherwise I would feel like a hypocrite and a coward.
I have been hunting for around six years now; I have killed 6 deer. One each year. I am experienced and knowledgeable enough to know where and how to shoot a deer to make it as humane and painless as possible and what age and size is appropriate to take. I don’t do it for the “thrill of killing” I don’t do it to get the “biggest trophy.” If you talk to a genuine outdoorsperson that hunts, you will find it is about something much bigger than that. It is about respect, connection and consequence. I hope people can see that. So happy hunting to everyone. Stay safe, and remember to respect Mother Nature and the life that you are taking.
Lyla Luoto – YCC Member