Why Do You Hunt?

NPO_Aaron

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For me, the answer is a 50/50. Firstly, I like to know where my food comes from. I can walk into the meat department at a store and have no clue where my steak came from, but After a successful hunting season I can have a freezer full of quality meat. Second, there is something about waking up with the world in a duck blind, or watching the night critters come to life as the sun sets behind your treestand that is almost spiritual. There have been times where I've felt like I was a part of a Terry Redlin painting. I hunt because it is literally and figuratively a part of me.
 


SDMF

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I like tag soup and antler stew.
 

PrairieGhost

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why do you hunt

I guess it's so much a part of me that I have given it little thought. Sort of like why do I breath, why does my heart beat etc. I do enjoy it though as you describe NPlabs. The grocery store meat is only slightly above road kill, or maybe not. Dead deer on the side of the road or dead chemical filled cow? Hmmmm depends on how the deer smells.
 
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KDM

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Physically, I thoroughly enjoy the different flavors that wild game provides. From the virtually flavorless pheasant breast to the stronger flavors of sage fed antelope and mule deer. Like was mentioned earlier, I know also like to know where my food came from.
Spiritually, it allows me a closer relationship with God when I see the magnificence of the world He provided for us and all the gifts it contains. It also allows me a way to connect with my family and friends on a level not possible through other activities.

Emotionally, it allows me a release and an escape from the trials and tribulations of life. When life throws me a curveball, I can go hunting or at least think about past trips or future plans and I feel better because I know better times are out there.

Figuratively, I just plain LIKE TO HUNT!!!!!
 

PrairieGhost

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Excellent post KDM. Hunting or fishing are mental rehabilitation. Nothing like standing on a mountaintop looking out over God's creation. One often forgets to hunt.
 


gst

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Why do I hunt?

It has evolved over the years. When I was little it was the wonderment of the marvels I saw when hunting, creeping thru the trees to get close enough to a blackbird to kill it for a Daisy BB gun unwrapped at Christmas that winter showed wondrous things people who strolled thru the woods with no clue ever saw or noticed. Pretending a gopher was a grizzly bear as I slithered across the pasture from grass clump to grass clump with a Crossman pumped 10 pumps with PELLETS instead of BBs!! Shooting sparrows and an occasional Boone and Crockett starling in the cattle sheds at night.

A single shot 22 with a broken ejector given to me on my 10th birthday that was once my Grandpas that allowed me to sit in a rock pile in the pasture and pretend I was at the Alamo shooting gophers and then opening the door to trophy game like skunks and racoons before unattainable with the Crossman.

As I got older my friends and I learned from each other and shared the best way to set decoys, set traps and snares, to call ect....it was part competition, part comraderie of friends. As we reluctantly sat in school on foggy fall mornings distracted from lessons dreaming of decoying mallards, my best friends were the ones I hunted with, you learned you could depend on them.

As I continued to get older it became about a particular animal and often hunting alone. Shooting a buck or geese or rooster became simple from the knowledge from experiences of the past, I still had the highs and lows involved in killing an animal, but the "test" of ones skill set was lessened so more effort was given to take one particular buck or banded geese and ducks and the longest tailed roosters. As much was learned in the passing up a shot and watching an animal as had been previously. At this stage in life I was also able to begin to travel outside my comfort zone to explore new areas. Elk in the grander of the mountains of Montana, bear and deer in the brush and swamps of Canada. In each of these areas it was more about what was over the next ridge, valley, lake as it was killing an animal. I began to understand what drove the exploration of this nation at it's founding. I began to wish for months instead of weeks alone to hunt. I began to understand the solitude of hunting as it became only me and one animal. Had I not had ties to home I would have been gone.

Some great memories and experiences that simply can not be put in words accompanied this time of my life in the outdoors. How do you truly describe riding a horse 20 - 30 miles in a day topping out over a number of ridges overlooking valleys in mountains that are hanging from the clouds or seeing a peak shining in the sun dozens of miles away thinking if I only had another week I could be there. Riding down a drop off ridge falling 400 feet to each side , your feet hanging in air as it narrows to a mere foot wide, trusting the horse and God and then seeing a Grizzly eating on an elk carcass in the foggy bottom of the valley below. Wading thru snow almost to your armpits as you cross the upper side of a bowl to travel down to a saddle you watched 6 bull elk cross as the sun came over the eastern peaks. The utter exhaustion after walking them down only to see them as ghosts slipping over a ridge thru the dark timber, racks laid against their backs offering only disappointment yet sharing something spiritual in the experience. The comfort of a fire started under a rock over hang to warm and dry your clothes before heading back to try again tomorrow.

Topping out on a ridge on a horse you had broke as a colt to see one set of elk tracks in a foot of fresh snow on the side of a mountain going into a lone group of pines and no tracks coming out, waiting, watching, taking the bull after hours of patience and perserverance, walking back to horses standing tied with their heads down and on three legs as the snow piled up in inches on the saddles only to find grizzly tracks that had not yet filled with snow 30 yards behind the horses and then the exhausting work of packing that bull down to where you could get to with the horses while darkness closes in watching over ones shoulder, those tracks a close memory. Falling asleep from exhaustion in the saddle on the ride to camp as a trusted horse carries you back.

Listening from a tree stand as darkness closes in as a lone wolf howls and EVERYTHING falls silent knowing who the king of the woods truly is. Waiting in a stand for your friend and guide to come pick you up in the dark listening as the big boar you were after rolls the bait can around below your stand 7 foot off the ground, nervous yet amused by the young bear still whimpering in a tree it ran up 4 feet away from you when the big bear came in in the fading light too dark to shoot, wondering if need be if there is room for you. The snap of a twig behind you as you have your back against a rock pile calling in a field across from the dark edge of the unending bush untouched by man that would take you north to the land of trappers and those hard men making a living far beyond "civilization", knowing man is not necessarily the top of the food chain.

The chorus of a pack of wolves answering your call and another pack answering them in the eerie half light of a full moon as you wait on the snow covered ice for those dark specks to come close enough, wondering in a little part of your mind what would happen if they all came too close mentally counting the bullets you have. Following the fresh tracks of a pack of 7 wolves thru the bush contemplating why they separated into 3 groups, following them deeper and deeper into the bush then out onto ice red with blood for dozens of yards with only a scrap of deer hide left to reveal a chilling tale and answer of they had separated to herd the deer out onto the ice of a pond in the harsh reality of life in the wilds.

How can one share in words what these moments mean or have someone that is not a hunter understand?

The wall holds trophies of these days gone by but as grand and majestic as they are to me, they pale by comparison to the memories that can never be displayed, now cherished and shared with those young people now changing the next stage of my adventure in hunting.

Now it has been about introducing what I experienced to my sons and daughter. From the earliest days when they held on to my belt loops and drug behind me as I bellied crawled up to a slough full of northern mallards, when they sat between my legs wrapped in a blanket with our backs against a rock as we called coyotes, to them tromping behind thru cat tails they could not see over watching as they pretended to be in a jungle chasing jaguars instead of roosters, this is what hunting now means to me. My boys are old enough now to take what was shared and create their own stories. They have entered the stage I look back and saw myself in at their age. My daughter is still my little girl filled with awe and wonderment at the cool things her Dad knows and shows her that amaze a 3rd grader. The incredible experience of sharing "firsts" , first deer, first rooster, first green head, first honker........and the amazement and smiles and sometimes tears is a trophy that has no place on the wall, only in the heart and ones mind to cherish years down the road as they sit beside a much older, greyer me sharing their stories of the eerieness of a wolfs howl when they are alone in the bush or the elation and sadness as they watched a buck they had let go for 5 years stagger and crumple after a well placed shot with a bow. I watch as I see the joy in my fathers eyes as the grand kids tell of their exploits and experiences and best yet as they BOTH share with me those happenings in the deer stand and laughter as Grandpa forgot to put a shell in again this year when the big buck they where watching all fall stepped out. Even with their gaining of experience, they miss the smile from Grandpa as they tell the story and he says "oh well maybe you should just get him with your bow this winter" and the wink shared between fathers that understand there is much more to hunting than the taking of an animals life.

I have a treasure chest of memories of the anxiety of a son thru a night of waiting to track his first bear in the day light to the shock and 3 foot jump in the air and ear to ear smile as he stepped over a log he did not see the bear laying dead behind both my friend and I had seen. The first tracking job a 12 year old son did in finding his buck watching as he used what had been taught me by generations before and passed down. The first time a 10 year old stood by a slough waiting for a lab to retrieve his first shoveler wading out to his knees in eagerness to see if it did have the band his Dad told him he saw as their legs dropped and the smile at the glint of metal. The quiet in the drive home from a tree stand as a missed shot spooked a buck he had waited on all fall and the quiet determination at sun up as I heard arrows hitting a target outside.

The smile of pride in accomplishment as a 8 year old girl waded out in water to her waist to drag back a shot beaver that weighed more than her so as not to be a "yuppie girl" when hunting with Dad.

The contrasting feelings of first picking up a rack of a majestic animal who's life you ended, the rush of watching thousands of geese or ducks spiral down out of the sky, orange legs dropping, the foot stomp in the woods, the answering howl of a coyote, the explosion of color of a rooster in blinding white snow on a cold sunny Dec. morning, the crunching of bitter cold snow, the slow creep of cold as one wiggles their toes unmoving and silent watching as the sun drops, the quiet, yet loud silence of the outdoors as one sits after the sun is down, unmoving, reluctant to leave, in a stand dreaming, thinking, remembering......

Why do I hunt.................it is hard to put into words.
 
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NPO_Aaron

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Wow, that gave me goosebumps reading. Fantastic piece of writing!
 

huntorride365

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Because I am alive.

And, I view the frustration caused by the Sconi's as kind of a hell on earth thing.

Good stuff Svn!
 

SupressYourself

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Never really thought about it that much. Mostly because I love everything about it. But why do I love it?
There are many facets of hunting that appeal to my higher levels of cognition. A lot of those GST touched on. But at the core, I think as we are animals ourselves, it has been engrained in our DNA.

Many of those that look unfavorably on hunting like to think that they are “more evolved”. I would say the opposite. They are not better equipped to survive. Before all this technology came along and made life so easy, those would have been the first to be weeded out.
Now that evolution via natural selection has effectively ended for humans, I would guess that this primal “need” to hunt will be bread out of the population over time.

Moral of the story: Take a kid hunting.
 


sl1000794

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0553426583_m.jpg
 

svnmag

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I embrace the memories which come alive and trail me. I get into pretending I'm the top predator. I enjoy the responsibility required to possess a weapon and wield it skillfully. I admire a sharp knife and the ability to transform animal to meat. I relish the look on a young one's face when a hit is achieved on a tin can and the desire is communicated to move forward. I really like the hell out of it when GST writes a lot of good shiite and it is accredited to ME by HuntorRide.
th
 
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espringers

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I think he is just joking. I was gonna say "cause I can't shoot people". Glad I didn't now cause I got a hankering for shooting things in the face this fall and wouldn't want to lose my privileges.

BTW.... good posts so far guys.
 


Wild and Free

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Food, plain and simple. Nothing drives me nuts more than so many I know and so many others that I hear trying to give away fish or meat because they have no room in the freezer and yet they keep hunting and fishing, These are the people who should have no more hunting or fishing rights. The other ones are those who shoot for nothing more than antlers and then cut the head off and try to give away the rest of the carcass. I have a few friends like this I refuse to hunt with anymore and do not answer the phone when I see them calling during hunting season.

Never take more than you need.;:;rant
 
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Bed Wetter

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Hunting and eating is our natural state of being. Our domestication can suppress, but not eliminate, the clamoring sense of urgency in your gut to kill an animal and eat it. Is it easier for a feral pig to become domesticated or a domesticated pig to become feral? That animal will more easily return to it's natural state, which is feral. Hunting is our natural state. Why do you think it is that we're so wired to appreciate nature and the thrill of a solid hit? We hunt because we're hunters. I imagine as long as I'm conscious I'll have a burning desire to hunt.
 

KDM

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Food, plain and simple. Nothing drives me nuts more than so many I know and so many others that I hear trying to give away fish or meat because they have no room in the freezer and yet they keep hunting and fishing, These are the people who should have no more hunting or fishing rights. The other ones are those who shoot for nothing more than antlers and then cut the head off and try to give away the rest of the carcass. I have a few friends like this I refuse to hunt with anymore and do not answer the phone when I see them calling during hunting season.

Never take more than you need.;:;rant

Interesting point of view Wild. I'm one of those people who drive you nuts. There are only 3 people in my household. Myself, my wife, and our daughter. If I shoot one elk, I'll have more meat than the 3 of us can eat in a year. I hunt everything with a season in ND, Deer in MN, and Elk/Deer in MT most years. This year I'm adding antelope in MT and SD and deer in SD. Add into the mix that I fish 5 times a week, give'r take a day. I processed 650 lbs of venison for sausage and ground meat this year with 6 buddies. You should just about be in a straight jacket right now. Let me add to this that my wife and daughter both hunt deer as well and my daughter loves to goose hunt. Are you bat shit crazy about now?? All of my hunting and that of my family is done legally and within the confines of each states regulations and wildlife management strategies. I take home lots and lots of wild game every year that my small family can't possibly consume. However, I can assure you that not one scrap of meat is wasted. I have a laundry list of people that can't hunt or fish for themselves that are very appreciative of a venison roast, pheasant, or package of fish. The gifting of ALL of my wild game and fish is ALSO done within the laws and regulations set forth by each state. I'm also not afraid to admit that I have been the recipient of gifted elk meat on more than one occasion and also halibut, salmon, and other fish that is not available to me close to home. I was, and am, very grateful to those friends who thought enough of me to share the bounty nature provided to them as I share the bounties provided to me. How do you feel about the Hunters for the hungry and Sportsmen against hunger programs??? These programs are kept stocked with meat entirely by the people who drive you nuts. Just a thought here, but in the present atmosphere of diminishing hunter numbers and increasing political pressure of anti hunting groups, it may be more beneficial to all, NOT to criticize the legal hunting practices of other sportsmen and concentrate on keeping the great past time of hunting a reality for the younger generations.
 

Wrkn2hunt

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I hunt because when I'm not working or doing family things it's the one thing that calms me and brings peace to my world. Now days I don't even care if I fill my tag, it's just about being outdoors. Since my wife and kids are getting into it I spend all my time trying to put them on animals. My alone time hunting is very little anymore and while I still enjoy my hunting time I enjoy hunting with them far more! I also believe far too many kids are doing other things and not saying all those things are bad I just believe outdoor time is hard to beat!
 


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