Blog Entry

Why Do I Hunt?

Posted on: August 23, 2008 11:32 am
 

Why do I hunt?  That question has been asked to me many times over the years.  I've never really put any thought into it before, but one day last week someone asked me the question, and I thought to myself, why do I really hunt.  Is it out of necessity?  No.  Is it the thrill of the kill?  No.  I think the real reason is that it gives me a greater appreciation for what I have and what those that came before me had to do to survive. 

I started hunting when I was about 8 years old.  Before we ever went out in the woods, my dad took me down in the pasture and taught me how to handle a gun correctly.  Unknown to me, he had been watching me even before this when I would be outside with my bb gun to see if I was handling it in a safe way.  So we go down to the pasture with his 16 guage shotgun.  He showed me how to load the shells into the magazine tube and how to get one in the chamber.  Then he showed me the way to click the safety off.  The main thing, he said, was not to put my finger on the trigger unless I was ready to shoot whatever that gun was pointing at.  I can still remember how much that old Remington kicked when I squeezed the trigger the first time.  After I had regained my composure, he told me to look at the target to see if I had hit it.  I was shooting at an apple core that was sitting on top of an old fence post.  The apple core was gone.  You would've had to sandblast the smile off my face when I realized that I had hit the target.  After this, my shoulder didn't hurt at all.  We scrapped up some more targets like old buckets and cans to shoot at. 

Little did I know but this was a test.  He had told me that if I had a good report card, that something good would come of it.  I did my best at school and came home with straight As.  When my dad got home from work, he told me to come out to the truck with him.  There on the seat was my prize, a brand new 410 double barrel shotgun.  The next weekend squirrel season opened, and I got to go hunting with my dad for the first time.  He got a few that day, but I struck out.  He told me that the only way to get better was to practice.  So practice I did.  By the end of the season, I was able to get my first squirrel and rabbit (the seasons run at the same time in the part of the state I live in). 

To be honest, I had mixed feelings when I took my first animal.  I was so glad to get it in my bag, but at the same time, I had just ended it's life.  My dad explained to me that it would keep living in spirit since it would be eaten by us.  I had just learned that food did not always come from the grocery stores. 

Since then, I've been hunting more times than I can count but not as many times as I wanted to.  My dad has slowed down since the days when I was an eight year old kid.  No longer do we go squirrel or rabbit hunting all day, but we still go deer hunting together whenever we can.  I still count the days until we get to go out in the woods together which is a few times every winter.  Now my middle one is my squirrel hunting buddy.  Last fall, I took him down to the bottom of the same pasture and gave him the same safe gun handling training my own dad had given me over 25 years ago.  My boy was able to take his first squirrel last year with the same old double barrel that I used on so many great hunts that I had with my dad.  He had the same mixed emotions that I had all those years ago.  He received the same story I got when I got my first one. 

It gives me great pleasure in being able to hand down what was given to me by my own dad to my kids.  My oldest son still doesn't want to go, but my daughter is showing interest.  I've taken all three with me at various times although the middle one has gone the most.  Hunting has made me appreciate what it takes to put food on the table.  It makes me appreciate what those that came before me had to do just to survive.  Most importantly, it makes me appreciate the bond between a father and his child.

Category: General
Comments
carolina8800
Since: Dec 11, 2007
Posted on: September 3, 2008 12:48 am
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Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: September 2, 2008 8:10 am
 

Why Do I Hunt?

Ron, mm, ca, lazer, truefan, and carolina, thanks for stopping by.  Carolina, I can tell by your comments that you must've never been hunting before.  If you had, then you would know what skill it takes just to get in the vicinity of a wild animal.  For example, let's take the deer.

White-tail deer are built for survival.  A deer can hear a whisper at over 100 yards.  Not speaking loudly, but a whisper.  They can smell what you ate for breakfast 50 yards away.  They can run over 40 miles per hour.  They can jump an 8 foot fence with ease.  They can crawl under a fence that's a foot off the ground.  And have you ever seen one?  The color of their hides blend in perfectly with the fall / winter forest colors.  If they hear you, see you, or smell you, they don't stick around.  They run.  If something just doesn't seem right to them, they run. 

The part about a real man not using weapons, you've got to be kidding.  A well placed shot is the most humane way to take one of these animals.  I have yet to have one run off and suffer for hours waiting to die.  Not only does the animal suffer when this happens, it ruins the meat.  

You ought to consider yourself lucky that you can just go down to the grocery store and get whatever you need without any thought about the work it took to get there.  For a change of pace, start with small steps.  Plant a garden.  See what work that takes, and maybe then you can appreciate your food a little more. 



carolina8800
Since: Dec 11, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2008 4:29 am
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carolina8800
Since: Dec 11, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2008 4:25 am
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Since: Feb 17, 2007
Posted on: August 31, 2008 3:09 pm
 

Why Do I Hunt?

Excellant post again True,thanks for the well written and thought provoking prose. I'll have to agree with you on many points, Most hunters are the biggest conservationists you could meet(ie. DucksUnlimted). It's just the few who give the vast majority a bad wrap. I have friends who hunt;blackpowder, shotgun and bow. And i've seen nothing go to waste in terms of the kill or the sheer enjoyment of getting out in nature and enjoying your time. I also have known people to pheasant shoot on occasion, not hunting! esspecially when "the guides" release the animals/birds in confined areas, although again nothing goes to waste in this type of shooting. I just don't see the "sport" and skill this takes than hunting in the wild. What you described was hunting. And most of all, the time spent sharing traditions and time with your family. To spend the time and instill the discipline and reverence of the gun and nature in your own young family, that was instilled with you by your father. It just seems to be a trait we as Americans are losing with every passing generation. To lose the insite and wisdom that comes with spending time and learning from previous generations. Instead we have generations growing up believing they know everything that needs to be known, as the famous quote goes-"those who do not learn from history will be doomed to repeat it". So you may not have the need to hunt and kill for food, you are giving the best gift any father can give his children. The time,patience,wisdom and most important love of hunting you have from hunting. This in my opinion is the definition of "quality time". So again ask yourself again, why do you hunt?




Since: Jun 26, 2008
Posted on: August 28, 2008 2:28 pm
 

Why Do I Hunt?

Hey True Rebel,

Great article, and I haven't been able to share anything about hunting with anyone for ages, as I now live in the city and haven't fired a weapon since leaving the Army 20 years ago. 

I was fortune enough to be born and raised on a farm in Nebraska and we had our own timber to hunt in and our own pond with fish in it.  We didn't have much money but we sure didn't spend much at the grocery store either.  We always planted a massive garden for fruits and vegetables, we usually butcher a fatted calf annually, we had chickens for both meat and eggs, a milk cow and our other sources of meat came from hunting and fishing.  I probably liked fishing more as I still occasionally fish, but I did do alot of hunting in my youth.  My first kill was also a squirrel.  We also shot nuisance animals such as raccoons, coyotes and opposums as they are predetors to chickens.  Ground squirrels, gophers and moles were also shot on sight as they created holes which could injure a cow if they steppen in one the wrong way.  Their meat didn't go to waste as our dog loved ground squirrels and moles.   See, you can even save on dog food!  But I cannot think of anything that my father or I shot where it was just a waste of the animals life.  We could sell coyote and raccoon pelts.  I never have gone deer hunting and probably never will.  While I really love deer meat, I don't really care to shoot one.  My dad never cared for deer hunting, so that may have alot to do with my own disinterest in it.  There's something about Bambi, lol.

One last thing.  My mom baked and then fried squirrel and rabbit and the meat would just fall off the bone.  Some of the best tasting food that I can recall eating.

Thanks for letting me share.




Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: August 25, 2008 1:06 am
 

Why Do I Hunt?

Nice post Rebal.  Having lived in San Francisco hunting is an activity that never presented itself to me (you can't shoot the squirrels in Golden Gate Park), and since my parents didn't want guns in their house it wasn't until I was 24 when touched a gun for the first time.  While hunting is not a sport/hobbie that I want to participate in, your post shows that for your family, its an activity centered on comradery/ family and it's easy for me to respect that.



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: August 24, 2008 11:33 am
 

Why Do I Hunt?

Thanks for sharing Reb!  Although I don't necessarily agree with your views on hunting, your post helped me understand the other side of the story.  Hope you enjoy your Sunday!

-M.M.




Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: August 24, 2008 12:41 am
 

Why Do I Hunt?

Another well written blog Rebel!

Bluesman24 and The Bong Show pretty much echoed my sentiments regarding hunting.  I grew up in rural New England where deer hunting was king.  My father never hunted and I never took it up but had and have many friends who do.  It never bothered me as long as they were respectful of how and why they hunted.



Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: August 23, 2008 4:03 pm
 

Why Do I Hunt?

Bong, kc, dd, and kbur, thanks for the comments.  Squirrels are very good eating.  I use a .22 rifle when I hunt them.  It's not a lot of fun biting down into a shot pellet from a shotgun.  I started the boy out with a shotgun since you have a little room for error since the shot pellets spread out.  I'm a southerner, so we always fry ours.  And of course you have to have the biscuits and gravy also.  It's true they are a member of the rodent family, but so are rabbits which are also tasty. 

Bong, one of the great things about our country is that we can disagree on a topic without someone getting in a shouting match over it.  I can see how some people have issues with hunting.  I have seen and heard plenty of stories that make me sick.  I have seen the so called "canned hunts", and there is no way I could ever do that.  Just for the record, I have 1 animal and 1 fish on my wall.  I got a fox squirrel one year that had a white face and 4 white feet.  I took it to the taxidermist only after I had got the meat off it. 

Personally, I use a rifle or shotgun when I hunt.  I have used a handgun before.  I never have used a bow before, but I've always wanted to take that up.  I have put alot of time and effort into becoming a good shot to learn how to only use 1 well placed shot to take down an animal.  Anyone can go out there and gut shoot a deer.  I have taken great strides to become the best shot I can be.  First of all, 1 well placed shot will take a deer down pretty quick.  It might run some, but alot of that is reflex, kinda like when you ring a chicken's neck.  Secondly, when you gut shoot a deer, the meat will be ruined within a little while since the contents of its stomach enter in the bloodstream.  When the meat is ruined, there's not alot left except for a carcass.  I have taken deer skins to a woman in town before.  She tans the hide and then makes paintings on the inside of the tanned skin.  She sells them at flea markets and trade shows out west.  I think she does pretty good at it. 

I've trapped a few animals in my day.  I never have done it to try to make money by selling the hides, usually just because we had a nuisance animal.  I have traps set out now because the racoons are getting in the dog food and cattle feed at my dad's house.  I did snare a beaver during a wilderness survival class that I took one time.  They dropped us off in the national forest with a quart of water and a knife.  After about 3 days with nothing to eat, that tasted pretty good.  Yes I did eat a beaver.  Get your minds out of the gutter lol.



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