John Holyoke | BDN
By John Holyoke, BDN Employees •
November eight, 2018 eight:36 am
Many years in the past, the reply to the query “Why do I hunt?” was probably extra easy than it’s at this time. Those that did hunt and did so efficiently, offered meals that their households would savor over the approaching months. Those that didn’t? Properly they needed to discover different methods of placing protein on the desk.
These days, we will simply take a drive to the grocery store and replenish on all types of meals. Fish, fowl and livestock is definitely obtained, and the important position of the hunter-gatherer has dimmed.
Nonetheless, many people nonetheless select to hunt. A few weeks again, I examined the explanations I’m a hunter and wrote about a few of the issues I take pleasure in about searching. Then I challenged BDN readers to consider the query for themselves and to ship alongside a response: Why do you hunt?
A number of individuals took the time to reply. Be forewarned, nevertheless: Some didn’t truly reply the query I posed. And never everyone who responded cared for the query or for the explanations I highlighted for my very own participation within the exercise.
Right here, edited for area and elegance, are a number of of your solutions.
From Warren D. Southworth, Sr.: Sure, I hunt for the meat. Deer or not often, moose. There isn’t a different prefer it. Most of those that say it’s gamey or robust have by no means eaten prime, correctly cared for, knowledgeably ready venison. It’s additionally meat with nearly no ldl cholesterol. Grouse and sure geese are additionally prime fare. I care little for woodcock, wild turkey or bear, however then I don’t hunt them. Granted, if I calculated the price/pound of the wild recreation I eat, I’d in all probability be cash forward if I shopped on the native grocery store. However that’s not the purpose, is it?
Except for custom and meals, then, what’s the level? The drive to hunt, I consider, lies deep inside me. It resides on the subcellular degree, down there within the genome someplace. I am a predator, pure and easy. I might deny it, I suppose, however skilled wildlife administration and legality make it potential for me not solely to simply accept it but in addition to pursue it. “Wait!” you say, “if the killing reviles you, then why not hunt with a camera?” Right here’s why. Carrying a digital camera afield shouldn’t be searching. The digital camera makes me solely an observer, not a hunter. Until I carry the gun or the bow (and even the spear, I suppose), I do not expertise the strain which exists between predator and prey, and that’s what I search, a deeper understanding of who and what I am and the way I relate to different species on this planet. Many Native American cultures, actually, believed that when a person took up weapons to hunt, he truly hunted himself. I perceive that notion. I settle for that a part of me.
From Robin Emery: You can do all the issues in your article with a digital camera, apart from the meat half.
From Karen Ellis: This can be a nice query however, as you say, onerous to explain to others. I am one of many few however rising numbers of feminine hunters. I grew up in a household that hunted deer, grouse and rabbits. I have three brothers so I didn’t become involved in searching till I was an grownup. I sat again and took all of the information in from my father and brothers experiences. My husband and I introduced up our son to like the outside and searching in addition to fishing is an enormous a part of what we take pleasure in. I determined I needed to check out searching to see what it was all about.
My first morning out on opening day in 2012, I shot my first buck. I was hooked. It has develop into such a mixture of issues for me. The perfect a part of it’s strolling by means of the woods by your self or with household and taking within the nature round you. The sounds you hear. The belongings you see. You by no means know what the journey that day goes to convey. I discover it enjoyable and so peaceable. It’s nice train. I have such nice reminiscences searching with my son. A strategy to regroup from my day and if I am fortunate I will get the chance to reap a deer. As you possibly can see I might go on and on about why I hunt as a result of it has develop into such an enormous a part of my life. A few of my greatest reminiscences are out within the woods, and I look ahead to making extra annually.
From Al Larson: Some years in the past, I hunted with rifle, shotgun and bow. Didn’t have a number of luck, nevertheless it obtained me out on frosty mornings in lovely locations. Now my searching is completed with a digital camera. Such as you, I’ve seen sudden critters within the woods, marten, fox, moose, porkys, bear, bobcat. And farther afield, musk ox, reindeer, grizzlies, and an Arctic fox. My digital camera has “shot” many, many birds too.
However it’s the being outdoors and seeing fantastic locations that makes it nice. I don’t have to kill one thing to have lasting reminiscences. There are occasions when getting the right photograph shot is more durable than the right rifle shot. So no matter drives us on the market, all of us want to guard the wild locations. As soon as the pavement goes in, the world is misplaced. Each outdoorsman ought to work to guard the wildlands all of us love.
From Thomas D. Corridor: Why do I help searching?
I don’t hunt, however I very a lot help searching and people who need to hunt.
Opposite to the picture that some need to painting, at the moment’s hunters are a number of the most ardent environmentalists that I have ever encountered. Due to their ardour for the exercise, they, excess of others, need to protect our woodlands and wilderness areas. They need for the herds to be wholesome, for the waters to be clear and unobstructed in order that fish might thrive. They consider the biologists, and subscribe to the ruling and recommendation that wildlife officers dispense. Hunters need the pure great thing about this earth to be ceaselessly preserved.
Why? For a similar explanation why I need our outside to stay pure! I treasure these occasions when I can sit alone within the woods, taking within the cool air, the rustling timber and that uncommon woodlands animal. I emerge from the woods a greater individual, for the time spent in reflecting, and for the acceptance of how I have been blessed.
And even then, there are the straightforward pleasures of life that I discover in being an outdoorsman; the pleasures that hunters discover as nicely. Nothing tastes nearly as good as that cup of espresso from a thermos, or the banquet present in a sandwich, all consumed whereas sitting in majesty on the desk of a pine stump. Have you ever ever sat by way of a dawn and seen the small print of life emerge round you? Have you ever ever sat by way of a sundown, and acknowledged the pink, orange and golden colours because the promise for a brand new day?
And although I have by no means hunted an animal, I can think about the satisfaction of the reward for endurance, for the diligence in ready via the chilly hours, for the humility of harvesting a God-given being and for celebrating the expertise in entire.
We have to do higher. We have to hold our surroundings clear and ever recent. We have to hold our wildlife wholesome. Hunters consider this. That’s why I help searching.
From Robert Woodbury: That is very emotional for me as a result of I am now bodily unable to hunt. And it hurts. Over a quarter-century of diabetes has taken away the sensation in my legs from the knees down and I can’t stroll on uneven floor with out help. First, I was by no means a deer hunter. I don’t know why. My entire prolonged household hunts/hunted deer. Everyone. C’mon. Woodburys are from Patten.
Fowl searching was my ardour. I didn’t hunt to kill birds (first shot all the time excessive — second shot proper on), though a well-prepared grouse or woodcock was all the time a welcome delicacy at our desk.
I hunted as a result of I all the time walked behind the canine handler to watched the 2 work collectively. Magnificent. I hunted for lunch subsequent to an empty stone basis with an apple tree close by with its pungent, rotting odor including taste to the ambiance. I hunted as a result of being within the woods, surrounded by nature’s magnificence cleansed the soul and made me entire once more, capable of deal with the work-a-day features in a extra calm, secure and affordable method. However principally I hunted due to the corporate I stored. Fowl hunters are searching primarily for a similar causes. For lack of a greater phrase, all of us have the identical “karma.” We will speak to one another and by no means say a phrase out loud.
I blamed my current non-hunting state of affairs. I don’t blame my age as a result of there are a number of 80-year-olds, female and male, nonetheless barging their method via alders and raspberry thickets following a canine that gained’t take “I can’t” for a solution. There’s an previous music that tells of the day the music died. A couple of years in the past, I misplaced 4 fowl searching buddies in the identical yr, women and men who have been cherished companions. I cried. I bought my weapons.
From Ruth Nadelhaft: I learn your column in at present’s paper — twice. I observed that some key parts of searching have been lacking: Weapons, for instance. Your enjoyment of comradeship, nature, glimpses of untamed animals supply compelling causes for spending time with pals or by your self within the woods. However leaving out the aim of searching is like describing golfing with no point out of golf equipment, balls and scoring. I assume an account of golfing would hardly cease at an outline of inexperienced lawns, pleasant dialog, and rides in carts. The purpose of searching is searching. Why go to such lengths to keep away from saying that? You’re in Maine, you’re getting paid to put in writing a column about outside life in a tradition that respects, even valorizes, searching. Are you traipsing alongside within the woods together with your pocket book? Taking footage together with your telephone? Are you carrying a gun? Is anybody carrying a gun?
You arrange this column as a long-delayed consideration of the “real” query: Why do I hunt? Nicely, why do you? What’s totally different about searching versus “just” spending a weekend within the woods with good buddies? This column may need been a primary draft. I look ahead to the subsequent model.
From Dan Crocker: Loved your piece this morning, and most of my logical, rational causes for searching are the identical as these you highlighted. And such as you, I select to hunt extra for the intrinsic worth of being within the woods, whether or not with buddies or alone. I’ve posted fairly a number of tales to my weblog concerning the bonds we construct within the shared experiences within the woods, and that’s maybe the best motivator.
However I additionally discover super solace within the woods alone, and often retreat there when issues in the actual world get annoying in order that I can loosen up, recharge, and refocus. Maybe probably the most vital instance of that’s my weblog submit about a couple of hours I spent in a tree stand late afternoon on Sept. 11, 2001.