Author: This post is written by Judith Wright. She likes outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, trekking and cycling.
Hunting has been the quintessential American way of life for generations. There are millions of active hunters in America, and a sizable majority is ethical and do not let animals they hunt go to waste.
In the wake of the killing of much loved Cecil the lion, a lot of negative publicity has been generated by the sport of hunting. There has been a public outcry to ban hunting of all animals, whether it be for sport or to bring food to the table.
But what do genuine hunters feel about the whole affair?
Hunting is a tradition that runs in hundreds of thousands of American families. It is the stuff that many of our childhood memories are made of. Very few people take up hunting if they are not exposed to it early in their life, so that invariably means that most hunters mastered the skill with the help of their Dads, Grandpas or siblings. Who would want to let go of something that connects them so deeply to people they care about the most?
If you are a non-hunter, the following reasons will let you know why many people hold on to their love for hunting, and how they are trying to do it the right way.
1) Hunters Never Let Harvest Go to Waste
True hunters never let the game they hunt go waste.
Deer, elk and others hunted animals are carefully skinned, organs are removed and meat is preserved. A full grown bull elk can supply the required animal protein for a small family for almost a year.
Animals that are hunted in the wild are the most organic, hormone and antibiotic-free, and natural meat that you can get. It is delicious and safe, and is without doubt the healthiest fare that you can serve at your table.
The fact that most hunters eat what they hunt also makes them have an inherent respect for their game. They take pride when they take out a buck, quick and clean, but they also set to work to harvest the meat and other useful parts.
2) Hunting Is a Testimony of a Hunter’s Love for Nature
All true-blue hunters have an unbreakable bond that binds them with the mountains, woods, dirt tracks and frosty early mornings in the wild.
Many hunters enjoy the deep visceral connection they feel with nature when out hunting in the woods. The crackle of twigs beneath a deer’s hooves, the buzzing of pheasants and ducks during the hunting season, the sound of the woods awakening at dawn, and smell of fresh gunpowder after the first shots are fired are all sounds and smells that a hunter cherishes.
It is difficult to explain to a non-hunter but the thrill that many get from hunting is hard to put to words.
3) Hunting Strings Together Generations
For those who have grown up in the rural areas, hunting is a family tradition that is passed on from one generation to another. Children are taught to hunt and fish from early years. They enjoy going out with their family and hunting becomes a much-loved family affair with aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, grandparents and parents joining in.
If you have been lucky enough to have been taught hunting as a kid by someone in the family, you will surely remember the proud stories and legends that have passed down generations, right from the exploits of forgotten ancestors to those of your proud Grandad.
Hunting for many folks is a way of connecting to their loved ones and their childhood memories. A solitary walk in the deep woods is cathartic and cleansing for hunters. They are away from the maddening worries of everyday life and experiencing something that they truly love and are passionate about.
In many parts of America that lie far from glittering city sheen, hunting is revered as much as loved. Hunters respect the wilderness and take pride in initiating their young children into the tradition.
Hunters who have been raised in family of hunters live by the rule that you eat what you hunt. They look upon hunting as a way of bringing the best food to the table. Children are taught to respect the kill and to never kill for fun.
4) Hunters Are Conservationists
Those who sit in 40-th floor offices and join anti-hunting groups never try to experience the smell of wet earth after the season’s first showers or the purity of the soul of a hunter gatherer.
Hunters absolutely love outdoors. They are the most at home when out in the wild, walking along gravel paths into unadulterated nature. This is also the reason why some of the greatest conservationists in America have been revered hunters. They are a part of the outdoors and want it to remain as beautiful, natural and bountiful as it is.
Every year hunters contribute millions of dollars to wildlife and forest conservation, and actively support programs to protect and promote forestation. They realize that nature should be preserved for them to hunt and teach future generations to get in touch with the hunter in them.
If you go out on a hunting trip with a hunter with a non-biased mind you will see how much he or she enjoys just being out in the wild. In many cases even more than landing a kill it is the raw beauty and solitary nature of wilderness that intoxicates a hunter.
5) Hunters Use Firearms Responsibly
Hunting households have firearms and ammunition at home all the time.
Children are taught to use hunting gears like rifle scopes, spotting scopes and guns responsibly and correctly. 8-year olds learn with small caliber guns and move up as they grow older.
Children have positive experience using firearms and realize that it is not child’s play. Youngsters are taught to clean, handle and maintain their weapons properly, and to never touch a gun when parents are not home.
Hunters are amongst the most responsible users of firearms and that is a trait all good hunters pass onto their children. This improves gun safety in our country and helps the new generation learn rules of firearm use.
The opinions and views on hunting are varied and different. But it is an activity that has been around since our cave-dwelling ancestors started gathering food to feed their brood. If done responsibly and legally, it is the best sport to help you connect with your roots, roots that lead to the wild outdoors and beyond.