Why I hunt.
I’m proud to say I’m a hunter. I was raised on wild game. My father was a moose hunter and as far back as I can remember we always had wild game in our freezer. Putting yourself in nature attempting to harvest your own food is to me just the natural way to do things. I love wild animals, they fascinate me and it’s why I paint them. For me, hunting them for food is just the most natural thing I could ever do.
I do appreciate and understand that it is not natural for the majority of society today. I was reading the book ‘Younger Next Year’ and there was an interesting paragraph that resonated with me… We are unique among all the living creatures who have occupied this planet for millions of years. We have simply stood up and walked out of nature. We are neither hunting or the hunted anymore. We are now out of sync with our biology, our natural born instincts and out of sync with this earth.
I believe there is a huge disconnect in society today regarding our food and where it comes from. I would hazard to guess that the vast majority of our population eats meat (and yes seafood is meat too) and a most of those people would never consider hunting. Most people in society today don’t really stop to think that they are actually hiring somebody else to kill animals for them every time they purchase meat. They don’t believe that they are involved in the process. We’ve turned into a society that doesn’t want to think about the fact that a cheeseburger was a living animal that was raised, slaughtered, processed and turned into a meal just for us. That disconnect is very unhealthy in my view. When you hunt your own food, there is no pretending, there is no disconnect. In my view, deer, elk and moose are so much better than the garbage most people are buying and eating today. Sadly, many farmed animals today live in locked cages, are fed stuff they were never meant to eat and are injected with hormones and steroids so they can get fat quickly. Thats not the kind of meat I personally feel comfortable eating anymore.
In regards to connection, for me there is something so natural and right about hunting, killing and processing my own meat. It’s what we as human beings have done since the dawn of time. It’s only been in the last century that things have changed so much that society now can provide everything so people don’t have to hunt. There was a time when if you didn’t know how to hunt you went hungry. Someone once told me, “We are not apart from nature, we are a part of nature”. Being a hunter to me is instinctual. It’s in our DNA as humans. It’s a lot like being an artist for me; I don’t know why I have a need to create art, I just do. I was born with it. It’s instinctual for me. The need to hunt is no different.
People sometimes ask me, “How can you kill poor Bambi or Bullwinkle?”. The implication is that I’m a cold hearted cruel person with no feelings for killing a majestic animal. The truth is, I’m always a bit saddened when I kill an animal. But it’s not remorse I feel, it is respect for the animal and it’s life. I also feel an immense sense of gratitude to my maker for allowing me to harvest quality lean free range protein for my family. As a hunter I feel like I fulfill my intended roll in the circle of life. The other role I play is conservation. Aligning myself with good organizations are important for me. I often donate my wildlife art toward fundraising dinners to be auctioned or raffled off. The fact is, hunters contribute more to wildlife conservation than any other group.
The desire to hunt has evolved out of most humans today and not everybody can hunt, nor should they. But if you can, it will give your life a richer experience. That I am confident of.