I love hunting animals. That's an "offensive" statement to some folks, but I can't fully understand why. As humans, we're omnivorous, as anyone that paid attention in biology class could tell you. Meat eating is in our DNA, and I oblige it. To say that I love to hunt is an understatement. I love everything about hunting: I love the talk, the equipment, the preparation, the stalk, being in the woods, the kill, the meat preservation, the cooking and, of course, the eating. I thought I'd talk a little bit about the why of it all.
My dad took me dove hunting as a kid and I loved it. I loved the challenge of it, and I loved the fact that we could bring home food that we had gone out and killed ourselves. Many Americans take meat for granted. There really are people out there that believe meat comes from factories somewhere; they really are that ignorant. The rest of us know that eating meat requires the killing of animals. I choose to be in charge of that killing, when I can. My meat is 100% organic, locally grown, hormone free, free range, humanely butchered, or whatever other buzzwords that the overly-sensitive folks are throwing around this week. This leads me to my next point, which is the fallacy of how "inhumane" hunting is.
Hunting is as old as life itself. All organisms compete for life, and humans are at the top of the food chain. The idea that hunting is bad is a very new concept, relatively speaking, since man has been hunting for the entirety of his existence. The only reason that the anti-hunting crowd even exists is that the commercial meat industry has removed the need for families to hunt. Meat can now be "harvested" at your local grocery store. The anti-hunting activists claim that hunters are cruel, but they don't post footage of commercial slaughter houses on their websites. My kills are humane, and the animals I kill don't spend their lives on death row. They grow up in their natural habitat, get a chance to breed, and live their lives in the manner that God intended.
God made us in his image, and I'm convinced that God is a meat eater. Anyone that differs from that opinion needs to show me God's dental records. I am a meat eater and, as such, I enjoy harvesting my meat myself. I love the chase. I love trying, and usually failing, to outsmart the critters that I'm after. I love being in the woods. I love seeing wildlife, even when I don't kill it. I love the adrenalin that pumps through me when a deer walks in front of my tree stand. I love the process of releasing my arrow or pulling the trigger, and validating the many hours of practice that got me to the moment of killing that magnificent animal. I absolutely love the emotions that are involved in the hunt, as complex as they are.
Killing an animal is no small thing to me; I don't take it lightly. Killing deer has been an emotional experience for me, almost spiritual. I feel a hint of lament for the killing of such a beautiful animal, and I'm so thankful for the harvest of so much meat; it's very moving. I wish that the English language allowed me to fully express what I feel when I kill an animal. I'll never be able to fully explain how I feel when I bring that meat home to my family, or when I put my hand on the ribs of that still warm deer.
I guess it's safe to say that I love to hunt, but it's also safe to say that I support hunting because it gives back to the environment. Hunting pumps many millions of dollars into conservation efforts, billions of dollars into the American economy, and is a vital piece of effective wildlife management efforts across the globe. I'm proud to support the wildlife conservation efforts that hunting contributes to, while enjoying the sport that I'm passionate about.