The Only Way To Truly Connect With Nature

If it lives in the woods of Wisconsin, I hunt it. Gun, bow, black powder, trap, I use it all. I hunt first and foremost to put food on the table (far tastier and healthier than anything at your supermarket). I hunt responsibly and make every effort to make quick, clean kills every time. I take no pleasure from the act of killing, it's part of life, part of the cycle. I do enjoy being a part of nature, not simply an idle observer. The only thing better than the solitude of the woods is sharing it with someone else, especially someone less experienced. Teaching a child how to read the woods, teaching an adult about animal behavior, showing someone how to safely, responsibly handle a firearm...sharing all the lessons that I've learned from my years of experience, and from the generations before me...that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of hunting.

Unfortunately, not everyone views hunting the way I do, as a simple part of nature. Unlike farm raised animals, wild animals are allowed to live without fences or genetic distortion, as they were intended to live...so hunting is in my mind at least as humane, and in many ways more so, than agriculturally raised meat. Anything that is born WILL die, and if I were a deer or other animal, I would prefer that it be quick, from a hunter, rather than slow starvation, disease, hypothermia, or being torn apart by nonhuman predators. Hunting significantly reduces all of these in animal populations. Hunters purchase millions of acres of land, seeking out prime wildlife habitat, thus protecting it from destruction by development or other uses. Hunters plant food plots, increasing the carrying capacity of the land, allowing animal populations to maintain their health through difficult winters.

On the human side, hunting feeds millions of low income families and decreases the demand for agricultural meats, helping to keep meat prices lower for non-hunting families. Hunting reduces the number of costly and often deadly vehicle-animal collisions.

The average hunter knows far more and cares far more about nature than does the average non-hunter. To us it's not just a place to visit on weekends, or something pretty to look at on our way to work. To us it is a crucial part of our lives, part of our families, a part of our identities that we would be truly lost without.

Is every hunter respectful and responsible? Unfortunately no, of course not. In any group there are good people and bad people. Every activity, organization, occupation, race, religion, nationality, income level has it's share saint-like individuals and frighteningly evil individuals. The overwhelming majority of us fall somewhere in the gray scale that lies between. It is the extremes in every group that get the most attention, and for which every group is judged. Society will be markedly improved when we can learn to judge only individuals for individual actions.

If hunting isn't for you, that's fine, I will make no effort to convert you into a hunter if you don't have the interest. I ask only that you please respect lifestyles that differ from your own. Understand that we do care a great deal for the natural world. We are not at odds with it, not trying to defeat it...we embrace it and consider ourselves a part of it. Humans are, after all, just another animal, no different than a raccoon or a rabbit. To suggest otherwise is to assume a level of human superiority that I'm simply not comfortable with.
hj130 hj130
22-25, M
Sep 10, 2012