“I don’t hunt to kill, I kill to have hunted. Hunting calms me, puts my head in the right place, and puts me back in touch with the world I live in. And it does it in a physical, mental, and spiritual way that nothing else can. Hunting, not just walking around in nature, makes me feel grounded into the world that is happening right now, right under my feet and all around me.” – TTAG contributor Jon Wayne Taylor
People that don’t hunt will not understand this. That’s not a slam on them; just a point of fact related to something one has to experience.
I think for me it is also fueled by hunting at a young age with my Dad. I remember the time just sitting with him … in the woods … not talking, just … there.
Your friend has a nose bleed. Did you shoot him with that gun?;-)
What is that rifle?
I thought the nose bleed was troubling myself, but don’t worry, it stopped pretty soon after that.
That is an Ambush Firearms 6.8SPC. It was a gift from the folks at Daniel Defense and was the first AR I ever personally owned. I, and now my son, have killed just about every kind of animal on 4 legs there is in Texas with it.
That particular photo is from a charity hunt, in which I was the beneficiary. It was quite a surprise to me, as I thought I was just tagging along to help another friend of mine who was going on a ram hunt. I was excited to just be on the hunt with him. I was blown away when the folks from Veteran Outdoors showed up and told me the hunt was for me. A west Texas ram hunt was the dream hunt of mine, and they made it happen all on the sly.
I don’t feel anymore spiritual about harvesting game than I do buying free range chicken at the grocery store. But then, I look at huntung the same way as I look the store… Get in, get out, get the food in the fridge, and get on with my life.
That’s probably a byproduct of spending weekends and summers on my g-parents ranch as a child, though. Processing animals and picking vegs and fruits out of the garden wasn’t religious experience, it was a chore you had to complete to earn spot at the dinner table.
You want eggs for breakfast? Better get out to that coup and get them. You want heat? Better split that wood and stack it on the back porch. You want pecan pie? Better crack that bucket of pecan nut. You want deer jerky? Better skin and quarter that doe….
That’s just the way it was.
I can relate to this pov, too.
But there’s a way to look at “chores” in a larger context as well. When I was a kid, I hated tending the (several acres) of garden … now, I look back at that time with a different perspective, and this perspective has altered how I approach other things.
Kind of a “We get out of things what we seek to get out of them.”
Diff’rent strokes, I guess…
“When I was a kid, I hated tending the (several acres) of garden … now, I look back at that time with a different perspective, and this perspective has altered how I approach other things.”
I hear ya…
If someone were to tell me, at age 12, that I would enjoy, *gasp* cutting the yard, I would have colorfully told them they were out of their flipp’in minds.
Now, a broad hat and good pair of in-ear monitors with a quality source and I’m good to go…
I share this view as well having grown up on a dairy farm where hunting was more about sustenance and crop preservation. That said, it was a right of passage for young men and women in my home town. While I never found anything spiritual about hunting, I do feel that it’s an important tradition that connects us to our past and reinforces good values like independence and self sufficiency.
I I didn’t grow up that way( for better or worse). I imagine even with many of those that did their days are spent with tv cubicles, cell phones, mortgage payments, and food from a sack. Hunting and fishing is a way to recentre. Like thanksgiving or church a time to reflect and affirm what is important.
In addition to the the benefits that Jon Wayne Taylor listed, hunting:
— radically reduces car-deer collisions (and resulting deaths)
— is a critical survival skill when facing starvation
— provides an outstanding foundation to be effective in guerila warfare
And tasty as hell!
Not only tasty, I forgot to mention healthy … most wild game has much less fat, cholesterol, and artificial hormones/steroids/antibiotics than the meat which you buy in the store.
Yessir. That right there is a benefit to hunting that a lot of folks overlook. Unless you’re a vegan, healthy meat is best shot on the hoof than picked up at a safeway.
I gave a hand to a neighbor gutting her deer and she sent the liver back with me.
Best liver i’ve ever had.
Just need to take a hunters ed/safety and i’ll be out for my own deer next year!
Some of the most peaceful, reflective moments of my life happened sitting in a tree stand as the sun was coming up and the woods were coming to life. It’s a shame so many kids will never have the same opportunity.
Which part of your satisfaction equation is propping your gun up against the animal and posing for pictures? Spiritual, mental or physical?
Mostly the mental. Because now I can look at that animal on the wall, and that photo below it, and remember those great days hunting with my friends. I can hand that gun to my son, with which he took a much larger ram a few years later, and show him that this is the gun in that picture. He has a photo like that as well, with both of us having our first ram, with our first AR, and it’s both the same gun.
The taking of trophies is something primal and human. 2 things Modern Man has lost touch with.
Ortega y Gasset
Thank you so much. I have been looking for that for years.
You bet, thanks for the essay.
Probably preaching to the choir here, but we need to make sure that we share hunting with the next generation. I started my stepson off with the WI gun deer season and he’s harvested 4 deer in the last 3 seasons. I invited a WI State Trooper friend of mine to hunt on our land, and he took his 9 year old son. While helping my other friend track a wounded 8-pointer, we kicked up a trophy buck.
The trophy buck ran like its a$$ was on fire, and I couldn’t get a shot. In its quest to flee from us, the trophy buck ran out of steam in about a 1/4 mile and presented my State Trooper bud with a clean broadside shot.
I’ve already built an AR for my son Emerson as well. Perhaps I’m nervous that the WI gun deer harvest and license sales were significantly lower than last year, but I worry about our growing hipster / millennial society and how they view hunting as “icky.” And they vote (maybe more than once since we don’t have voter ID).
Re: “we need to make sure that we share hunting with the next generation”
That’s a big problem with trying to hunt in Texas. Most land is private, and what little public land that’s available is so barren and over hunted you’re literally lucky to see a single squirrel. If you’re rich you can buy a hunt but they’re almost all guided or canned, or if you know a guy you might be able to get a lease. Good luck funding an open lease though. No, the biggest danger to hunting for the younger generation is simply lack of opportunity.
My father taught me to handle and shoot guns, something I have always enjoyed, and early on in my childhood he was an active hunter. He took me small game hunting a couple of times but really by the time I was old enough to handle a centerfire rifle or shotgun for big game something happened and he lost interest. So I really never got a good introduction to hunting. It wasn’t until my own teenage son developed an interest that I actually made the effort to learn hunting and hopefully pass on the heritage of hunting and firearms. I can’t say that I’ve been all that successful at that with my son as he couldn’t care less about it at this point, but I’m hoping someday it will reawaken in him as it did for me. One positive thing that has happened is I spent 8 days this fall hunting with my younger brother for the first time. We live 900 miles apart, so this was a special opportunity. He is a much more experienced hunter than I am and I learned much from him, but mostly just being together in the woods doing something we both love is a memory I will always cherish. The two coolers of venison I brought home is just icing on the cake.
That’s awesome, man. Thanks
Just googled hunting accidents, because entertainment. I couldn’t believe how many there were just from this season so far. I see where the excitement factor comes in, you might not come back.
Google traffic accidents. You want to know real fear.