As this fall season kicks off, I have cause to reflect on the reasons that I hunt. As hunters, it seems that we are constantly competing against one another at the same time we are struggling to defend ourselves against anti-hunters and those who simply do not understand why we do what we do. It is true that our lives as hunters are nearly see-through with social media and other modern-day outlets. It is becoming more difficult for a hunter to “hunt in peace” and go unnoticed.
To me, hunting is centered on the time I get to spend in the field with my family, my friends, and the Creator. The phrase “to each his own” is a vital part of our existence in the hunting community. Whether I choose to take an animal with my rifle or with my bow and at short distance or long range, I am the one who has taken the life. I believe I will be held responsible for how I live my life, the lives I take, the resources I consume, and the time I spend here on Earth. For this, hunting is entirely a personal endeavor. Just as a band of wild sheep has a better chance of survival if they stick together, we too are stronger if we stick together and not divide asunder our own community.
Oftentimes, I encounter hunters who voice their distaste for hunters who participate in doe deer, cow elk, or ewe sheep hunts. I feel this demeaning action is not fair to the system of what hunting and conservation stands for. I ask that if you do not like how wild game populations are being managed in your home state or favorite hunting area, stand up and voice your opinion regarding the state’s management plans. It is not enough to sit back and coach wildlife management from your sofa. If you disagree with a legal hunt the department and biologists stand behind, you can either submit proposals for future change in the management plans or keep to yourself.
Since the dawn of the human race when we decided to inhabit the land of wild beasts, taking their natural resources for our own, we decided to be hunters and conservationists. Hunting is about managing living resources for the benefit and use of man and for the benefit of animal populations, which, in essence, compete against the human race. I encourage you this fall to make more friends in hunting. I encourage you to judge not. I encourage you to introduce someone to hunting and show them how our funds and contributions help preserve wildlife for future generations.