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I love animals. I couldn’t imagine life without horses, cows, chickens, pigs, goats, deer… you name it. They are all beautiful, majestic creatures. I like them so much, I named my blog after one of the most beautiful, majestic creatures on Earth!
There is something amazing to see the life that has been created on a farm, or in the wild, in the spring. Babies clinging to their mamas for help to learn the ways of this great world. It’s amazing to see a beautiful whitetail standing in the middle of the pasture on a brisk fall morning, breath visible, surrounding it’s head almost like a fog. All of God’s creatures are beautiful.
That being said, I also love to eat them. I’ll happily put a venison steak on the grill and serve it with a side of spinach. I’ll thank God for the provisions He has helped provide me and mine with. I’ll thank that deer repeatedly until my stores are depleted and it comes time to harvest another.
Hunting is not something I take lightly, it is something to take into deep contemplation. Taking a life is not for the faint of heart. However, it’s a necessary evil of being human. We all kill to eat. I don’t care if you’re vegan, vegetarian or a full blown meat eater. We all have blood on our hands. None of us get a pass on causing harm or death to animals, not a single one of us.
Before you argue with me, hear me out. Do you eat vegetables? Do you eat soy based products? Do you live in a house? Do you drive a car? All of these things contribute to the death of animals. How? Deforestation, the miles of trucking to ship these goods to different parts of the country, animals killed to protect agricultural crops, burning of fossil fuels, spraying millions of gallons of pesticides to grow food you want to eat, destroying native crops to grow non-native ones. All of this results in the death of wildlife and we’re all contributing.
So, why do I hunt?
Because I can think of no better, ecologically appropriate way to conserve this world’s wildlife populations.
Without people like me our wildlife populations would go extinct. Hunting is conservation.
Because I would rather eat meat knowing it lived a happy, free and wild life than buy beef from a store that was treated poorly.
Because I know that the animals I harvest were killed humanely and respectfully.
Because wild meat is healthier for me than conventional store bought beef.
Because I take it to heart to thank my harvest for their sacrifice. I realize that I took a life, I realize the sacrifice they made in order to provide me and my family with sustenance.
I hunt as a way to conserve wildlife populations, to feed my family healthy meat, to keep warm, to make nourishing food, and to decrease my dependence on our ever-failing food system.
I hunt so that I can take full responsibility for some of the death and destruction my existence on this planet cause.
I hunt so that I can learn more about nature and by default more about myself. American’s are so detached from not only their food sources, but nature itself. There is so much she can teach us if only we get out, explore, and listen.
The “Hunting is a leisure activity” Argument
The other day, I was having a heated debate about hunting rights. A comment was made that they didn’t think it was necessary or important to give people rights to a “leisure activity.” Let me tell ya, hunting is not a leisure activity.
For the sake of this argument, I am not talking about trophy hunters. While there are trophy hunters that hunt here in the United States, they don’t make up a large percentage of the total hunting population. I am talking about people like me who hunt for food, for survival, not for sport.
So, hunting as a leisure activity… nope. Not going to agree with that. It’s not a leisure activity. Hunting is hard. You’re out in the elements, sometimes for hours (even days on backcountry hunts), waiting on a good shot. You hunt in rain, snow, hot, cold, you name it. You hike, you wait, you aim, you shoot, you follow blood trails, you harvest.
You hope you harvest. See, that’s the thing about hunting, you don’t always harvest. That’s why it’s called hunting, it’s not a guarantee. A couple years ago after all the time spent out in the elements, we didn’t harvest one single deer.
You bring that harvest home and the real work begins. It is not simple, easy, or for the lighthearted to not only kill an animal, but to process it so you can eat it. All of this… hunting is a necessary life skill. Not everyone has the ability, the funding, or the desire to live off grocery stores. We hunt for survival.
I already touched on the killing to eat portion of the aforementioned debate. However, I want to remind you, we all have blood on our hands. My way of humanely harvesting a deer is much better than cutting down an animals habitat for the sake of progress. What happens when we remove that habitat? The animals die off, they are stuck in urbanized areas and hit with cars or they starve, their populations suffer tremendously. What happens to all of that meat? Sadly, most of the time it’s wasted on the side of the road.
When we harvest an animal, we find it, bring it home, and use it. We can eat the meat, use the fur, use the bones, even the antlers. It isn’t going to waste on the side of the highway, it’s being used to sustain our family in more ways than filling our bellies.
This is why we hunt, this is why I believe hunting is important. It’s fine if you don’t eat animal products, perfectly ok with that. However, don’t be so quick to judge or think you get to take the high road. We’re all guilty of causing death to animals, each and every one of us. Living in denial doesn’t make it untrue, it doesn’t make it go away.
Just remember, the animals I harvest are nourishing my growing family, and I thank God for that.