Why Do I Hunt?
Dr. John Woods 08.13.18
“I hunt deer because I love the entire process; the preparation, the excitement, and sustained suspense of trying to match my woods lore against the finely honed instincts of these creatures,” said Fred Bear. Even today, Fred’s legacy continues in the products he created for bow hunters. They call it the “Fred Bear Way.”
Likewise, all hunters have “their way” as to why they hunt. I have been hunting for about sixty years now, more or less and I have heard all the arguments, all the philosophies, all the pros and cons. I recognize that we who do hunt, no longer have to hunt. Sure, we can drop by the local grocery store to pick up a pack of hamburger for chili or a meat loaf tonight, but that is hardly the point in this modern age. We no longer have to hunt to subsist, though we could and many yet still do around the world, but not here. So why continue to hunt?
Different from many kids today, I was raised in a small rural town in Missouri to love and respect the outdoors. We hunted and fished for recreation and food. Our dad taught us the skills to do this honestly, safely, and respectfully. We never crossed a “Posted” property sign, because there were none back then. Everybody knew everybody and hunting was OK.
We all bought our hunting licenses, and shared our bounty with the landowner that permitted us to hunt. We also helped out around their farms when we could or returned favors. We were neighbors and friends. We closed gates, picked up trash, and helped get the cows back behind the fences. We loved the land, the lakes and ponds and the outdoors. Those are things we never forgot.
Today, for me, hunting is positive mental therapy. I can sit in a tree stand or shooting house almost all day and use my camera more than a bow or gun. Every wildlife sighting is a thrill. It might be a baby bobcat with mom and dad in tow, or a threesome of otters scurrying across a trail ahead of me. It might be a turkey gobbler in full strut or a white-tailed buck chasing a doe across a green field, or slipping silently along a trail. It could be a hawk diving on a mouse for lunch, or white-faced red squirrel coming down a tree just over my head to check me out. Its memories and thoughts to take to the great beyond.
I take game occasionally to insure a balance for the future. It’s called wildlife management now. I take most of the venison to a neighbor with four hungry kids to feed. I am happy to share what the good Lord has shared with me. That’s why I hunt.