I had a conversation with a young hunter the other day that made me realize more than ever that we as hunters have our work cut out for us in teaching ethical hunting. The image of hunting can be portrayed as brutal, inhumane and unfair if you aren’t careful on how you hunt as well as how you tell your story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a hunter being excited or having fun with their hunt. It is how we relay the message and the purpose that we must consider, and we must teach this to our children.
I was involved in hunting at a very young age. Although I did not hunt myself until later in life, the sole purpose of the hunters I tagged along with was to feed their families. When I finally began hunting myself, I was a single mother, had a single income, and looked to put some food on the table. I took a hunters safety course and learned the safety of firearms and hunting ethics. I also learned that there are a lot of people in our country that frown on hunting, and it is a privilege that should be cherished.
I already knew that wild game is healthier than any of the hormone grown meat you can purchase at the store. The wild game animal eats fresh vegetation and has more nutrients in its body than a farm raised animal. I grew up in an area near Indian reservations, and at a young age, I learned to respect mother nature and the animals. Each time I am fortunate enough to harvest an animal, I make sure to take the time to thank the animal, to thank God, and I am happy to put food on my family’s table.
We as hunters are the guardians and stewards of a long time tradition. There are many activists that would love nothing more than to be rid of us. We must take care in what we choose as ethical hunting. We are the conservationists who lead in supporting and maintaining wildlife in our country. It is the money from our applications and purchase of hunting licenses that allow the division of wildlife to perpetuate wildlife resources. Many non-hunters and anti-hunters get the privilege of hiking and seeing many animals just due to the fact that we purchase a license to hunt an animal.
Each day, remember to be an ambassador. Take pride in what the hunt and respect it.
“In a civilized and cultured country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.”