In recent months my son and I have been chasing the ever elusive Whitetail Deer. The season has now closed, but turkey season and spring fishing are just around the corner. This is a heritage my father has passed on to me, and I’ve tried to pass it on to my son. It’s been one of those loves we have in common, and consequently it brings us together.
I realize this outdoor activity isn’t for everyone. After all, one can enjoy the outdoors without taking animal life, and many of you graciously share snapshots of nature through your blogs and stellar photography. And I get it that non hunters DO contribute heavily to the preservation of wildlife and there habitat.
I decided to write this post not as a defense of hunting, but to relate why I–and other hunters–think the sport is important.
- It’s a family affair. As I’ve already mentioned, hunting often runs in families. I’ve observed this over the years, and it does bring families together. Like other activities or sports, I think it instills a sense of accomplishment in young people. It builds their confidence and plants the seeds of personal responsibility–for themselves, nature and their family.
- A connection with nature. Just a hundred years ago or so, hunting was a way of life for our ancestors. I know that it’s not so much a necessity now, but I still think it’s important that some of us keep a connection with the primitive skills. Even in our more sophisticated world, we can’t survive without food, shelter and clothing. Today, most people place a piece of meat in a buggy and take it home with the swipe of the credit card. Nothing wrong with that, but we are still leaving the dirty work to someone else. All meat requires that someone does the dirty work.
- Hunting is a viable way to conserve and manage game. Here in Georgia, effective game management has brought the whitetail deer and wild turkey back in record numbers. It may seem counterintuitive that killing animals will help preserve them. But it does help control populations, and it helps propagate healthy genetics throughout the species. Also, the money hunters inject into wildlife conservation goes a long way to protect the resources that cause these animals to thrive.
- Fair chase. Hunting is often depicted as being unfair. But understand that hunters are not the stereotyped bug-eyed maniacs, gunning down anything that moves in the woods. No, most of us are very selective in what we take from nature, and we try to be as humane as possible. Hunters have to respect the laws and the legal limits those laws have created. And if you compare us with the grocery store provider of meat, we are no where close to taking that many animal lives. We go to the animal, wait patiently for the animal, elude their well-developed senses, and we take very few. More times than not, we leave the woods empty handed.
- My family loves venison and other wild game as table fare. The meat tastes great and is very lean–a totally organic and healthy choice. We also share this with family and friends who don’t hunt.
- Hunting stimulates the economy big time. Millions of dollars go into Georgia’s economy each year from hunters, who not only buy licenses but also products and services. This produces jobs and economic growth. It also stimulates an awareness of game species and promotes education of the sport and of being a good steward of the environment.
- The spiritual side. God continues to teach me a lot through the outdoors. Each sunrise assures me that God is faithful. And if He designed this world with such care and beauty, then He must care about me. His eye is on the sparrow; His eye is on me. But hunting reminds me that this world is flawed, that we are locked into this struggle for survival. We’re terribly fragile. The things of this world don’t last, tumbling endlessly through cycles of death and rebirth. One day He will make all things new.Well, this is America and just one man’s opinion. Please share your views or perspective on the subject of hunting and/or wildlife conservation.