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Why I Hunt

I am a hunter. I write and speak about hunting. I take images and record videos of hunting. I interact with hunters.

Hunting is a major part of both my personal and professional lives.

With my occupation (as a public information officer for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission) and through my personal social media accounts, I am asked frequently about “why I hunt.”

The answer is not a simple one.  And, no, “it ain’t about the killin’ or just shootin’ guns.” Nothing, nothing could be further from the truth!

There are many reasons why I like to hunt.

And, I want to share them with you. Here they are:

I hunt because I like tradition and having my soul hard-wired as a descendant of prairie pioneers who hunted for food

I hunt because I like to have fun meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones, staying close to family members and interacting with landowners, our great Nebraska farmers and ranchers

From Left to Right, my son Noah Wagner, Sophie (a Braque du Bourbonnais hunting dog) and friend/hunting guide, Tom Floyd on a Nebraska upland game bird hunt in rural Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because I like contributing to conservation, being an active participant in science-based wildlife management, and being viscerally tied to the earth and the circle of life

A mature white-tailed deer buck harvested in rural Sarpy County, NE during a recent firearm deer hunting season. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because I like celebrating the freedom of America and being part of the best model for wildlife conservation in the world – The North American Model of Conservation

I hunt because I like, appreciate and understand what it takes to have excellent wildlife habitat —whether it is in the woods, the waters, the wetlands, the grasslands or the croplands 

Wild turkeys utilize a harvested, no-till cornfield in winter with snow falling in rural Sarpy County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because I get to see first-hand the benefits of the U.S. Farm Bill (e.g. Conservation Reserve Program – CRP), the single largest source of federal funding for conservation on private lands

The beautiful grassland habitat of the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) on the family farm in rural Sarpy County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because I like pure adventure, adrenaline rushes and that no two hunting trips are the same

I hunt because I like to make memories that will carry me well into my senior years

I hunt because I like the solitude and just listening to the sounds of nature

I hunt because I like inspiring moments afield such as watching sunrises and sunsets in wild, rural places

The glow of sunset mixed with clouds as witnessed during a December muzzleloader deer hunt in rural Sarpy County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because I like feeling and smelling the wind

I hunt because I like of the physical benefits hunting offers to work muscles, burn calories, and get Vitamin D for the body

I hunt because I like the intensely personal, wellness-like experience it provides to clear the mind, reduce stress and learn even more about myself

I hunt because it helps hone life skills and positive attributes such as patience, resiliency, self-discipline and safety

I hunt because I like escaping the concrete jungle, the technocracy and the hustle & bustle of everyday life

I hunt because I like the exciting challenge that hunting offers with Nebraska weather and the attempt to draw game animals and birds close enough for a shot on their home turf

I hunt because I like viewing all wildlife

A red-bellied woodpecker is seen during a fall wild turkey hunt in rural Douglas County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because I like to watch a good hunting dog work

A hunting dog retrieves a Canada goose from a wetland on a waterfowl hunt in rural Douglas County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because I like reducing my carbon footprint and directly linking with my food and eating healthy, lean, free-ranging, delicious protein   – wild game – that compliments the garden vegetables I grow and serve at the table

Succulent, roasted snow goose meat. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I hunt because it is who I am

So, why do you hunt? 

When one is hunting …

the air has another, more exquisite feel as it glides over the skin or enters the lungs, the rocks acquire a more expressive physiognomy, and the vegetation becomes loaded with meaning.

But all of this is due to the fact that the hunter, while he advances or waits crouching, feels tied through the earth to the animal he pursues, whether the animal is in view, hidden, or absent.

The reader who is not a hunter may think that these words are merely phraseology, simply a matter of speaking. But the hunter will not. They know it is literally true that when they are in the field the axis of the whole situation is that mystical union with the animal, a sensing and presentment of it that automatically leads the hunter to perceive the environment from the point of view of the prey, without abandoning his own point of view.

Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting, 1942

Waterfowl hunters in a pit blind ready themselves for the arrival of Canada geese during a goose hunt in rural Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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