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 longtime communications and marketing specialist at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission) and through my personal social media accounts, I am still continually asked: “Why do you 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. Maybe you will understand the lifestyle of hunting better. Here they are:
I hunt because I like tradition and having my soul hard-wired as a descendant of prairie pioneers and others 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
I hunt because I like contributing to conservation, being an active participant, not a spectator in science-based wildlife management, and being viscerally tied to the earth and the circle of life, and the reality of life and death
I hunt because I like celebrating freedom in the United States 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, understand and appreciate what it takes to have excellent wildlife habitat —whether it is in the woods, the waters, the wetlands, the grasslands or the croplands
I hunt because I get to see firsthand the benefits of the U.S.D.A. Farm Bill (e.g. Conservation Reserve Program – CRP), the single largest source of federal funding for conservation on private lands
I hunt because I like pure adventure, adrenaline rushes and that no two hunting trips are ever the same
I hunt because I like to make indelible outdoor 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 the view
I hunt because I like inspiring moments afield such as watching sunrises and sunsets in wild, rural places
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 and bustle of everyday life
I hunt because 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 watching all wildlife and witnessing what is called biodiversity (A term that means all living things are intertwined or connected).
I hunt because I like to watch a good hunting dog work
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
I hunt because it is who I am
So, that is why I 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 advancing or crouching, feels tied through the earth to the animal being pursued, 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. The hunter knows it is literally true that when in the field the axis of the whole situation is that mystical union with the animal …
Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting, 1942