Thursday, May 01, 2008

Why do we hunt?

© By Othmar Vohringer

Arthur from the Simply Outdoors blog posted an interesting article about promoting hunting. The idea came from an article written by Shane Mahoney, Head of Research for the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In his article Mahoney outlines the agendas of hunters and anti hunters and how they represent them to the public. He summarizes that while the animal rights put a human perspective on the issue, the hunters seem to miss this part of their argument completely. While it is important to state that hunting does have many benefits to wildlife conservation, society and the economy, it is also, if not more so, important to explain why we engage in hunting. What do we get personally out of hunting?

This is an important point with which I have to fully agree with Mahoney and Arthur. In fact I have often written about the human aspect of hunting. It is my belief that by just stating the obvious and cold facts of hunting doesn’t do us a great service. I even would go as far as to say that doing only this lets us appear as emotionless, perhaps even cold blooded to a point.

On the other hand if we explain to people why it is that we hunt and what our feelings are we appear as humans and thus sound believable because people can relate to us personally. It is very likely that the lack of the human factor, feelings and motivations, in our explanations makes it so difficult to explain to a non-hunter what hunting is all about and why we hunt. “I hunt because it contributes to the community and is a proven method to wildlife control” does sound rather impersonal and removed to a non-hunter. It’s also an explanation that leaves more questions than answers.

On the other hand, if I let a non-hunter know my personal motivations and benefits then he might understand and realize that I am a caring person and not the uneducated trigger-happy imbecile that the animal rights and anti hunters portray to be a hunter.

On that note I will leave you with the personal reasons of why I hunt.
  • For me hunting is a way of life. I have grown up in a family of hunters and anglers and do not know any different. To me hunting is not a sport, it is part of who I am as a person and denying that would be to deny part of me and to live a lie.
  • Hunting is an important part of our human nature. People are hunters; even the ones that do not hunt animals still have that instinct in them. Recognizing and endorsing this part of our natural make up has made me a more balanced and happier person.
  • Although in the modern world there is no requirement to provide food by means of hunting and gathering it still gives me great satisfaction to do so and it brings me closer to my natural roots. Providing food and nourishment through hunting is a skill that needs disciple, patience, endurance and knowledge. Such characteristics also serve a person well in everyday life.
  • As a hunter I have learned the skills that once were common to all humans and it gave me a greater understanding of what my place in nature is. I have realized that we are not a separate entity but rather just one small part of nature. This in turn has made me more aware of just how small our earth is and how short our time here is. The realization of this resulted in more respect for what some call God’s creation and others Evolution.
  • While shooting an animal is the intended goal of every hunt it is not necessarily the driving force that makes me to go hunting. Being able to forget the chores of everyday life and becoming one with nature, absorbing every intricate detail around me, if only for a few hours, has an overall relaxing and healing effect on me.
  • Above all hunting has taught me respect for nature, animals and other humans. And finally hunting has given me enjoyable experiences, camaraderie and memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Now that you know my reasons for why I hunt perhaps you’re inclined to share yours with me and more importantly with a non-hunter the next time you get asked; “Why do you hunt?” Don’t be afraid to put a human perspective to your reasoning, it will only make your argument more believable and human. That might be all that is needed to make your point and be respected.

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Anonymous said...

Great post Othmar. I do think that hunters need to tell people why they hunt on a personal level. That may be the most convincing argument of all when it comes to why hunting is a good thing.

SimplyOutdoors said...

Great post Othmar. I love reading this posts and getting to know the bloggers out there on a more personal level and being able to read the reasons they hunt.

Thanks for the link as well.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thank you Kristine and Arthur for the comments and the kind words. I too think that hunters should not be afraid to get "personal" in explaining why they hunt. and yes Arthur I too like to read other blog for that very same reason.

Tom Sorenson said...

Very nicely done - I was glad Arthur posted that as it prompted me to write my own blog about it as well. Also it has sparked a ripple effect and has allowed me the opportunity to read many other people's reasons why they hunt - which is always enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.

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