We the hunter at this time of year begin to hear the call from our favorite mountains. The scent is in the air and our blood seems to run a little faster with each passing day. Bucks, does and fawns are seen in fields and along the roads we travel which fuel our desire, admiration and love we have for the game we are about to hunt.
I say hunt because that’s what real hunters do when hunting wild game especially whitetails. Years, many years of hunting in the wild educate you, and you gain more experience than book learning. I was fortunate enough to learn from the best, my dad. What makes my dad the best is it’s never been about the kill but rather being part of the mountains and the mountains part of him. His technique was and still is stalking, sneaking through the woods like a shadow among shadows. He has taken his share of game and fed his family on it just as many other fathers have. I’m sure many a son feels that their father is the best and that is a very special bond that can’t be broken. That is part of the beauty of hunting, the connection between family, friends and the passion we share.
We the hunter become one with nature and respect all aspects of it, that’s what the non-hunter doesn’t understand. They seem only to see that it’s cruel, savage and outdated, for they do not see through our eyes and feel what’s in our hearts. But, I do understand why they feel the way they do when I put on the outdoor channel. Most, not all hunting shows are about harvest of big bucks like the harvest of corn when it’s ready. No hunting is required; you just sit in a luxury tree house overlooking planted fields, or big feeders along with water troughs. The shooter knows to the minute when the big bucks come in and from which direction. And when there are 10 or more trophies in the field they choose which one to harvest, sometimes the shooter looks into the camera and says “none of them are big enough.” Fair chase? I think not. So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a person who knows nothing of hunting, moreover, doesn’t really care one way or another. There you are sitting on your sofa channel surfing when you find yourself staring into the eyes of a whitetail deer. As the screen widens the view is magnificent. Plush fields with many, many big boy deer, antlers high and wide, back legs resemble those of a race horse and they seem to be five feet tall at the shoulder. The sight takes your breath away. And then all of a sudden “BOOM”, the shot from a gun rings out and you hunch forward almost falling to your knees, because that is what the big boy did as you were staring him in the eyes. You watch as his scamper becomes a waddle and then he falls dead. You sit quiet and in shock of what you have just witnessed.
The shouts of joy ring in your ear as the camera pans to the shooter. You want to turn away but you also want to see what kind of person could do such a thing.
It’s a hunter and all hunters hate animals! The whole picture soon becomes clear and now you know what hunting is and why you oppose it. Now the agenda is to stop it at any cost. You spread the word to others and now they too are anti-hunting. You join organizations that not only oppose hunting, but guns as well. For their name is being called and their blood flows a little faster, fueled by the fantasy hunts on TV.
I ask: Do you rise in the morning well before light, do you hike back a trail or drive to your site. Do you go in bad weather like snow, wind, or rain, do you come home in frustration but then go do it again. Do you respect Mother Nature and all of her beauty, do you bring home your trash or neglect what’s your duty. Do you follow tradition and do things fair chase, do you make too much money and luxury is your case. Do you stand before your trophy and do it with pride, or do you stick him in your closet, you were just along for the ride. Do you go to bed at night and your conscience is clear, or do you not have it in your blood, the love for the whitetail deer.