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I Hunt, Therefore I Am

by Philip O'Neil


          I once read an anti-hunting article that said there is no place in modern society for hunting. This article like many of its kind portrayed all hunters as heartless, barbaric, bloodthirsty “rednecks”. Just to be accurate, we unfortunately do have those in our fraternity who fit this description and give all of us a bad name…. The good old boys who have no respect for animals, game laws and human decency are in the minority however. The rest of us that number in the millions in North America alone must then be somehow genetically flawed, misinformed, misguided and brainless morons incapable of making informed decisions and following our natural instincts. How else could we explain our passion for hunting….Hmm!   

          Modern society is in such good shape that we should know better than to live a decent life that is closely and inexorably linked to nature, a life that gives us a deep appreciation for its beauty, and the real threats to life’s balance. Educated humans after all do such a wonderful job of looking after humans that animals should be afforded the same treatment…..there is no poverty, suffering, hatred and slaughtering of innocent humans is there? Sadly “modern” society is only more advanced in terms of technology, stressing us at a faster pace and developing every inch of earth into shopping malls. But does that equate to real progress for humans, ecosystems and animals? Oh, I almost forgot…experts living in concrete cities who have never spent real time with nature are the experts in making decisions on how to protect and proliferate wildlife. They instinctively know what is best for mother earth because the lost souls need a cause to give their own miserable lives meaning. We should listen to their propaganda and change our lifestyle to suit “modern standards”. If we lay down our guns and bows and stop paying attention to wildlife then maybe it will go away. I take solace and comfort in nature….people scare me.  

          Life is sometimes merely a game of numbers. The greater the majority the greater the chance you have of winning. Surely if you read in a newspaper that 80% of people surveyed believed that Saddam Hussein has no chemical/biological weapons then that must be true…right?  Anti’s love to play the numbers game. They argue that most people never hunt and have no interest in killing animals….they just want to eat them off of Styrofoam! How is it that not everyone has the same instinct to hunt? That is a fair question. If, for example, 80% of the population has no interest in hunting then the rest of us must be fundamentally flawed. Have we not evolved at the same pace as the rest of humanity or is it that only 20% of the population has evolved despite the trappings of modern society? Who decided that all facets of modern life are improved and reflect the best direction for humans? 

          I was born a hunter. It was not a family thing, as my father did not hunt. He did fish and had a great love of the outdoors and that no doubt that had a positive impact on me. The awakening of these instincts in me happened at a very young age…..it was not a choice so much as a part of me. Hunting is not a sport, rather a way of life, a lifestyle and a way of being. I think and worry about wildlife all of the time, not just when it is convenient or I need a cause to hang my hat on to make me feel worthwhile. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to hunt and develop an intimate knowledge of what really happens in nature’s daily struggle. 

          The ultimate survival of wildlife, habitat and common sense will rest with us it seems. We will have to be the stewards of the land and continue to follow our instincts. It is up to us to help create, or perhaps restore, the natural balance between humans and critters. We all have moments of doubt about what we do as hunters because there is so much complexity in the world around us. That is a normal human emotion but if we can get back to what is natural and instinctual both humans and animals will be the better for it.

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