Hunting is important! To non-hunters, hunting is a foreign topic. They do understand the need or purpose of hunting. Ironically, non-hunters get to enjoy the wild places, trails, greenways, parks, and places that hunters have paid for and protected.
Hunters have a heritage and lifestyle that is embedded deep in our souls. As hunters, we understand the heritage, appreciation, and knowledge of our ecosystems that others fail to see. It is not just about “cheap meat” or selfish killing. Meat is cheaper at the grocery store. It is about a choice of what we choose to feed our families and how we want to live.
Our hunting lifestyle provides delicious, nutritious protein for the dinner table when much of our food is processed or modified. Hunters choose to feed health, organic, and wild food for their families.
The purpose for hunting has changed. Back in the day, if a hunter did not harvest a critter, they, and their family went hungry. If a hunter comes home without a filled tag today, you can order fast food!
What hasn’t changed is what we feel when we hunt. The sunrises and sunsets, views, vistas. Hunting today is also about therapy. Humans are Hunters and Gatherers. Hunting means searching or looking for something. Hunters often come home with souvenirs, pinecones, relics, or cool stuff they find. They also come home with a better attitude, stronger spirit, and less stress.
New hunters, that hire outfitters, or guides, seem to feel that their dollars guarantee a trophy, or at least a filled tag. In the past, guides and outfitters were about education. You hired them to teach and show you how. Todays Fast Food society feels that if you pay for it, they will come. The Guide and outfitter are the servants to fill your tag. Oh, and make sure you “don’t screw up my taxidermy mount. Just give the meat to the homeless people.” That takes all the fun out of the hunt.
For many “New Hunters”, Antlers and mounts are about bragging rights, and not memorials to the wild critters. “Look at what I shot!” My ego is better because I killed something instead of, “Providing food for my family was amazing. The great critter symbolizes a lot of skill, patience and luck! What a wonderful memory.” If you are not going to eat it, why kill it?
Private land, or leased hunting, is way different than “wild” public land hunting. The skills required are different. Stalking, woodsman ship, and real hunting skills are way different than shooting out of a hot tub, or off the hood of a truck. There is a difference between being a sportsman and an ethical hunter.
When you hunt “wild”, you are in an environment impacted by bears, wolves, lions, and other wild hunters. Using your senses, experience, and skills will determine if you fill a tag. Your wallet does not insure a filled tag. Your skill, patience, and a little luck will.
If you need an ego boost, buy a mounted head and make up a story. Leave hunting to real hunters. Maybe try becoming a real hunter. Access to wild property is becoming more restricted thanks to Outfitters leases and private restrictions. If people can make a dollar, they will. Many of our hunting laws benefit the wealthy and not the average hunter.
Sadly, if hunting continues to be about filling tags, we will end up like Europe. Only the rich and wealthy can afford to hunt on private access areas.
That ain’t hunting!
For more Montana Grant, hunt him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.