Taking the life from any animal is never an easy thing, the act of killing is not what draws me to the hunt. I am a hunter by instinct, the very nature of us as humans dictates the need to hunt and gather. For thousands of years the act of hunting was a necessity rather than a chosen way of being. In these modern times the hunt is not necessary in order to survive, we can easily find food at a variety of locations to nourish our bodies. But the act of hunting and stalking your prey nourishes something else in us, something primal, or even instinctive. I have hunted and harvested many animals over the years, never once have I enjoyed or liked the killing, I am often elated to see my shot is a good and quick killing one, or am glad that my abilities as a predator have been tested once again in the wild places.
Lately on the television and in countless HUNTING magazines there has been a trend which disturbs me greatly as a hunter, conservationist and lover of the natural world. The hunt has been turned into a virtual killing field, a place where gadgetry and disrespectful practices have replaced honor and integrity. Where ego driven shooters band together in their efforts to see who can kill the biggest and most animals each year , often never eating or using the animals they kill. Many creatures fall prey to these testosterone driven killers each year simply for the sport of the shooting. I recently met a man who returned from Mexico here he bragged about shooting hundreds of morning doves with a shotgun each day, when I asked what they did with the birds he replied “I don’t know, I don’t eat the darned things”. I was instantly angry at his response, but managed to keep my mouth shut somehow. The sport has become more of a who’s who, than a personal journey into the realm of the wilderness and the traditions of the hunt. Certainly the numbers speak for themselves, billions of dollars are spent on hunting gear, advertising, magazines , television shows and all things hunting related by sportsmen and women. Yet we must ask for volunteers to teach our youth hunters safety and conservation, animal rights groups spend billions trying to stop the hunting. Not because there is a need to stop the hunt, but because they are misinformed about what the hunt is all about and are under the impression that all hunters are killers and destroyers of nature. The real fact of the matter is most of us are true conservationists and honorable ethical hunters. I believe we should take the time to teach those who would abuse their right to hunt with disrespectful or disgraceful behavior, only through proper education can we ensure a future for our sport. Without the hunt many species would die of disease and overpopulation, hunting is the tool most successful for the survival of many species in North America. Human encroachment on their natural ranges have made it impossible for many species to coexist in large numbers without some sort of management. Through proper management we can ensure strong populations, good hunting opportunities and healthy herds. I call on all fellow hunters to keep to the good road when it comes to the hunt, our decisions on this earth concerning the hunt and our integrity while in pursuit of our prey, will have a significant impact on the future of our sport. Next time you hear some guy screaming like a mad man and being disrespectful after he makes a kill on the television, change the channel, write a letter, let your voice be heard the future of our sport depends on the honorable way of the hunter being heard instead of the ego driven loudmouths who are making us all look bad. Take a child into the outdoors, they may never become hunters, fishermen or outdoor enthusiasts. But rest assured if they join the ranks of the anti hunters later in life they will remember the time you took them out there, and will recall your integrity and honor. And you will have helped to ensure the future generation will know where we as hunters truly stand and what we are really about. Happy hunting brothers and sisters, and I will see you on the good road…Hawk a/ho