Friday, May 23, 2008

Killers!

This medicine knife was made for me by my good friend Wolf Watcher, a master flintknapper, and fellow archer who through his teachings is continuing the traditions of honorable and ethical hunting practices..Thanks Watcher...... Hawk

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

7 comments:

fishing guy said...

Hawk: AMEN; you're preaching to the choir. I enjoy the hunt so much, but the hunt was the important thing. I hunted with my Dad on his last deer hunt. I posted about it from my brothers and my experience. His joy was in the capture. My joy was in that he did make a capture on his last hunt. I just wanted to be with him as he was winding down. I think I missed the same deer a year before and I thank God that I did miss it to allow my Dad to get it.

Sandy said...

Well said!

RainforestRobin said...

I have had these thoughts and feelings so many times. It's as if you have spoken my thoughts and expressed my feelings. Only more eloquently.

When I lived in far northern Maine I saw so many crazed hunters every fall. It was not safe for anyone. There are a lot of lodges up that way that cater to hunters who come up to shoot a bear from a stand that has been baited all summer with junkfood like old donuts, moldy bake goods, bad meat, etc. As you probably know the guide takes the hunter/client to the stand, which is built in a tree and the client waits until the bear comes (like it does each day) to get his food and then the hunter shoots him. Bam! Bam! Whoop Dee Doo! Big brave hunter. It is seriously ill.

And then they don't do anything with the bear accept take a photo standing on it and maybe if they are wealthy they stuff and mount the head on the wall. And most of the hunters stay up all night drinking, then get 2 hours sleep, go out (still drunk) and blast away at anything that moves. Fall in Maine is exquisitely beautiful but sadly I often stayed in doors due to these maniacs.

Thank you for being a clear strong voice for nature and the wild creatures, Hawk.

Stacey Huston said...

Hawk, thank you for saying these words.. I wish more people read your blog so that they too would remember what being in the outdoors is really all about, weather it be hunting or spending time with your family.. the bad are making it harder and harder for any of us to go out and enjoy ourselves without restrictions... You are gifted with words and I hope these words make a difference for our childrens futures..

TSannie said...

Well written sentiment. While I don't hunt (love to fish and eat everything I catch), I have no objection to it when the catch is honored and used. Killing for the sake/thrill of killing, no matter what the target is (except mosquitoes)is wrong on all levels. We had a neighbor who regularly went on hunting safaris here and in Africa and then had the heads stuffed and displayed on his wall. He never ever used any other part of the animal - be it a deer or a lion. (He very well could have been one of the bear hunters in Maine rainforestrobin commented about.) I hated being in his den with all those glassy eyes "looking" at me. Such a disrespect for all living creatures.

Tom Sorenson said...

Very well written - and thought out. I like that I can come here and read a blog post that is not just spouted off the top of someone's head, but rather is thought about, re-hashed, and thought about some more.

Could I link to this article on my blog about "why I love to hunt?" I only will do so with your permission.

Cherie said...

Yes! You will see us on the good road.

Thank you a million times for this post, Hawk! This is, as Sandy comments, well said!

My husband thinks and walks just as you do in this regard. A very conscientious hunter who has taught his children the same. Yes, it's primal and instinctive in good men and women.

But those crazies who kill just to kill infuriate me. I just don't understand. I know of two fellows in particular who have annual events where they go out in the wilds with their friends and shoot everything in sight - sometimes with AK-47s, just for the heck of it. It's wildlife carnage and it makes them giddy. Then, they take photos of the blown-apart, scattered animal parts and post them on blogs!! Something's disconnected in them, methinks. Absolutely sickening.

Anyway, glad to read this. It is salve to my confounded heart to read this level-headed truth.

Thanks, Hawk!