For most hunters, it’s hard to explain why they do what they do. The countless emotions that accompany the adventure are difficult to put into words because it’s just so much more than going out to shoot an animal. It’s about connecting with your family, friends, hunting dog, nature, and yourself. Really, it’s something that you’ll only fully understand once you’ve experienced it for yourself. Below are five attempts to describe why the hunt is so special to those who have experienced it.
1. Family tradition
Some families go to the movies, some venture out into the wild with guns. For many families, it’s a tradition that has been continued for generations. Not that the whole family has to go out and kill a buck, but packing up and spending the time together outdoors provides a natural and peaceful environment to form tight family bonds. My roommate, for example, told me that “While I’ve never had a desire to shoot an animal myself, some of my fondest memories with my dad are hunting. And some of his with his dad are hunting, and it continues through the generations.” Whether it’s a daddy-daughter relationship, father-son, mother-daughter, etc., special bonds can be forged from an early age spending that quiet time together learning patience, silence, and respect and awe for the world around them.
2. The learning process
There’s a lot of learning that goes into hunting. One has to learn about different kinds of guns, how to fire them, and most importantly, how to stay safe with them. You have to learn about the surroundings that you will be in-various plants and the benefits or dangers they pose and what kind of game you could encounter in your region. You learn how to track game, what their prints look like, and where they are likely to be. You may have to learn how to train and work with a hunting dog. There’s a certain satisfaction that can only come from becoming expert at a certain set of skills or mastering a specific subject.
3. Wildlife interaction
A big part of hunting for many people is the natural beauty that they can not only see, but become a part of without interrupting it. Nothing compares to being able to observe the wild, undisturbed and natural. It’s serene, calm, peaceful solitude. You form a connection with nature that you just can’t get by going to the zoo or going on a hike. Hunting is the ability to see the circle of life and take your place in it.
4. Fresh, natural meat
The meat is perhaps the most obvious of reasons to those who don’t hunt, but it’s still worth mentioning. The flavor of game that you shot, dressed, and cooked yourself cannot even be compared to any options the grocery store can offer you. It’s also much healthier, because it is so natural. No chemicals have been used to help your game grow bigger or to process the meat. The meat you get straight from the wild tends to be much more lean and less fatty. In short, hunting is a healthy and delicious alternative to store-bought meat.
For many hunters, it’s about the adrenaline rush that comes with stalking your prey through the woods and out thinking these animals on their home turf. It’s about the physical exertion of hiking through the woods or hills. It’s about roughing it and knowing survival skills. It’s the thrill of hearing your hunting dogs baying as they catch on to the scent of their prey. It’s the excitement that you can only experience during a hunt.