My Thoughts on Hunting
I had a hard time including this part of my life in this page. For several reasons, first of all I am a relatively closed person not letting other people know too much about me. Secondly hunting is something special for me, something that I have tried to explain in the past with little luck. However hunting is such a big part of my life that I felt it had to be included.
I am not a religious person as far as church or worship goes, rather I hold things that are dear to me and listen to the lessons that I learn through these things. Hunting is one of those things for me, not only is it me being in the woods but it is a type of religious experience. I take my time in the woods, hunting or otherwise, very seriously. I consider the week or so that I spend each year hunting necessary to more or less make sense of the rest of my year. When you are in the woods by yourself there is an abundance of time to just think about what has effected you in the past, this time to me is invaluable. Also my hunting time is spent with my relatives many of who I don't see any other time of the year, I wouldn't miss this for the world.
Don't get me wrong I do enjoy hunting for the sense of hunting. In fact I take a great deal of pride from whatever accomplishments I make in the woods. This past year I retired a truly trophy buck, and there is seldom a day since that I haven't thought about it. In my estimation this was one of, if not the proudest moments of my life. In the past too I have made mistakes in my own mind in the woods. Once, I took a deer that in my estimation was too small. I did not take this lightly, in fact it was hard for me to go into the woods for the next year without getting a sick feeling. Like I said I take these experiences seriously. I would also like to add that I not only hunt with a firearm, I also hunt with my mind and a camera. I take the sights I see in the woods and forever ingrain them in my memory and on film. I hope I have given my sport justice in the preceding paragraphs, if not there is a excerpt from a book below that says what I had hoped to.
"Hunting in my experience - and by hunting I simply mean being out on the land - is a state of mind. All of one's faculties are brought to bear in an effort to become fully incorporated into the landscape. It is more than listening for animals or watching for hoofprints or a shift in the weather. It is more than an analysis of what one senses. To hunt means to have the land around you like clothing. To engage in a wordless dialogue with it, one so absorbing that you cease to talk with your human companions. It means to release yourself from rational images of what something "means" and to be concerned only that it "is". And then to recognize that things exist only insofar as they can be related to other things. These relationships - fresh drops of moisture on top of rocks at a river crossing and a raven's distant voice - become patterns. The patterns are always in motion. Suddenly the pattern - which includes physical hunger, a memory of your family, and memories of the valley you are walking through, these particular plants and smells - takes in the deer. There is a deer standing in front of you. The release of the arrow or bullet is like a word spoken out loud. It occurs at the periphery of your concentration." [pp.199-200]
Barry Lopez. 1989. "Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape". Bantam Books, New York.
Here are some links related to hunting
Jim Powlesland's hunting page
NRA home page