I could just as easily ask why we have sex, why we eat and why we drink. Can you explain the sensation of lust, hunger or thirst? Why bother trying when we all know such feelings from our own experiences. Some of us still hold onto our arguably more distant instincts and cravings, those for hunting and those for gardening. This essay is much less about why we hunt and much more about why we love it.
Hunting brings out the human in the modern being. It, much like fishing, absolves stress and turmoil by putting our feet back on the ground. My seasonal job at the fish hatchery has come to its end just two days before archery elk season opened. My summer has been filled with more of life’s sticks and stones than general, I have been rolling around in the bottom of a metaphoric valley, time to climb some mountains! This morning I ventured out for a quick warm-up, and that it was. With temperatures soaring into the mid 80’s in town, the elk woods were warm enough to make you feel like you were hunting out of season. Regardless of the fact that the elk were probably already pushed out of close proximity to roads, I still had a taste of rejuvenation. I’v got my life back. The best part is that grouse and fall turkey open tomorrow, and I only have six days of work this month. Don’t worry, I worked my American butt off for it.
So why do we love hunting? Well I’m not sure about the rest of us hunters, but for me it’s about being thrown out of all the good, bad and ugly of the working class and back into the purity of my spirit. I can bathe in my thoughts at camp and I can forget them while working the woods. Most importantly, I get to through myself into loneliness. While it might seem, at the time, like a boring proposition; loneliness lies at the core of “No pain, No gain.” The mechanics of solitude’s healing properties must be experienced individually, because I honestly cannot explain how it works in my own words.
If and when success swings my way during the season, meaning and backbone are applied to efforts of otherwise foolishness. It is the hunt I enjoy, but when I can give it a purpose other than the solitude, it gives me a job to preform which balances out those lonely thoughts and maintains sanity. When I get to enjoy a wild meal, it makes me human.
In a glimpse, this is why I love hunting, why other hunters might love hunting, and why it has given me enough energy to start writing in this blog again!