It’s a question I am frequently asked by friends who have known me for years—“Why are you hunting?” I understand why they ask. Growing up, I never showed much interest in hunting. My dad and brother have hunted since I was little, but I never wanted to join. As a teenager, I joked the only shooting I’d do would be with a camera. Part of me felt that the week spent hunting was guy time, which left me to have girl time with my mom.
When I reached my mid-twenties, I realized just how much I enjoyed being outdoors. I started dating a guy who was passionate about hunting and I began to look at it differently. I liked the idea of hunting as a way to provide food for my family one day. Hunting seemed like a way I could combine my love of hiking and the outdoors. And to be honest, I’m a competitive person, I liked the idea of the hunt. I decided to take the hunter safety course to see if hunting was really for me. In that class, I learned more about conservation and the role hunting played. Did you know the money from hunting tags and higher taxes on guns/ammunition went toward conservation efforts? I sure didn’t. Knowing those facts made me feel even better about hunting.
This past fall, I was finally able to go hunting and answer the question of if this was something I really wanted to pursue. I’m happy to say I fell in love with it. I haven’t yet gotten an animal, but being out there, I experienced some of my year’s best moments. It was like I had found something I never knew had been missing from my life. I know I can’t explain this feeling to people who don’t understand it, or have never felt it for themselves, and that’s okay.
Nothing can compare to being out in the tranquil pre-dawn hour, experiencing the still air, seeing a gorgeous orange-pink sunrise streak across the sky as you listen for the faintest sound of movement, eyes scanning the ridge line for an antlered silhouette to appear, sharing the experience with family and friends as you hike through various areas looking for game, and feeling connected to nature. I don’t think anything else I’ve done in life has brought such a feeling of peace and happiness. I can’t wait to get back out there and think about it constantly. I have a lot to learn, no doubt. But I’m so excited for the coming years of learning everything from harvesting an animal to cooking delicious meals to feed my family. I’ve accepted some people might not understand my reasons for hunting, but I know why I’m doing this and that’s all that matters.