What Does Hunting Mean To You?

As Ortega Y Gasset so famously said, “We do not hunt to kill, we kill in order to have hunted”

As you can see, wiser philosophers than I, and other people of the hunt have weighed in on the subject of hunting since the dawn of man. Just look at some of the amazing cave art found around the world if you don’t believe that.

My thoughts about hunting are simple, and complicated. In the end, I hunt because I can. I hunt because “I am” … a hunter. I make no apologies in that regard.

Here are some of my feelings on the matter.

Care to share some of yours?

 

Some Selected Excerpts

 

“We can only be as strong as the sum total of our experience, and I cannot comprehend a life barely lived without the solid grounds of woods and field beneath the boots. The pursuit of wild things is a foundational activity, built upon the realities of the natural world and the spirit of the quickening heart. It is an opportunity to learn some core moral values, while becoming part of something much larger than one’s self”. – From a Pheasantful of Memories

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“There is a place I have been that many elk hunters must eventually visit. The mountains may shine amidst spectacular landscapes and it may look like typical elk country, but somehow things are different there. It is a land of mystery and natural forces inaccessible by horseback, jeep or other conventional means. Inward rather than outward, it is a journey of the heart on a path unique to each individual. It is a place you only know once you get there”. – From Forever Humbled.

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“A few things I know. A hunter’s fate is determined by his relationship with, and actions upon, the mountain. It probably would not be a mountain goat hunt without a fall of some kind somewhere in the mix, and hopefully I have now had mine. A man’s knee will lose a battle with a rock each and every time, and I am probably not the first person that these goats have observed bashing themselves upon the boundaries of their bedroom.

Perhaps that tired old euphemism is true, sometimes, and what did not kill me will make me stronger. I have been initiated upon the altar of stone, and may now have some protection against further mishaps. My boots will be set down more precisely from now on.

No matter what happens, blame cannot be placed at the feet of the goats. They are just being goats, and what becomes of this insignificant, two-legged animal is not their concern. They know as well as any creature on earth the perils of miscalculation, and the mortal ramifications of a misstep. They live with those truths for practically every breath of their life”. – From Careless For Just A Second Can Get You Killed.

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“At that moment I see through other eyes, from some other time.  A hint of memory flashes and reveals this place as it looked long, long ago. I see the ancestors there, huddled in the mist beneath heavy robes of fur, watching, waiting. I see their spears and primitive weapons, eager to sink their sharpness into hide and flesh. I hear their footfalls and their labored breath heaving in their chest. I feel the spear’s blade upon my hand, at the razor’s edge of all things. They are but a heartbeat away.” From Sacred Ground.

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Elk give perspective to the concept of what it means to be tough.

From our point of view he is a pitiless and unaffected creature, and he expects nothing of you that he would not expect of himself. He is a “game animal” with a lot of game. He believes strongly in equal opportunity, for he will take on all comers with hardly a care. Should you decide to enter his backyard and hunt him, you can tread lightly and show little effort, like many, and experience small success, like most. Hunt him big, and you can peg the throttles until the rockets burn out. He can take it. Can you? Your choice.

Once committed, he will meet you head on and wear you out physically and mentally, a little or a lot. He can grind your hopes into gritty powder and turn your dreams into nightmarish obsessions. He will turn and happily watch from the hill above, as you beat yourself bloody on the rocks. He waits, until you sheepishly stop to pat yourself and make sure that nothing is permanently broken…”              – From An Elk Hunter Looks At Fifty

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I warn them several times to stay clear of my knife in case I slip, but they never miss an opportunity to touch or prod or examine in some way this elk. Their mother has sternly warned them to not ruin their cloths, and both their father and I reminded them more than once. For all the good it does. They want to be close, to smell its’ smell and lay their fingers on its teeth. Even in death, they want to become part of its life. These two are hunters, make no mistake, and I’m proud to be with them on this mountain at this moment in time when two young people chose to join us all in the adventure that we love. – From How It Ought To Be

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“Time is the hunter of all men, and no one knows this better than we do. That knowledge gives us perspective, and direction. In that regard we are never lost in this great big world, not in life, nor even in death… ”                 Michael Patrick McCarty

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