Now that it’s fall, we’re heading into some of the best hunting seasons of the year. Even if you yourself are not a hunter, you cannot help but notice the hunting-related posts on social media and the upswing in camo and related accessories at your local stores. My personal adoration of the outdoors and hunting isn’t just because it’s part of my job, though, it’s a lifelong love affair with all the little things that make up a good hunt. And because I love it, I tend to make attempts to sway others to at least try it out and, with that in mind, these are the reasons you should camo up and hit the woods this fall.
Meat, meat, and more meat
“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” Aldo Leopold
This is, of course, the most obvious factor in a good hunt. Not only does the meat obtained while hunting taste good, it’s better for you than what you pick up at your local grocery store. Wild game feasts on the vegetation in the great outdoors, they aren’t injected with chemicals, and they give whole new meaning to the term “free range” which farmers and grocers alike tend to throw around as the end-all, be-all of good meat. It’s true quality meat, and it doesn’t get any fresher than watching it go down right before your own eyes.
If you aren’t a fan of venison – although, come on, who isn’t? – there are a multitude of other options. There are fall turkeys, elk, moose, bear, nilgai, snake – the list goes on. Let’s not forget feral hogs, which provide some fantastic sausage, bacon, and roasts, and can be hunted year-round. Then there are the many birds filling the sky: duck, pheasant, teal, geese, and so on. When it comes to variety, nature has the refrigerated section of your local grocery store beat, hooves and webbed-feet down.
Face it, unless you’re a diehard vegetarian, meat is a major attraction, and bringing home said meat with your own two hands? Awesome.
“Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.” Fred Bear
The value of time spent outdoors cannot be stated strongly enough. Fresh air, birdsong, and a little peace and time to yourself are all to be valued, and when you’re hunting you get those things in spades. Hours upon hours worth. If you’re concerned about being disconnected from WiFi, well, maybe that’s all the more reason to get away from it. Then again, quite a few hunting spots have cell service, and many hunters pass the time hanging out on Facebook and posting hunting blind selfies.
If you dislike the cold, good news, there are more than a few ways to stay warm in your hunting blind this year. Not only are there options for layers and soft, warmly lined jackets, there are gloves with fingers that snap back for trigger access, hand and foot warmers, heavily insulated boots and hats, and even heated pouches that can be hung around your waist, keeping your fingers toasty warm while you wait.
There’s something to be said for the beauty of nature. Even if you consider yourself an indoor, television-watching, couch-sitting, computer-game-playing, stationary-as-all-get-out kind of person, you have to admit it’s a good idea to go outside once in awhile.
“One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted…if one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job.” Jose Ortega y Gassett
Even if you’re sitting in a blind or tree stand, you’re going to get exercise when you hunt. The trek out to your blind and back counts, and when you score on that big buck, you’re going to have to field dress it and hump the rest back to your truck. If you do a spot-and-stalk, you’ll get even more exercise, using muscles that have potentially been out of commission for some time in your attempts to remain as quiet as possible, sneaking through the woods. You might be surprised how much of a workout you can get on a hunt; you won’t just break a sweat, you’ll end up drenched with it, dragging a few hundred pounds of deer through the forest.
“It has always seemed to me that any man is a better man for being a hunter. This sport confers a certain constant alertness, and develops a certain ruggedness of character…moreover, it allies us to the pioneer past. In a deep sense, this great land of ours was won for us by hunters.” Archibald Rutledge
If you have kids – or even if you don’t – hunting is an excellent way to spend family time. This applies to husbands, wives, kids, brothers, sisters, friends – if someone is in your life, they’re a candidate for hunting partner. If you are a parent, or have friends with kids who are interested in learning to hunt, taking those kids hunting is a great way to teach them responsibility, patience, and a deep appreciation of the outdoors.
Although it’s absolute heaven spending time all by your lonesome waiting for the perfect game to stroll by, it can also be fun working as a team. Just make sure you keep conversations to a minimum, and when you do talk, do so quietly.
“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsmen is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extinction.” Theodore Roosevelt
Yes, hunting and conservation go together like peanut butter and honey, coffee and cream, bacon and eggs – you get the idea. Hunters play an integral role in conservation, more than most people realize. Licensing fees and donations account for literally hundreds of millions of dollars annually that go specifically to conservation efforts. Hunting as an industry supplies the economy with roughly 700,000 jobs in North America that are directly tied to those hunts, although if you were to count each and every job somehow linked to hunting, the number would be much higher. There are also more game animals now than there were years ago, for example, thanks to the conservation efforts of hunters, there are now more than 1 million elk in the United States as opposed to the 41,000 elk around in 1907. Retail spending topped $38 billion a couple years ago, a number that tends to increase each year, giving the economy a significant boost. In addition, many hunters plant food plots, which feed more animals than just the few that are harvested each year.
It would be easy to go on, but the bottom line is this: hunters as a whole tend to be more conservation and nature-minded than the average citizen, not less. Nurturing the outdoors is good for the sport because it gives hunters the opportunity for healthier, bigger game – and more of it. Most hunters aren’t looking to dominate nature, crushing it beneath their booted feet, they’re interested in participating in its cycle, watching it grow, and appreciating what it has to offer. Hunters are the ultimate conservationists.
You have not felt gratitude for your meal until you’ve sat down to eat meat you hunted, dressed, and processed yourself. Hunters have a special connection to their meat, one laced with appreciation, thankfulness, and, yes, a certain awe for the simple fact that they were able to take part in an age-old tradition: going out in the woods, finding game, and bringing it back. More than a few hunters say a prayer after shooting game, a prayer thanking the animal for giving its life for their own nourishment, a prayer of appreciation for their own participation in the sport, and a prayer of joy. Hunting is an experience with the ultimate payoff, because you don’t just sling lead down-range at paper targets and call it a day, you use your gun or bow to take down game to feed yourself, your family, your friends, or people who gather at your local church each year for a hunting-specific feast. Many hunters donate meat to shelters. The meat does not go to waste, and, in fact, can be a large enough amount to feed a family for some time.
The Bottom Line
“If some animals are good at hunting and others are suitable for hunting, then the gods must clearly smile on hunting.” Aristotle
There are countless reasons why you should hunt. It’s a way to get back to nature, a way to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for wildlife and, yes, the hunting and gathering process. It’s a way to give yourself the gift of that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when the steak on your plate is from that mule deer you took down last winter after spending hours in the rain, praying something, anything, would wander into view. You don’t get that sense of pride from stalking the aisles of your local grocery store, now do you?
Although it pains me to admit it, it’s true that hunting is not for everyone. There are those who simply will not enjoy it, for one reason or another, those who cannot bring themselves to squeeze the trigger or loose an arrow on Bambi’s mom or dad. Of course, if those same people have no problem chowing down on meat picked up at the local Pick ‘n’ Save, one might be forced to question whether or not they understand the likely incredibly poor treatment of those cows as opposed to the wonderful free-range life of wild game.
If you feel perhaps your children are too young, yes, all kids are different. While some are more than capable of hunting at age 7, others might be better off waiting until they’re closer to their teen years. Of course, polls taken of kids who hunt – or want to hunt – show they have a tendency to want to hunt as young as 5. Kids tend to have a simpler life view than adults, and as long as they’re properly instructed in the safe handling of firearms, more power to them. There are no words to describe the excitement and pride on my daughter’s face the first time she had a successful hunt, let alone the moment she first ate meat she’d hunted herself. If you want to teach your kids responsibility and gratitude, hunting is the way to go.
It’s hunting season, and with the many game options out there, you have your pick, whether you want your meat on the hoof or wing. If you’ve never hunted before, maybe this is the year to try it, and if you’re a seasoned hunter, perhaps you could find someone new to bring into the hunting blind. Sharing your love of hunting is one of the other great things about being a hunter; when someone new becomes addicted to this great sport, you cannot help but share their excitement.
Eat what you kill, and kill what you eat. It’s simple, really.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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