We all remember our first hunt; the smell of the morning air, the sounds of the forest as millions of animals wake around you and the feeling of excitement and adrenaline when you down your animal of choice. Something else that most of us will remember is the smile of pride on the face of the mentor that took us on that hunt.
Hunting, the true American pastime, is something that we share with one another. It is a tradition that’s passed from generation to generation, person to person, as we learn valuable life lessons and participate in a special rite of passage.
What it Means to Hunt
Our community is large, well over 14 million strong, and we make up a very large sector of the U.S. economy. In 2011 hunters spent $38.3 billion on the sport, and that has a huge impact on the country. After the economic multiplier effect that converts to $86.9 billion for the economy, which gives the government $11.8 billion in state and federal tax revenues.
Being a hunter, though, is a lot more than getting up early, pointing a gun and spending money. We are a dedicated people who realize the importance of animal populations and know the true meaning of balance. We are leaders in conservation and maintaining the land. And, we understand the heritage of our country – what it means to be an American.
When you make that first kill, clean it and eat it, there is a special wisdom bestowed on you that non-hunters just cannot understand. You know how to provide for yourself and family, and you parallel yourself with your ancestors in an unprecedented way.
Hunting for the American people started with the settlers of the first colony in New England. They utilized the animals in the surrounding areas to survive, and even set up the first hunting season in 1646 to maintain populations.
Sportsmen’s clubs started sprouting up everywhere as the country expanded sea to shining sea. They advanced the interests of hunters and conservation, and ensured hunting rights. They consisted of everyone from the average man to presidents (Theodore Roosevelt), and no one knew or thought they knew what was better for the sport or land than the hunters themselves.
Now, with our beloved sport under the attack of everyone from environmentalists to animal rights organizations, a hunter has more of a societal obligation than ever before. They not only hunt to feed their families and manage the land appropriately to protect animal populations for future generations, but also do everything in their power to stop the radical anti-hunting sect of urban society from using emotionally based, uninformed, and unintelligent reasons to end hunting for us all.
The Future of Hunting
We often talk about the future in our pieces; ensuring the wonderful times we have had in our fields and forests will still be available for our children and grandchildren is of the utmost importance to us. These are important traditions to pass on; every hunter knows the values that hunting has instilled in them.
In an article we came across called “The Value of Wilderness: A Hunter’s Perspective” by Jason Splichal, he explains what every hunter feels but often does not have the words to describe. He says,
“Good hunters neither “dominate,” nor “trammel,” nor “remain.” Wilderness is capable of teaching all hunters these lessons, simply because it will not be tamed. When hunters are forced to conform to the land, instead of forcing the land to conform to them, they quickly realize how much the “life” they live outside of their tree stand or duck blind has actually tamed them. This realization invariably makes hunters seek wilderness even more. Why? Once you’ve been shown the world as it truly is – stripped of all the egocentric convenience-driven distractions, all the incessant social media chatter, and all that is managed and manicured – you want more of the real thing. You want more of real life. Wilderness is the gateway drug to understanding what it means to be human again.”
It’s easy to see why this is something that we would want to pass on to others, especially with the overwhelming reliance on technology that we are seeing in the upcoming generations.
When an individual grows up in a city and never strays from the ‘egocentric convenience-driven distractions’ that life had set up for them, they want to tear down traditions that they don’t agree with – things they have never tried before. It’s not their place, it doesn’t affect them, but because they are filled with this belief that there uninformed opinions are superior, they attempt to tear down the infrastructure of American heritage.
Newsflash to all of the entitled ideological colonialists out there: We got this. Hunting and hunters are the ones who have managed, conserved, and grew populations of animals in this country for centuries. Hunting and hunters are the ones who are affected every day by the decisions of past and currents hunters’ efforts to do those things.
We have been successful in maintaining populations, we have been successful in passing on our beloved sport, and we have been successful in making it possible to overcome the practical barriers to the future of hunting. Now, we just have to stop the advancement of those who wish to end our time-tested traditions.
Hunting is a family tradition, piece of American history, and valuable tool to teach the lessons of the world that our parents taught us. It is something that we are all driven to protect and cherish because of its importance to each of us individually and to our families. We have all had different experiences because we are different people, but the essence of hunting was felt by us all.