By Ryan Hughes
Man has been hunting for the past 30,000 to 50,000 years. Since the beginning of man, hunting has primarily been the most common method to acquire food. The idea of “not hunting” is a comparatively new concept to life on this planet. Is it a bad idea? Absolutely not, but should someone who doesn’t eat meat resent a hunter who decides to take control of the way he obtains his meals? Definitely not.
A man with leather shoes drives to the supermarket and buys an organic grass-fed beef steak. He has never hunted for his own meat, nor has he ever killed or harmed an animal. This man believes that hunting is an unethical act; however, he is in no way, shape or form against eating meat or utilizing the goods that can only be provided through the killing of an animal. There is a distinct difference between this man and an individual with identical beliefs, who does not eat meat or use animal-based goods.
There are very few hunters in this world who will say, “Everyone should go out and kill an animal and eat it.” Hunting is sometimes regarded as a vicious act. A hunter who decides to spend countless hours in order to kill an animal and eat it is simply an individual who decides to control that particular aspect of his or her life, as opposed to a person who eats meat without having any idea where it came from.
Many Americans go through life eating food from the same place — stores, markets and restaurants. A generally new trend that is being seen in Western society is a very strange, abnormal, and arguably unhealthy disconnect between humans and their food. In his article regarding this strange trend, Chad Kroger, the director of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, said, “For most of human history, access to a sufficient, stable and reliable supply of food was the primary concern for most people. It still is for many people in the world today. The conventional food system has evolved (as intentionally driven by federal ag policy) to produce, store, process and transport massive amounts of food as an insurance strategy for overcoming localized or regional production disruptions.”
In the big picture of human history, man has never had this type of method to acquire food, whether it be meat, fruit, vegetables, etc.
It is ridiculous for anyone to believe a hunter is in the wrong for choosing to hunt for their food, for any reason at all. Some might argue that unethical hunting is an undeniable occurrence; this is very true. However, it portrays an extremely small number of hunters, and the people who are combating these practices are the hunters themselves.
A majority of the funding that goes into conservation and land management comes straight out of the pockets of hunters, fishermen and outdoorsmen who are paying for licensing, permits and tags, along with making generous donations.
It would be counterintuitive for any of these hunters to be breaking fish and game laws, or to harm the wildlife or ecosystem in any way.
An additional argument often made against hunting is that it is unethical or immoral for someone to receive a feeling of enjoyment or pleasure through the act of taking an animal’s life. The phrasing of this argument is often crafted to portray the image of a hunter as a sort of deviant or disturbed sociopath; this argument goes hand-in-hand with the image of hunters being uneducated bumpkins, wandering the woods with shotguns and wearing denim overalls.
These types of arguments and generalizations made about hunters and the act of hunting are based on completely irrational assumptions. Hunters seldom feel satisfaction solely from killing an animal; they feel satisfaction from the hunt. There is an intimacy that is created between the hunter and the animal that he or she is hunting.
There is a learning experience to be had on every excursion. There is a bond formed between friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, sons, etc. Hunting allows time for self-evaluation. It often creates the silence that is needed for many to think about their lives or even make decisions. Hunting has been, and always will be, one of the most primal senses ingrained in the minds of humans.
Regardless of what hunting signifies to a hunter, it means much more than killing an animal. It is often said among many hunters that “a hunter who harvests an animal on every hunt obviously does not hunt very much.” I have found this saying to be true.
The enjoyment and fulfillment created by hunting exceeds the hunter’s love for harvesting a wild animal; however, doing so is the purest and most honest form of feeding oneself or one’s family.
Hunting is the most honest way to get food. A hunter must put an extreme amount of work toward killing an animal. There is no disconnect between a hunter and his food, and anyone who believes that this is an immoral process, yet still eats meat needs to rethink the method in which they are obtaining their food.
Ryan Hughes studies journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @surfnaked73.