Recently, there was an article floating around in the internet space about hunting big game on the Safari. It did disturb me. It bothered me to see a hunter killing a big game for pure thrill, challenge, and to earn a trophy from the kill. The big game; lions, tigers, and elephants often were unable to defend themselves. They were unable to run away. They were unable to be provided with a route of escape. Hunters, or rather I should say poachers, approached them in a very sneaky manner, then took them down in most inhumanely way as possible. Then once the animal perishes, the poachers proudly boasts the kill, and it led to a misconception about general hunting.
As you can see, hunting is a huge part of Wisconsin culture especially up in the north. My stepdad, Steve, is big into hunting bird game, and deer. My husband's family is very into deer hunting as well. So I've grown up with hunting culture incorporated in my family. I have often enjoyed eating geese jerky, pheasant, and deer meat.
Recently, there is an open season starting up for deer hunting. People flocks to the open season weekend to start hunting. It appears to me that a lot of hunters have gotten lucky this year! Stu happens to be one of the lucky hunters that got us a doe.
I asked Stu to please have a picture taken of a deer that he shot. My sister-in-law, Jenni, took this picture, and posted it for rest of us to see. I was excited to see that Stu got us a deer because that meant we were going to be well-stocked in venison meat this winter! I assure you that this doe was killed humanely, and swiftly. She did not feel pain. She won't go to waste. We are thankful for her, and the life she has given up for us.
It is funny--not in ha ha funny way, but a thoughtful manner--because after the doe was killed, Stu called me, and we had a short talk before he went to register the deer, and for the processing. He said that he felt bad that the doe died, and that it was not all about look at me, I just killed an animal, hear me roar! It is something that we really do value while hunting, and I believe that a lot of hunters do resonate with what I am about to say.
What I would love for Forrest, or any of our future kids, who may end up being interested in hunting with Stu eventually, to learn that it is critical to have a good sportsmanship, and to be thankful for the bounty. The animals, that have died, are not to be disrespected, or disregarded. This can be hard concept to grasp in today's age, and time because we have an easy access to food, and things we need at our local food store.
Hunting is about good sportsmanship. I won't deny that there may be some of thrill involved with strategically setting up location, lurking/baiting game, then securing the animal. Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. A deer have a route of escape. You don't always get a deer or a bird. It is a part of the thrill because you don't know if you always will get an animal in the end. When you do get an animal, you make sure the animal die swiftly. A lot of hunters, including Stu, wants to kill an animal as humanely as possible. It is not about getting a thrill out of causing an animal to suffer as it dies. Nobody likes to hear, or see an animal to suffer, even as a hunter. The thrill comes from securing a kill. It is why there is some pride in securing a kill, not because of attention that is gained from killing an animal, but to providing for the family to eat, and/or use.
Hunting brings a person closer to the nature, and you learn to appreciate what the nature has to give to you. If we don't take care of our environment, then we won't be able to have deer, or small game, to hunt for. Matter of fact, many hunters I know are very into conservation, and preserving the environment. To kill some small game is to help to regulate the population. Otherwise, we would see overpopulation of deer, and small game in the nature, which can lead them to starve, or become sick over the winter, or overgrazing or over-consumption of other animals in the food chain.
Lastly, you bond while you are hunting. Most of the time is spent sitting together or in a close distance, and wait. I can see Forrest, or any future kids we might have, hanging out with his cousins, uncles, and his dad in the woods, and having time of his life. It is better to spend time out in the nature instead of in front of TV.
It is why, to me, it crosses a line when it comes to hunting big game on the safari. I don't see the interaction between mother nature, and the hunter. The hunter is in the truck, and the driver drives around until the hunter sees an animal then he/she shoots at it from the truck. I don't see a pride in securing a kill when a lion is taken down. I don't understand the purpose of using an arsenal rifle on elephant, then shoot at an elephant multiple times as it goes down. They do feel the pain as they die. The poacher sit back, wait for the animal to suffer as it dies, because a wounded animal is dangerous, and a poacher often don't approach them until poacher knows that the animal is on the verge of death. When an animal is on the verge of death, the hunter kills the animal, as carefully as possible to avoid from ruining the fur (especially mane on the lion, or leather of elephant's skin), and then proudly stand over the body. There is no thankfulness between the animal, and the hunter.
Then the hunter takes what he/she wants, and leave the carcass behind. In some cases, some will take the carcass with them, and mount the carcass. It costs money, though. It costs money to transport the carcass out of the country, to obtain proper paperwork, to ensure license is up to the date, and to find a butcher to process the meat. After that, it costs money to ship the carcass to other country, where you hail from, and mount it. Where's the space to mount the animal in the first place? And for what purpose? Other than intimidation, and arrogance?
A friend of mine makes a good point, "If you survived an attack, which you did not instigate; I think you can brag about that as something significant, but taking down a lion with a gun because you want to is not something to be proud of". You know why? The whole act of killing is cowardly. It is sad. I don't see a relationship between Mother Nature, and the hunter in that case at all.
Most hunters I know says that there is a HUGE difference between hunting, and killing. Yes, there is a fine line of crossing from hunting for consumption to just killing for a trophy.