Why do you hunt?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by njc110381, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    A few quotes from some who have said it far better than I ..............

    Deep in the guts of most men is buried the involuntary response to the hunter’s horn, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of his fathers, who killed first with stone, and then with club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with gun, and finally with formulae. — Robert Ruark

    Already I was beginning to fall into the African way of thinking: That if you properly respect what you are after, and shoot it cleanly and on the animal’s terrain, if you imprison in your mind all the wonder of the day from sky to smell to breeze to flowers—then you have not merely killed an animal. You have lent immortality to a beast you have killed because you loved him and wanted him forever so that you could always recapture the day. — Robert Ruark

    Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as playing music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else. After all, the earliest forms of representational art reflect hunters and prey. While the arts were making us spiritually viable, hunting did the heavy lifting of not only keeping us alive, but inspiring us. To abhor hunting is to hate the place from which you came, which is akin to hating yourself in some distant, abstract way.” ― Steven Rinella

    I breathe because my body needs oxygen. I eat because my body must have energy. I hunt because I am a hunter. These are simple things which I accept, and perhaps no explanation is possible. - Charles Dickey

    When one is hunting, the air has another, more exquisite feel as it glides over the skin or enters the lungs, the rocks require a more expressive physiognomy, and the vegetation is loaded with meaning. But all this is due to the fact that the hunter, while he advances or waits crouching, feels tied to the earth through an animal he pursues, whether the animal is in view, hidden or absent. - Jose Ortega y Gasset

    There was a part of me, of us, back there on a hill in Tanganyika, in a swamp in Tanganyika, in a tent and on a river and by a mountain in Tanganyika. There was a part of me out there that would stay out there until I came back to ransom that part of me. It would never live in a city again, that part of me, nor be content, the other part, to be in a city. There are no tiny-gleaming campfires in a city. - Robert Ruark

    No one, but he who has partaken thereof, can understand the keen delight of hunting in lonely lands. For him is the joy of the horse well ridden and the rifle well held; for him the long days of toil and hardship, resolutely endured, and crowned at the end with triumph. In after years there shall come forever to his mind the memory of endless prairies shimmering in the bright sun, of vast snow-clad wastes lying desolate under gray skies; of the melancholy marshes; of the rush of mighty rivers; of the breath of evergreen forest in summer; of the crooning of ice-armored pines at the touch of the winds of winter; of cataracts roaring between hoary mountain masses; of all the innumerable sights and sounds of the wilderness; of its immensity and mystery; and of the silences that brood in its still depths.
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    And then perhaps Hemingway may have said it best in his clear direct prose -
    There is much mystic nonsense written about hunting but it is something that is much older than religion. Some are hunters and some are not.

    By hunting we do something the vast majority of our "enlightened" fellow travelers do not. We understand what it means to have someone else drive a spike into a steer's head - to have a faceless factory mechanically shuck a hen - because we have taken that responsibility on our own shoulders. We also have found ways entertain ourselves and enrich our souls without needing to pay for bloody Hollywood mayhem. Most importantly, we go to sleep at night knowing we made a real contribution to sustaining the wild places and the creatures who inhabit them. And in the late years of our failing sight and health, we will we will rummage through the fading photos, the artifacts of our travels, and yes, the trophies on the wall and again be in those special places. In our memories, we will be as we were then, with old friends, that favorite pointer or retriever, and just ahead the dark curls of a kudu, the rush of a rising covey, or soft mutter of setting mallards. What lonely sad beings those are who will never remember such things.
     
    cperso, sgt_zim, Mike B and 15 others like this.

  2. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    +1 in a big way!
     
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  3. JKO Hunting Safaris

    JKO Hunting Safaris SPONSOR Since 2011 AH Veteran

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    Hey guys,

    I think this is a very interesting question...... Well I firstly started hunting when I was 6 years old, I told my dad that is what I would like to do for a living and here I am today.... Today I hunt for a living and to take care of my family as it is my business, but it is not just a business for me! I hunt because I love being in the outdoors, I love stalking out smarting my prey and most important of all is that I love to show and help people create experiences that make them smile, happy and build memories that last a life time!

    Hunting in my opinion is one of the biggest teachers in the lessons of life, it teaches you to be patient, it teaches you not too loose hope, teaches you to work hard for something you really want and at the end there is so many emotions connected to hunting which creates memories that lasts for a life time! The whole experience is what creates a good hunt, not just the trophy on the wall or taking the animal. The trophy is only the reward for the effort you as a hunter has put in.....

    I believe that is why I hunt!
     

  4. flat8

    flat8 AH Enthusiast

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    Exactly this. I have many acquaintances who think nothing when they order a steak but somehow believe that hunting is barbaric.
     
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  5. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    So many reasons, all those expressed before, plus ... hunting has led me to visit places which I would never have done otherwise, even in my own country. Also met very interesting people.

    It also brings knowledge, when planning to hunt a certain animal, I want to know as much about it as possible, and his habitat, the country it lives in, its people, culture, history...
     

  6. kevin masters

    kevin masters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    All the previous answers have been very interesting! some even very moving. I will add mine at the risk of falling terribly short of what has already been shared.
    I love to watch the world wake up! I also love putting the world to bed! I have never felt as close to my creator in a pew as I have in a tree stand or blind!
    Most of my best memories are hunting with friends or family! I believe God intended for us to CARE for his creatures and hunting is a large part of that.
    Hunting makes us good stewards!
     
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  7. TheWhitetailNut

    TheWhitetailNut AH Senior Member

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    I hunt and fish because I am an integral part of the world around me, not an interloper. I do not deny the instincts given to me by God and have not perverted them.
     
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  8. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I answered this question on FB when an anti asked it of me in a thread about elephant hunting. Here's the answer I gave:

    I love to hunt. I always have. I first decided I wanted to hunt an elephant when I was young (a family friend had hunted one). What an adventure I thought it would be, and what an adventure it was! The entire experience was beyond my wildest expectations.

    There is something about being out in the wilderness, not just physically, but with your entire being that antis will never understand. The sights, the noise, the smells, being an active participant in the environment and yes, in the lifecycle itself. This participation in nature is why I hunt, and for me it can't be replicated with a camera, or on a tour bus (although I enjoy those too). I am accepting that this is part of my DNA. In fact, I embrace it. Some of our ancestors were hunters and others were gatherers. I have no doubt as to which mine were. It's this connection with nature that is truly special to me.
    Dangerous Game such as elephant takes this to the next level for me. There is now risk involved for me personally. The animal has weapons with which to fight back. And I can pay dearly should I make a mistake. I've known personally those who have paid the price, God rest their souls. I also hunt for food every single time I hunt. It doesn't matter matter to me if this is classified as a trophy, management, or a meat hunt. There is always a purpose and a use for the meat. This was no different for an elephant than it was for my first whitetail deer. I get satisfaction and enjoyment both from eating game I've killed myself, and of seeing others get joy from the food they get. Watching well over 100 people being overjoyed at the meat I provided for them was an extremely satisfying part of the hunt.

    Hunting is a challenge and it tests me and my skills as a hunter. Getting close to an animal who's senses are far superior to yours and doesn't want you to be close isn't easy. I work at being better constantly - being a better woodsman, tracker, stalker, and a better shot with a rifle. None of it is easy and they are all skills that erode without use. Being a good hunter to me is a commitment, not a once a year vacation.

    Lastly, there is the conservation aspect. I hunt to help conserve (not preserve). I want to be able to hunt in the future and I want future generations to be able to hunt. To do so I must hunt in a well managed and sustainable fashion. I must also work to stop those who don't. For without that, there will be nothing for future generations.
     
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  9. njc110381

    njc110381 AH Enthusiast

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    I think the modern way of life has nurtured those feelings. More often than not the people making the fuss do genuinely care about animals, but they don't understand them at all. Meat has become so carefully packaged and society so shielded from reality that most people don't even consider the link between animals and food any more. Somehow domestic livestock don't get the same respect as wild animals and hunters are seen as the root of the problem of animal populations declining.
     

  10. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Why do I hunt? I think it is in my makeup. I started when I was a young boy to help feed my family (I'm the oldest of nine) and we grew up dirt poor. I developed a knack for thinking like the game I was pursuing and became very successful. I grew to love the challenge of outsmarting an animal in his own habitat, the sights, sounds, smells and everything connected with it. When an animal gave himself to me I offered a silent prayer to his spirit for feeding us. As I grew older I lived in a city but the urge to hunt still burned inside. Until a few years I didn't have the opportunity or means to engage that desire. Three years ago I realized my dream of an African safari. RSA and a plains game hunt! I had no idea what I was up against. Surprisingly, all the old instincts reemerged and it was like the old days. I was whole again. I took ten species that hunt, not just for the mounts but for the conservation aspect. None of my heads are record book or anything spectacular, just good representations of the species. We sought out the old and infirm. I didn't and do not consider myself or any of us as killers. We are conservationists and Purveyors of Fresh Meat to the Native People. To me that is the most satisfying aspect of hunting. The thrill of the stalk, the perfect shot, admiration of a fine specimen, being so bone tired at the end of a long day, hot, thirsty and starving is what we and I live for. It is in the blood and as long as I can pound the bush I will continue to hunt. At 78 my time may be limited but I'm going back to RSA in April for at least one more commune with nature and her denizens.
     
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  11. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Elite

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    Not having been yet, I can only relate what I've read. For cape buffalo, there is no "walk in, shoot and leave." There are frequently miles and days of tracking. And, having spotted your quarry for the umpteenth time, getting into a position for a clean, ethical shot without him noticing you as you do it, or at least without noticing you enough to disappear again.

    A lot of us, myself included, want an "interesting" old dagga boy, one whose tips are worn down, whose bosses have been rubbed almost completely smooth, with maybe half an ear chewed off, with lots of scars from other bulls and from unsuccessful lions, a fellow who is at least a year or two past breeding age. He has survived the worst Africa has to throw at him, the predators, his competitors for cows, the heat, the droughts. Even his teeth are getting worn down. And soon enough, he won't be able to eat enough to sustain himself, to sustain his strength, so that in his dotage, he becomes an easy mark for lions or even hyenas. The fellow I want will never make it in an SCI record book, but there is the record book of my imagination to see in my mind's eye what this old boy has lived through. And when people come to my house and see the mount hanging from the wall, it will be an interesting conversation, not merely "wow, that's huge."

    No, this old bull is a warrior, and he has earned a warrior's death, a clean death; or as the Spartans called it, a glorious death.

    There is no old folks home for wild animals. The prey animals meet their end at the fangs and claws of predators if they're lucky. If they're not lucky, they linger on for days or weeks with a fatal disease, or perhaps they simply and slowly starve to death. And in their diseased or starving states, after having suffered for some time and becoming weak, the predators find them easy marks.

    Even the predators are not spared this cycle. Old, sick, or starving predators become much easier marks for other predators. Lions, leopards, and hyenas are notorious for killing each other at any opportunity, even if they're not hungry.

    Why do we hunt? At heart, we're mostly romantics like those who've gone before us, names of the legends like Walter "Karamojo" Bell, Ernest Hemingway, Teddy Roosevelt, Frederic Selous, John Taylor, Jim Corbett, Fred Bear, Townsen Whelen, Jack O'Connor, and Elmer Keith. Plus the millions of others who never attained fame, but who are nonetheless like us, who know where our food comes from. It is the camaraderie of this kind of man which moves us.

    I was on a hunt a couple years ago in Central Texas, and bumped into a few gents who I'd have never met otherwise. My two companions and I, on the face of it, as likely different as can be. There is my best friend, an Illinois yankee who's become as Texan as I am; and our 3rd, a Mexican, born and reared in east Los Angeles, with the tattooed arms all the way down to his hands to prove it. There were the other guys we'd met - a black gent who was there to bow hunt for feral hogs (we see few black hunters in the states, and the black bow hunters are quite the rare breed indeed). And some Indonesians-by-birth, but Americans-by-choice, who'd immigrated here (legally), first living in California, then later moving to Texas. Outwardly, you couldn't have found a more different group of guys. But at night, we traded Bourbon, beer, cigars, and hunting lies like we were long lost friends.
     
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  12. njc110381

    njc110381 AH Enthusiast

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    If I had to pick my top reason for hunting, after the fact that I enjoy it, that's it. I put myself in their shoes and ask myself what I would want? Given the options available, I'd take a bullet for sure.
     

  13. barbells.and.arrows

    barbells.and.arrows AH Senior Member

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    I often liken hunting to being truly in God's church. There is nothing that grounds a person better than seeing all of the wonderful creations of our Heavenly Father in their natural state. It's deeply calming, and peaceful, all while being mesmerizing. It is also one of the most challenging things I have ever done, and I do love a challenge.

    The better question might be why does one kill these gorgeous animals? For food, for tradition, because it's something the human body and mind yearn to do considering that's what we were built for "hunting and gathering," to keep populations in control, to give species value in places like Africa. The list goes on. I couldn't possibly give one reason as to why I kill an animal, but when I do it is both exciting as well as a melancholy moment that a life has been taken.
     
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  14. lpace

    lpace AH Veteran

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    Lots of secondary reasons, most of which are rationalizations. At the end of the day, I hunt because I enjoy the hell out of it!
     

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