Why Go Hunting?

The video above if from a hunting trip to Nebraska in 2010. Both Micah and Noah dropped whitetail deer on opening morning, one of them a nice 10 point buck. I’m off for another hunting trip this week – elk hunting in Colorado – and I’m pondering, “Why do I do this?”

It isn’t easy. I have to work out hard to prepare my body for this. We drive into the trailhead, set up camp, then walk an additional 3 miles to get where we hunt. Every day. This is a 4th season hunt with winter gear and a rifle. Heaven help us if we drop an elk. We’ll have to quarter it and haul it out – piece by piece.

It isn’t cheap. Sure, we’ll have meat in the freezer if we get something.  That’s a blessing and all, but compare that with the thousands in hunting gear and much more in the individual trips. High powered rifles are expensive and the ammunition is too. A family my size (we have six hunters this year) is spending a pretty penny to go.

It isn’t timely. Really, I’ve got a ton of other important things I could be doing. Every day in the woods is another day away from the office. We’ll be hunting only two days, but getting up there and getting back is another two days around that. Four days shot (pun intended). If we are blessed with an elk, it’ll be another day on top of that.

If hunting isn’t easy, cheap or timely, why do I go?

Seriously, we walk in 3 miles to get to our hunting spot.

Truth is, it’s almost impossible to explain. I just do, and I love it. It’s like I wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t go. Last year I had a heart virus that kept me from going, and it was like I lost a year of my life. The kids went and came home with a load of great stories – and an elk – for the family’s entertainment.

Maybe that’s it. I’m searching for a story. There are few stories better than a wild story. That happens every hunting trip, none quite the same, something peculiar or interesting always happens. Back home we talk about it for days with each other, often mixing in the stories with plans for the next year. And the little kids ask us to repeat the really good stories.

Maybe that has something to do with it. The wild story. What do you think? I have two questions for you:

  1. If you hunt, why?
  2. If you don’t hunt, why not? (Especially if you are repulsed by it…I’d love to hear from you.)


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

12 thoughts on “Why Go Hunting?

  1. My family is the biggest hunting family I know. My dad has two extremely nice Whitetail Bucks hanged on the wall. My brother was shot two 14 pointers and two of my other brothers have both shot nice ten pointers! My family is built around hunting season. And this year, I get to join them in their hunting experiences! We hunt because it’s a sport my family does. Usually families play Basketball, Ping-Pong Ice Skate, but my family hunts! We also hunt for the purpose of hunting. For the food and also to keep the deer level at its right level!!

  2. Hah, you just a me gave me an idea for a post I will write! Woman’s perspective here-While I was reading this I thought the very same thing about how I love doing intricate, detailed needlework. I had given it up right after the birth of our last child, over a year ago, because I told myself there was too many more important things to do. Something a couple of days ago caused me to get it back out. This article really relates to how I felt about doing it again.

    I used to know someone who loved to hunt as much as you described. He kept his family in meat, but it was always more to him than that.

    I think it is good to have something that can be rejuvenating.

  3. I don’t hunt nor does anyone in my family. Not into killing things. I think my husband put it best “How bout hunters make it even and use a bow and arrow or a knife. That would be a true sport and put the hunters in as much danger as the huntee”

  4. I don’t hunt,but I know many that do. My son has gone rabbit hunting with friends. I think a clean shot is a far kinder end to an animal than what can happen in nature. With the spread of CWD in cervids, hunting helps keep the herds smaller and fewer animals in less contact with each other, which is important to the future of elk and deer and to the future of the sport of hunting.

  5. Ok I liked it. I gave up hunting for 18 years for medical reasons then on the first hunt, you know the story. So why do I still hunt? I do it because being out in nature keeps me alive,emotionally and spiritually, even though physically it takes longer and longer for me to get back to almost were I was before the hunt. the first thing I try to do when I get out, I’m human so I sometimes forget, is thank God for the opportunity to get out. The last thing I do is thank him for the fun and for getting me out to enjoy his beauty. For me a successful hunt is one where I can get out. I get to spend time with my best friend Cindy and then tell stories to my other hunter friends. If I ever get anything again, the last game I got was the bison, the meat is just a bonus, a tasty bonus but non the less a bonus. I do want to get more serious about my hunting, but everytime I try God looks down and says “don’t forget the fun comes first.”

  6. My comment was eaten. :/
    I don’t hunt because, at this point in my life, I don’t see a purpose. For MY health, I have adopted a diet consisting of whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. I rarely, rarely eat meat and when I do, it’s fish that I’ve caught on a line and lure while hiking. I suppose, in that respect, I do “hunt” (if you consider fishing “hunting”). I suppose I also don’t see the point in hunting if it’s not for survival purposes. I hike most weekends or days off that I can and when I do, I routinely cover 15-20 miles in country where cell phone coverage is a laughable concept. I fish because it’s less weigh in my pack and it’s protein that my body graves when I hike. I don’t see the purpose of hunting for sport or even fishing for sport. To cause any animal pain for the purposes of my non-essential sustenance or entertainment seems like a waste of a beautiful creature. I do carry a weapon when I hike and I have used my weapon before – I just don’t use it for non-essential, non-emergency situations. I think hunting IS a valuable resource for people who require it to sustain themselves or their families and I definitely think it’s a skill worth having. But, the sport is something I don’t understand.

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