Jan 10, 2015

Why Do We hunt?   

By: Marc Drewek

It’s the faint beep, beep, beep of the alarm that wakes me up. I glance over and the clock reads 4:00 a.m. For over forty years I re-lived this same scenario hundreds of times. As I turn the alarm off, the anticipation of the day’s hunt begins. Whether I’m headed to the marsh to hunt waterfowl, on a turkey hunt, or headed to the treestand, the excitement of the hunt has never diminished. I must say there have been many occasions that I had to evaluate my sanity because of the weather conditions and a warm bed. But it’s the love of the hunt that drives me to the woods. I look forward to when the first hint of daylight turns into an artist pallet of colors. That’s when I feel alive.  And, as an avid outdoors person; I can’t get enough of those.

Many conversations have taken place over the years in regards to why people hunt. Some have been with curious people who wonder why I’m wearing camouflage, some have been with anti-hunters, but most have been with fellow hunters. I approach all conversations with an open mind and respect everyone’s opinion. I have always believed that fair chase and stewardship of wildlife outlines all passionate hunters. I have a profound respect for each and every animal I pursue. Wildlife management relies on people whose lives have been impacted by a hunting experience. When we share our outdoor knowledge and experience with others, we are creating opportunities for life lessons. Hunting helps us understand patience, responsibility for ourselves, our fellow hunters and, most importantly, the weapons we use to pursue game. It teaches us how to cooperate with others such as Game Wardens, land owners and adjoining property owners. We learn humility and gratitude along with an overall appreciation for life itself.  Many of these lessons have helped mold me into the passionate sportsman I am today.

Another essential reason for hunting is game management, without it would be a disaster. The basic fundamentals of sustain yield is easy for the sportsman to observe; when wildlife is thinned out, their rate of productivity increases. Animals tend to eat better, have more offspring and live longer. This works best to the degree in which they are cropped back, can be monitored, and controlled. When we harvest animals, we do this with the expectation of being able to harvest again in the future. In essence, too many animals within in a certain area can result in not enough food, which can result in starvation. In the many years I have spent in the woods, one of the worst is to come across a deer that has succumbed to starvation. So when I harvest a deer, I am making my contribution to the management program. Here in Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have a healthy deer herd and new regulations to help enhance our hunting opportunities.

Wild game is also delicious and healthy. It’s lean and free of any man-made additives or preservatives. The healthiest part of wild game is getting outdoors and pursuing it. Walking out in the field gets us off the couch, out of the house, and re-aligned with nature. For many of us, it’s our opportunity to get off the grid, step back and put things in perspective. Sitting in a duck blind or a treestand can be some of the best therapy available and probably much cheaper. As for the venison itself, it’s delicious. You can prepare this any way you want, just serve it hot. Personally, I love to cook it on the grill or smoke a hind quarter. If you have more than you need you can donate your venison to the Hunt For The Hungry program.

No matter where you stand on hunting, I view hunters as heroes. We funnel millions of dollars annually into programs that help with conservation and preservation. We bolster local economies by patronizing restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. When volunteers are needed for local wildlife development programs, hunters are the first in line. If you want to see sportsmen in action, attend one of your local outdoor fundraising banquets and ask them why they hunt.

“The wild life of today is not ours to do with as we please. The original stock was given to us in trust for the benefit both of the present and the future. We must render an accounting of this trust to those who come after us.”

Theodore Roosevelt