Why Hunting?

Our sunrise view in the Sangre De Cristo range during 2013 archery elk season.

“Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.”Fred Bear

Sometimes simple questions have the deepest and most complex answers.  A co-worker, friend, neighbor, or complete stranger has probably asked you some variation of this question at some point.  “Why do you

The opening weekend crew, 2013 KS pheasant season.
The opening weekend crew, 2013 KS pheasant season.

hunt?”  Your answer could be based on factors such as: challenge, escape, food, memories, the time spent with your hunting buddies, tradition, escape from your spouse, a combination of these, or something totally different.  I imagine that non-hunters generally expect a simple answer because they don’t understand what drives us to hunt and they certainly couldn’t understand what hunting means to us.  With that in mind I challenge you to answer one or both (I can see it may be necessary to answer both to fully explain) of the questions below:

-Why do you hunt?

-What makes hunting special to you?

Compose your answer in the comment section below.  Your comment will not appear immediately as I have to approve all comments before they post to the site.  The winner will be selected on December 17, 2015.  Good luck!

Kevin and I with my third KS archery deer.
Kevin and I with my third KS archery deer.
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  1. Brandon peterson says

    It pushes me to my limits… Its a high thats unexplain a ble to a non hunter. The highs the lows the commradery the food its an amazing thing that has been passed down from generation. Its a way of life….

  2. Levi Greeson says

    I hunt for the challenge of the hunt and the pure calmness one experiences in the wood, a non hunter would not understand just sitting alone in a tree and what comes with it. Being able to harvest a beautiful animal, providing food for my family and the commradery with friends and family is why I enjoy hunting!

  3. Chad Cleland says

    Why do I hunt for the time I get to spend with my family disconnected from the rest of the world.
    What makes hunting special for me as the sense of accomplishment. I feel the world is so disconnected and how we get our food. The fact that I can be self-sustaining give me a great sense of satisfaction. That I’m able to teach that to my sons and daughters is a great feeling. I’ve only been hunting for about five years now three years big game. In the amount that I’ve learned and how much you have to push yourself gives me a great sense of accomplishment

  4. Chance McKinney says

    Why do you hunt?
    I didn’t start hunting until I was in my 20’s. Not that I didn’t have the opportunity growing up 50 yards off a creek in the country, but I thought other sports were more important. I never gave it much of an opportunity and I was never truly given the true reason why one hunts. After a few years in college and no longer active in sports, I kept hearing my friends talking about their hunting stories. Finally, I couldn’t resist that small itch just asking to be scratched. I asked my father-in-law to be if he would take me out during deer rifle season and see what this was all about. This was the first time that I looked down a scope and saw a nice 5×5 at the end of it. I will never forget that feeling going through my body. Right there I knew what I had been missing and never wanted to let it go. 15 years later and for the most part putting down the rifle and picking up the bow, I truly have learned it is so much more about the hunt than it is the kill.

    -What makes hunting special to you?
    When God created man, He created him before He made the garden. He created man in the wilderness. Being away from the hustle and bustle of work and being in the trees with all the animals walking around me minding their own business and not knowing that I am there, I just sit back and smile and say, “Yes, this is what it’s suppose to be like. I am at home.”
    Hunting gives me an opportunity to teach my children about patience and studying what is around you. That you can play all your cards right, but can still come home empty handed, but to never give up. Watch how the animals responded to their surroundings and learn how to do things differently next time if needed. That we can live off the land and provide for our family, but we must take care of what we are given.
    Hunting has also given me many open doors to meet may great people, but most of all it allows me to connect with many of my students at school. During any hunting season, everyday we all have to share stories about the do’s and don’t’s and I wish I should haves. I just love seeing ALL my children’s eyes light up when they have THAT story (and pictures) to tell when they got what they set out to do.

  5. Rich G says

    Why do I hunt? Growing up I never hunted and never really had an excuse. Maybe I was afraid or just confused and embarrassed that I didn’t know near as much as my friends about it and felt lost. Plus I didn’t really like getting up at 4-5 am to freeze my ass off to maybe get something. Fast forward 10 years and I would go walk the fields with my brother in laws while they hunted then slowly I had the urge to go. One brother in law took me out and as they were picking corn we sat in lawn chairs waiting for birds to come and then it happened. I shot my first pheasant at age of 30. I was super pumped and ready to mount it and have it look great on my mantle. Then my brother in law was nice enough to rip its head off and rip some tail feathers out and we joked about my vision of mounting it was disappearing in front of me. Fast fwd a few years aand my brother in law was killed (non hunting) and I decided I owed it to him to continue to hunt and I haven’t looked back. That’s not only why I hunt but also why hunting is special to me. I still only focus on pheasants but am hopefully going to “learn” how to hunt but don’t want to be embarrassed again.

  6. Orson Branch says

    Why do I hunt? I come from a small town in Arizona where my parents did not do much hunting. Mostly game birds like quail and dove. My half brother’s family was always hunting or fishing. I begged my father to take me deer hunting and he put me in for the draw in Arizona. I got drawn and we where off and hunting deer. We hunted all week long and did not see anything. I asked the following year if we could go again he told me one last time. Once again I got drawn and this time I asked my brother to take me. This time I was able to shoot my first coues deer. After this hunt I thought wow this deer had no clue I was there when I shot him. How is this fair chase. I sold the rifle and bought a bow and with my brothers help I was a bow hunter or so I thought.

    I hunted every year that I could growing up with my bow. I sat tree stands and ground blinds. I learned a lot about nature and had a blast being out there. However I was never able to close the deal on another big game animal. That didn’t mater to me though. Being out in the woods was reward enough. I meet my wife in college and hunting was coming to an end for a while. Life was happing and I couldn’t find or make time to hunt and survive.

    Thing settled down and I was getting back into hunting. This allowed me to introduce my wife and her family to hunting. This started with small game and hopes of big game again. But hey life happens after trying for several years we had a child on the way with very little time to prepare try a little over 2 months. We now I have a child to provide for and guess what time to sale all my hunting stuff to provide for my family. My daughter was born and I was very happy. As she grew I saw my hunting days fading away into the past. My time and money was tied up in ballet lessons which turned to jazz and hip hop. I thought hunting was expensive wow. On her 9th Birthday she wanted to try archery. We bought her a bow and she joined a local 4-H archery club.

    This girl was a natural she could shoot a bow good. She actually loved it and was shooting every day after school. I thought here’s my chance I asked her if she wanted to go hunting. She was up for the challenge. I enrolled her in the hunter education class. At the end of the class the AZGFD selected her for a pheasant hunt in January. This was great. There is a good chance she will get on some birds and be able to take a shot. This will also tell me if she can take a game animal and feel ok with taking a life. She did great she was able to bag her limit of three. even more surprising she cleaned them herself. Very proud father monument here. why well she was the only one put of the group to bag her limit and while most of the other kids where grossed out by cleaning the game birds she was right in there doing it all her self. She came to me afterwards with the same thought I had after taking my first game animal. Dad it didn’t feel fair I want to hunt with my bow. I told her I was ok with it as long as she could get her bow to the minimum draw weight.

    She worked very hard at this but by her next hunt she was not quite there. We went to a youth turkey camp and had four days to hunt. We went out several times with mentors. We could hear the turkeys but never did see any. Camp was over but we still had two days left to hunt. Off on our own we went. The first day alone we could hear them but could not seem to find them. We were told at the camp to sit and call by a trail. We did that I called they answered but never showed. The next mourning she asked if we could walk and call. I thought why not we walked and called. They were getting closer so we kept it up. We come to a downed tree and I can see the turkeys walking right towards us. She got set and knowing that the turkey load was going to have a punch behind it she braced. She told me that the second bird had a beard and she thought she could hit him. I told her go for it boy did she, shooting twice with out thinking. that’s it I thought she loves hunting. I was very proud to watch her pack her first turkey out. I owe this to her with her idea of walking and calling.

    From that time on we have being out hunting as often as we can with our bows. I cant tell you the feeling I get when we are out there in the woods watching nature and doing our best to hunt with our bows. We have become closer as father daughter. The bond we have formed and memories we now have will last forever. In fact as I write this we are on our very first elk hunt together. This is why I hunt , these memories can not be made up they have to be lived.

  7. says

    I learned at an early age to not only respect nature, but firearms and archery equipment as well. Hunting has been a part of my family’s tradition and as such, I started at the age of eight. Yes we strive to fill our freezers with the most pure meat possible, but it has never been about the kill! We primarily hunt most animals with modern and traditional archery gear. I enjoy the challenges, but taking a life is very personal. To me, it is about sneaking into the woods before daylight and watching the world wake up. I’m very selective about the deer and turkeys that I harvest, in order to promote a mature and healthy habitat. This however does not mean that I’m a “trophy” hunter. I would much rather harvest a five year old buck that may not survive the winter, versus a two year old. I feel that being raised in such an environment has taught me how to; overcome adversity, deal with harsh conditions, learn how to live off the land, to provide lean and healthy meat for my family as well as patience. I now have two daughters, which are the future stuards of the land. I want to allow them the same opportunities to see the world through my eyes.

  8. tim kline says

    It does not matter where I am hunting it can be up here in the hills of Colorado or in the desert by PHX I find peace it is my church if you will. I love being in the outdoors day or night gun or bow just being able to watch the animals and learn from them. I want my kids to understand why I do it and to enjoy it the way I do but I want them to find out what it is that makes them go back for more on their own. Every person will have a reason they do it and it should come from deep inside themselves. This year my son gave me a bear hug when he shot his deer and said thank you for making me stay he later said he got it with red eyes and I knew he found his path to what I call church. That is why I hunt and what makes it special to me.

  9. Margi says

    I didn’t start hunting until I got sick. After getting news that I can’t work full time and after losing the ability to dance I got depressed I needed the feeling of achievement to show I can do something even though I’m sick. Even though I can’t walk well and have to use a walker sometimes I still go out in the woods hike and work hard to get food. It’s a amazing feeling knowing that I can provide in a way Noone else in my family does. The lessons I’ve learned and the respect I’ve gained has been endless. I’m proud to be a hunter. Gives me a purpose

  10. Lori says

    When I was little I would run barefooted outside through the fields. I’d crawl under the neighbor’s fence with my willow pole, cross the beaver dam, and set by the pond and pretend to fish. I’d take my little mutt dog through the windbreak and chase rabbits and squirrels. I always thought it would be fun to actually fish or hunt but my dad wasn’t into that stuff and I was a girl so he didn’t take me seriously. I grew up, got married, and had three kids of my own and one day I decided if my husband could shoot a bow why couldn’t I. There was an old PSE Nova in the garage that was given to my son (who wasn’t interested in it) I dusted it off and made him turn it down so I could try it. I remember that first shot clearly. The feeling was awesome. I almost got a bullseye. The bow didn’t fit me well but I wanted to hunt so I took the muzzleloader out by myself on opening day and shortly after sunset I had a huge doe down. I was hooked. Money was really tight at the time and it felt good to be outside and away from the stress of work, life, bills etc. but it felt even better knowing I was putting food on the table for our three growing kids. With my garden and the animals hubby, our son and I hunt we don’t have to buy much at the store. It makes me proud to know we are feeding our family good food the way God intended us to. And let’s face it, going to the store and buying a package of hamburger is zero fun.

  11. Mikkel Hylden says

    For me, hunting is about connections. In some cases, it’s a connection with family and friends that you may not see at other times of the year. There is always a connection with the land, whether that’s a ranch I’ve hunted turkeys on for 25 years or a piece of public land I’ve only seen before on maps. The connection with the animals varies year to year – sometime I bring one home, sometimes just see them, and sometimes just see where they have been.

    Sometime people as why I don’t just take pictures. Wouldn’t that also get me out there, and I’d get to enjoy everything as much without needing to kill an animal? Besides the obvious difference of having fresh, healthy meat in the freezer, I tell those people the difference is between viewing something and participating in something. There’s a different level of connection with the natural world when you’re actually part of the cycles rather than just an observer. That level of connection can’t be simulated by just taking a picture. The intimacy of being responsible for taking part in a life and death situation is something that gets to the core of being human and being part of the natural world.

  12. Mike Benck says

    Why do I hunt??
    I always hunted with my dad growing up. It was not just for the act of shooting or killing an animal. It was a bonding time and helped me get to know my dad.
    It gets me away from the chaos of the city. To spend some alone time in the woods. If I got a deer or an elk. I would cry. Knowing that I would use the entire animal for food etc, I still felt the sorrow of killing such a beautiful creature.

  13. Tim S says

    Hunting to means being able to provide for my family. Being one with nature and all around me. Being a proud supporter of conservation. Being a proud supporter of hunter education. Being able to share what knowledge was passed on to me those who are looking for that knowledge. Most of all I am looking forward to sitting in my tree stand or blind with my 3yr old daughter when she becomes old enough and seeing the smile on her face as she harvests her very first animal.

  14. Mark Lampman says

    Hunting to me is spending time in the mountains away from all people, just me and nature. Pushing myself to my limits and the challenge of going after mature huge animals only. Going places where very few people have the ability, heart, and motivation to go. Seeing some of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s not about the harvesting, “it’s about the journey “

  15. Travis Hubbel says

    My excuse for hunting, as if I needed one, is to be outside and relax. When I sit in a stand or blind I know I can just breathe and forget about everything else. At that time, nothing else matters besides enjoying your time. The time with my friends and family in the woods is just bonus. It’s special because this is the only time you can let everything else go. You are in complete control of the time you are out there without someone telling you what to do or pointing you in a different direction. In the fast pace world we live in today, it’s almost like time stands still.

  16. Lynn Hardy says

    I grew up spending a lot of time in the woods. It’s one of the few places I truly feel relaxed and at home. Hunting is an extension of that. Hunting is what I do for the peace of it and the beauty of this American land. Don’t get me wrong. I get a rush from my time in the woods hunting. Whether I harvest anything or not it’s always where I’d rather be–in the woods.

  17. Dawn says

    Why do I hunt? I am a 911 dispatch supervisor for a college town in Kansas. My day starts at 0600 and goes non-stop until 1800 with 911 calls, officers in my ear, and pages for fire and ems . Did I mention that I have to supervise my other employees while pulling the weight as a full time dispatcher since we are always short? Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love what I do but you never know what your day is going to be like. At 1800 I pick up for 3 year old for round 2!! So 360 days out of the year I am go go go. That 1 week that my husband I and go deer hunting is my time to recharge. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like deer hunting or not, getting up early and freezing is not something I enjoy, but after day 1 I was hooked!! I will never forget the amazing things we got to experience. The biggest deer ever, I have heard this several times since then from my husband, a deer strutting in front of us, deer fighting, and all the crazy noises you hear first thing in the morning. This to me is so relaxing, I think I could sit and listen all week. When I shot my first deer I am pretty sure it still had spots on it and my husband tried to give it cpr and bring it back to life but I was 5 months pregnant and just wanted to pull the trigger. That night I went home disappointed and frustrated. But when I went to sleep that night and closed my eyes all I could picture were deer, HUGE deer. That next morning I went out determined. We walked so much that next day and I remember my husband asking me if I was ok and if I wanted to go home empty handed. I told him the baby was fine and I wanted to go a little further into the trees. Another 30 steps and a huge buck stood up! I shot and got my fist BIG deer! It only had a half rack but the body was enormous. I will never forget how excited my husband was when we located it; he was shouting “my baby got a deer!” My father in law was battling cancer so to see his face light up brought tears to my eyes. My dad is also a big deer hunter and was excited to see that his little girl was taking after him. To know how proud they are of me is what keeps me going. I am the only one out of 4 kids that hunts yearly and I love it! The peace, the patience, and the bond it brings between my husband and I is something that I hope we never give up.

  18. Duncan Haiar says

    Hunting to me is a relaxing time with friends and family. From hunting ducks with my buddies and just slaying them, or hunting deer and elk with my cousin. Hunting is also brings me closer to God. When you pack way back into the Zirkle Wilderness of Colorado on horses and it is you and one or two other people, something about that just makes you stop and think about how much God has done for you and how blessed you are to be able to enjoy his kingdom and thrive from the resources he put there for you. The hard work puts it all in perspective also because there are many things I would not be able to do without Gods help. Being 16 and able to work hard to get those good properties to hunt on and to be able to have the opportunity to pack back into the wilderness on horses is just amazing and without God right there to help out it would be impossible!

  19. Lance says

    Why one wouldn’t hunt. Hunting is about the peace and quiet one needs after a long hard week of work, sitting in the woods or out bird hunting with your bird dog. Your dog is your best friend. You can say anything to him or her and they are not going to judge you. The challenges you face and mistakes you make. The memories one makes with friends or family. The memories you shared with loved ones that have passed. I tell my kids all the stories I had with my grampa. Taking a beaver tail to school for show a tell and bringing it home after my mom told me to get rid of it and sneaking it in my room and then forgetting about it. Well you know what that leads to. A horrible smell stinking up the house. I could go on and on. Hunting has many different meanings to people. Some think its cruel and to some its a way of life. To me its teaching my kids what I have learned from my experience’s and sharing my memories and making new ones.

  20. Steve Seals says

    It’s all I have ever known. My first memories as a boy were hunting squirrels with my dad. Being in the woods sharing time and seeing what nature is doing while the rest of the world is going nuts is what makes me happy. Most of the best times in my life were sharing hunts with my dad first, then my son. Teaching him what I had learned and the traditions. Now I enjoy watching him do as I did and wait with anticipation as my 2 year old grandson already enjoys being outside and in the woods with us. My wife also likes to hunt. She doesn’t enjoy the kill as much as she enjoys the time we spend sitting, watching and just relaxing. It’s a special time for us. You ask why hunt, I ask how can I not hunt? It is what makes me who I am, it connect me to friends, family, nature and God. It relaxes me when I am stressed, it takes me away when my job as a firefighter has shown me too much. It provides us with food when we are hungry, and quenches our thirst to be away and free. It’s more than a sport to me. It’s a way of life….

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