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Every Person Who Eats Meat Owes it to Themselves to Hunt at Least Once

Its tradition for us to stop in at the local mountain lake resort and grab a mt. dew and lemon fruit pie after a long day chasing elk. Back in the old days, people expected to see camo clad adventurers, and usually asked, “Did ya catch anything?” Over the last couple of years that has changed. As we visit the same resort, people tend to treat us different. Camo, is treated like the pinstriped suits of someone who might have escaped from a correctional facility. I have had moms hurry their kids out of the store when we walk in. I am just waiting for the day when a sign is posted, no shirts, no shoes, camo, no service. The irony of their judgement stands in the fact that almost all the resort’s guest were there for the amazing BBQ ribs that the resort is known for.

I realize I live in one of the most Vegan states in the union, but the latest gallop pole states, as few as one in ten Americans don’t eat meat. That means that 90% of the people who threw sneers at my camo had actively taken part of killing an animal yet were oblivious to their role. The 10% who weren’t there for the ribs, I’ll respect your sneers, I don’t agree with them, but I will respect them…the rest of the 90%...isn’t it time you get real with yourselves? If you eat meat you are a part of an animal’s death, and you should have to go through all aspects of filling your plate and here are 3 reasons why.

1. Hunting will make us honest. The bull spun! He never knew exactly what I was, but his giant eyes met mine and I could see that my arrow had done what was intended. Instinct over ruled pain, as the bull produces a final, gargled bugle, and then walked, stiff legged up the hill another ten yards. Within seconds the bulls commanding legs turned from an asset to a liability as he lacked the strength to keep them from buckling underneath him. He fell to the ground, tried to lay down as if everything were alright, but the pierced heart couldn’t supply the energy to keep him upright. The monarch of the woods was reduced laying like an old dog in front of a fireplace. No longer was he the king of the dark timber and the once fear inducing bugles became long, labored breaths until even they were no more. What had I done? Miles and miles came to this end? I wasn’t too sure that this was what I really wanted after all. Part of me wanted the amazing brute to live on, another part didn’t. Meat taken by your own had creates this tension every time you unwrap the butcher paper or walk by the meat isle. Every steak in the case comes from a scene that only hunters, farmers, and butchers live through. The value of life becomes more real as it leaves, and the honesty of the what it takes to sustain your own life brings reverence for the one taken. As a hunter, a burger will never be just a burger again.

Meat Equals Life

2. Hunting brings us back to the reality of how precious our life is. I knew I was in trouble from the first sting. I couldn’t move fast enough the broken hive as it produced warriors like Tie Fighters coming out of the Deathstar. One well place shot landed on my right side, almost instantly inducing a fever. After a mad dash to clear myself, I felt the sudden need to lay down and take a nap. I never reacted to a sting like this before, and it scared me. My side became as tight as a over inflated red balloon and became hot to the touch. As if under a trance I found a soft spot to lay down. 3 hours later I woke up, it had been since some of my “hairier days” in the Coast Guard that I had been so thankful to open my eyes to daylight…falling asleep under such circumstances have ended differently for others, and I was thankful to feel the sun beating on my alive skin. Hunting, especially alone, can be dangerous business for the hunter as well as the prey. Life isn’t fully realized until it may be gone. What would have happened if I never woke up? Was I ready to go? Have I left my kids with the tools, and emotional strength to carry on through life? Would my beautiful wife know how much she is valued, and have I taken care of all her needs if I were gone? The solidary aspect of how hunters live beg answers to these questions. You don’t have to be stung, fall off a cliff, or get mauled by a bear to visit the reality that your life entails. Nope, all you must do is remove the illusion of safety that the domestic world provides, and you can’t help but conversing with the things that are real in life. Hunting resides so deep within us that it mines questions that deal in human truth.

The Monarch Falls

3. Hunting will make you feel the reality of the sacrifice of blood that is required to sustain your own. The pink liquid started to turn crimson around its edges as the oxygen purged itself. I had never seen anything like it before. Like a freshly painted hi-way, the two red swaths were easy to follow. The arrow drove through both sides of the ribcage just above the heart, piercing both lungs and the aorta. I never knew a deer had that much blood. What I did know is that the plump doe would be lying where it stopped. Bowhunters rely on spilling blood. That’s what is required in an ethical shot. Marginal hits are marginal because they dot spill enough blood. You see there is Life in blood. It’s the very substance that keeps living cells alive. Remove it and you remove life. We all know this, but have you thought about it. Every time we track a blood trail we are tracking the payment for life. Once that payment is gone we find the animal. For us to make our own blood, our bodies require nutrients. Nutrients come from what we eat and drink. So, every single organism that is living requires the life of something else to live. Even Vegans kill their vegetables. Hunting brings the “universal sacrificial reality to life”. A good blood trail speaks more to true life than any restaurant menu ever could. The experiences hunting present, introduce questions that cut to the heart literally. If you take those questions to their logical end you will find that all the answers lie in the Blood. When you think about it, it’s truly blood that places the stamp on origin, purpose, and meaning of life…and hunting is the medium which these realities are written with blood.

When analyzed there is so much more to hunting than hunting. The metaphors that make up its sum are deep. Become that person who realizes what they are being taught. Become the camo-clad professor of the realities you experience in the backcountry, and advance them. Start the conversation. Your pursuit is a noble one and you are an ambassador of truth, as its not a part of your distant ancestry, but illustrated by the blood on your clothes.

If for some reason you are one of those people who sneer at the camo-clad humans of fall, and are still reading this, I challenge you to approach us. Let us share all the realities we have been taught through our lifestyle, I would bet that if we represent the truth well, you might become more thankful for what is on your plate. Better yet, ask us to share the experience with you. The act of taking meat with your own hands will bring a mix of emotions you have never confronted before, and I promise you will never take life for granted again.

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