Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why I Hunt

Today I thought I would write a more philosophical post.  Yesterday was the last day I would be able to hunt until September of next year.  The last weekend of hunting season always make a little sad.  I had several goals this year, only one of which I accomplished.  It sure wasn't for lack of trying.  I hunted every weekend since September 1st.  I did take January off because my daughter was on the girls basketball team.  Good times.  On to philosophy.  

Contrary to popular belief, I don't believe that most hunters hunt to kill.  I don't even like that term in relation to the sport of hunting.  I prefer to use the term harvest.  Less negative connotations with harvesting an animal as opposed to killing it.  My goal for this season was to harvest a squirrel, a rabbit, a deer, and a duck.  Of those goals I only got a squirrel, I actually think my season total was four.  Seems like a lot of wasted time for little payback.  I think I walked over 40 miles this year, and I spent at least 160 hours in the woods.  So for every full week of "work", I was rewarded with about a half pound of meat.  Seems like a waste of time.  But I don't hunt to harvest animals.  

No, I hunt to enjoy a simpler life.  There is something magical about being in the woods before dark.  There is something magical in watching two ducks burst forth from a hidden pond, I didn't know existed.  Just watching them climb to sky and quack to let every other animal in the woods know there is a predator nearby is magical.  That is one reason why I hunt.  To see all of God's majestic creations in their natural glory.

I hunt because I like to think I'm smarter than a wild animal.  I'm wrong.  When most people think of squirrels.  They think of city squirrels, the ones that chase each other all around a tree, and will sit there and eat nuts while you watch them in the park.  A forest squirrel is a completely different creature.  One wrong step, and all you will see is a bounding bushy tail, before it's up a tree and and always running up the side you are not on.  Yep, forest squirrels are some of the most wary creatures in the world.  If you don't believe me, take a trip to one of the public forested areas in your state.  And try and count how many you actually see.  I like to refer to them as tree ninjas.  I've seen them jump from twigs and land on other twigs that even birds won't dare land on.  That's why I hunt, to see God's creations show me how stupid I really am.

I hunt because I have to be shown how much I have to learn.  I learn where deer are bedding down at night, I learn what beavers do in their spare time, I learn where squirrels like to hide nuts.  I learn that wild creatures are just as lazy as I am.  They tend to make the same trails year after year.  There is something magical about watching an animal trail appear in the middle of the forest.  That's why I hunt to see what God can teach me about life.  

I hunt to see all of God's glory expressed in the natural places.

Frost Flower

Box Turtle

Stick Bug

Wild Garlic, I think

Mushroom Covered Log
Circle of Trees

I hunt to find God's "treasures" like these.