By Cody Altizer
Why do you deer hunt? It’s an honest question, and one I bet you had to think about for a second before answering. For the majority of us, we’ve been hunting ever since we can remember. Deer hunting is a part of who we are and we do it impulsively. It comes organically so we rarely question why we actually do it.
As I sit here typing, at this very moment, I haven’t come up with a concrete answer as to why I deer hunt. I love the taste of venison, but my family is fortunate enough that we don’t rely on deer meat every year to help keep us fed. I hunt for the biggest deer possible, but I don’t obsess over it or call myself a trophy hunter. There are more important things in life to me than shooting a whitetail buck. I still don’t have an answer yet by the way.
Perhaps it’s my fascination with the natural world. Ever since I was little kid, I’ve been a sucker for anything wild and pure. I don’t watch hunting tv shows that often. I think the “stars” of said shows take themselves too seriously. I would rather watch National Geographic or the Discovery Channel and learn about just how big the world is, and be reminded of just how small I am. I love QDM and watching whitetails thrive in a habitat that I helped create, but I also like to watch black bears stumble through clear cuts during the summer in search of black berries, and turkeys noisily make their way through the woods each fall snatching up acorns.
Whitetails are my favorite animal to hunt, but they’re by no means my favorite animal. I think they’re very instinctive and highly adaptive and many of the older animals are difficult to kill, but I don’t think whitetails are what you would call very smart. I think that kind of term should be reserved for wolves, big cats, and grizzlies. Whales and dolphins too. So what is it about deer hunting that is so addictive?
I do enjoy the camaraderie that deer hunting allows for. I’ve met many good folks by way of hunting whitetails, and I love spending time in the woods with my brother and dad. But there are a lot of great people in the world who could care less about deer hunting that I have a strong relationship with. And I could play a game of one on one with my brother and feel the same fellowship. Still, we’re in search of an answer.
Perhaps it’s the solitude? I enjoy time by myself. A lot of time by myself. It’s something I seek out daily, and sitting in a treestand during a cool November morning is a perfect refuge from life’s stresses. But I also enjoy laying in a hammock on summer afternoons by myself reading Harry Potter. Often times, I go for a quick walk behind my house and let the sun put me to sleep. I don’t need deer hunting to think clearly.
Why do I deer hunt? I’m at the end of this blog and I still don’t have an answer. I watched my dad hunt deer growing up and when I was 6 years old I shot my first doe. I can’t remember thinking about not hunting. It’s a part of me, and likely always will be. I don’t have a reason as to why I hunt, and I don’t care. I don’t need to justify my the feelings I get when I watch a deer sneak by my stand, not knowing I could take its life in a split second. The deer doesn’t know how good it has it when it walks past me, and honestly, neither do I. I guess that’s a good enough answer for now.
– Cody Altizer