By Mark Kenyon
Often times we as hunters are confronted with the question of why we hunt. What do we get out of that experience?
Just as often, many of us struggle to find the right words to describe the myriad reasons and emotions that are tied into the why of our hunting existence (outside of the basic food aspect). That said, I’ve always been incredibly appreciative of those lucky few who have been gifted with the ability to clearly articulate such an intangible, and sometimes hard to grasp concept as why we hunt.
Steven Rinella, author and host of Meat Eater TV, is just such a man, and a recent quote I read of his really struck home for me. I’ve copied it below.
“I like to put myself into situations where I can experience the unconfused purity of being a human predator. Situations where my circumstances are stripped of everything that is nonessential to the moment. Just me, my boots, my pack, my rifle. In those moments, especially when there’s a sense of impending violence, of making a kill, you are often gifted a beautiful glimpse of life.” – Steven Rinella
The “unconfused purity of being a human predator”. Wow. Can anyone else relate to that?
I know I certainly can. Similar to Steven, when I head into the woods for a hunt almost all else fades away into the background. For a brief moment in time, I can forget about the hustle and bustle of daily life, and instead become completely enveloped in a world much more rich and natural, but also much more simple. The wild world forces us to focus on the essentials of life, which we are so often separated from in our “civilized” existence.
When I hunt, I feel more alive, less confused and more at peace with who I am than in any other setting. To hunt is to be human, and to truly embrace our humanness, we must hunt. It is who we are as homo sapiens. I often explain that when we re-insert ourselves into the natural cycle of life, we can’t help but come closer to nature and in turn, closer to what and who we are meant to be. As Steven said, it is in these moments that we are “gifted a beautiful glimpse of life”.
So while I can’t claim to always be the best at explaining why I hunt or how it effects me, I can say this…
I hunt because I long for that beautiful glimpse of life. I long for that purity of self. That purity of mind. That purity of being a human predator.
How about you?
Photo courtesy of Cody Altizer, CodyAltizerPhotography.com