A few deer hunters write, from time to time in letters to the
editor, about hanging up their rifles. Sometimes trout anglers
follow the same path with their fly rods and cane poles.
Most of these folks don’t sound like old hunters who have simply
tired of taking animals. Some sound like martyrs. They claim to be
so angry with rules, management, costs, fees, certain DNR folks,
that they are simply saying, “that’s it. I’m done. I’m
But these hunters don’t stop there; they ask the rest of us to join
in and stop purchasing hunting licenses, too.
Are they really so upset with a deer regulation, for example, that
they are giving it up?
I doubt very many of these letters-to-the-editor writers stop
hunting deer. I find it difficult to believe someone so enthralled
with an outdoors activity as most deer hunters possess to be,
actually follows through with their threats and stays home when
November shows up on the calendar.
Those few who do stop hunting, I believe, stop for other reasons,
probably very good reasons. The time will come, usually before we
die, that hunting, or at least killing, will no longer interest
us. Others of us will probably die before those days come.
I have no argument with someone giving up hunting deer or any other
game species, but please be honest with us, if you can, and either
tell us why or simply move on quietly to something else. There’s no
shame in that.
We can be upset with a lot of things about hunting, but if we enjoy
it as much as we say, most reasons given are far too insignificant
to cause one to stop.
Maybe MMXI could be a year to enjoy hunting as much as we can and
not blame others for our dissatisfactions.
Maybe we should stop thinking of wildlife as ours, which it isn’t,
but as the people’s and the future’s and the ecosystem’s. Maybe we
should stop thinking the rules and regulations must be exactly as
we would like them to be. Rules are for safety, for preserving
healthy, viable populations for future generations.
Maybe hunting has become too much of a sport for some and the rules
infringe on someone’s taking of a trophy.
I would never call hunting a sport (just as I would never call
killing a deer harvesting), but rather it is a recreation, a
re-creation of what it was in the past, a need.
Sport implies a competition. Competition with other hunters?
But hunting is just that, hunting
Encourage others to try hunting. Maybe they will enjoy it.
When the time comes to give it up, walk away quietly and think back
on the good times. In time we will understand your real reasons
even if you didn’t publish them.