The act of hunting has been given many bad reps over the years.  Truth be told, it’s usually told by people have absolutely no experience of hunting or never learned to appreciate it for what it is.  Hunting is a tradition of food gathering that has been on going since the beginning of time, when God created the earth. He gave us animals to eat, and eat we shall!  We are going to dive into the different aspects of what hunting is and uncovering is awesomeness.

Definition:

To hunt is to “to chase or search for (game or other wild animals) for the purpose of catching or killing.” (dictionary.com).  This does not mean that you actually kill anything, it just means you may get an opportunity to.

The Chase

The pursuit of an animal causes us to dive into the primal of instincts.  You don’t need to think how you’re going to kill an animal, you need to think about becoming that animal.

First, habit study.  A good hunter knows that in order to increase their chances of a successful hunt, you need to study the animal you’re hunting.  Recon starts the moment the hunting season ends.  Trails cams are great, but nothing beats boots on the ground (pun intended).  You need to get out there an out on the miles.  Learn when they feed, where they feed, where they approach their feeding grounds, time of day, and where they bed.  There more things to account for, but you get the picture.

Second, as hunting season approaches, male behavior changes as they get closer to breeding time.  Most often, you will find the males begin separating from their bachelor groups and start hanging out with the females.  This may change the movement patterns and day/night travel.  This is where I find the trail cams have their use.

Third, the weather.  Good scent masking agents are a nice asset, but nothing beats having the wind and cover in your favor.  Keep a close eye on the weather, incoming weather, especially rain, can really affect animal movement.  Rain/ snow and high winds are very unfavorable movement conditions for animals.

Okay, you’ve spotted your animal, the wind and weather are good, you’ve got your sights dialed in, and nothing is standing in your way.  Now you begin your stock.  Let’s say your bow hunting in this instance.  You’re on your hands and knees, crawling and creeping slowly towards the trophy of a lifetime.  Fast forward, now you’re within range, you draw, kneel, heart pounding, settle your pin on the vitals, let the arrow fly and……….. you miss!  The animal quickly flees the scene knowing you wont dupe him again today.  What happened? Did you use the wrong pin on your sights or maybe your draw anchor points were off? Did you account for that 20 degree slope that would adjust your trajectory?

The point of this story is that the chase and all that time still doesn’t guarantee the kill, but what a hunt! All that time you invested allowed you to think like that animal, what a rush! There is something to be said about getting so close and not getting the reward, and if you’re driven, you’ll go back tweak a few things and get back out there!  Too many times people associate hunting with killing, and if you get the opportunity to chase and attempt to out wit them, do it! It’s a thrill you won’t soon forget.

Conservation

Hunting and conservation have a lot in common.  Anytime you speak with a guide and outfitting company, they will speak about conserving the wildlife in their area.  It balances the ecosystem and also allows breeding opportunity for the upcoming males in the herd and pass on good genetics to keep the herd healthy and strong.

Ecosystem balance is critically important.  This especially pertains to over predation with lack of hunting the predators.  In northeastern British Columbia, where is reside, the over whelming present of wolves and bears is drastically affecting moose and elk populations. My suggestion is to add a tag for one of these if you can, next time you’re hunting.  Also ask your guide if there’s a way to contribute in this way of keep predators down.

Management hunts are a bit of conservation and breeding opportunity combined.  Management hunts are the act of intentionally targeting specific animals that are hurting the health of the herd, like a dominant doe deer or an animal that has a birth defect, or other abnormal congenital defects that you don’t want to be passed on in the herd.

Breeding opportunity is important to allow the younger more healthy males to breed.  An old male can possess too much dominance and push the young males away.  This is way you should always try and harvest an animal that is mature and possibly passed his breeding prime.  This gives you the trophy and contributes to the opportunity for you to have helped the herd.

Tradition

Tradition is the most important aspect of the hunt for me.  Having the opportunity to understand and appreciate God’s creation, and then pass that skill and ability down to my children is the greatest reward.  My children appreciate the hard work it takes to hunt, harvest, and get the animal into the freezer.  It’s also a high sense of purpose.  Being able to provide for your family is a huge sense of accomplishment.  Lastly, the food quality.  Knowing how that animal was hunted, harvested and processed leaves out the guess work of how ‘safe’ the food is.  If hunting has been a generational skill passed down, consider yourself lucky, but also responsible for keeping the tradition alive!

The Reward

Often, the reward of the hunt is harvesting an animal.  But if you’ve taken into account the previous things we’ve just discussed, then you’re appreciation for the animal should take on a different perspective.  Every time I harvest an animal I take a moment to thank God for giving me the hunting and harvesting opportunity.  I reminisce about the chase, the maturity of the animal, the appreciation of how my experience and tradition played a factor, and think about filling my belly (obviously).

In closing, I hope this first blog of mine has been of interest and maybe a little bit educational on my hunting point of view.  I fully believe more in the hunt than the kill.  Just replace the work “kill” for “harvest” and that may be just enough to change your point of view as well.  Happy Hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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