by Leon Archer
I have been thinking a great deal lately about hunting, not about going, but about what hunting is.
I have been a hunter for most of my life, but it is just in the past year or two that I have taken the time to reflect on the hunter and the practice of hunting.
On the face of it, hunting seems so simple. A hunter goes out with his gun or bow, locates what he desires to shoot, and he kills it.
For way too long, that was the way it was for me; although, the more I hunted, the more I could feel a nagging reality that beneath the surface there was so much more to it than that.
I hope you will bear with me for a few columns as I try to share my memories, ramblings, and thoughts on the topic of hunting. I know it will be impossible for me to fully explore every facet of hunting, and I’m also willing to bet that others have undertaken the same task before me, and may well have done a better job of it, but as I sit here, I know It is time for me to try to explain why I hunt.
First of all, man has always been a predator, and during the time of his existence he has always been at or near the top of the food chain.
In spite of an occasional encounter that turned out badly with a bear, tiger, shark, crocodile, or other top of the line predator, most of the time man came out on top, either by avoiding other hungry meat eaters or using his tools and intellect to turn the tables on them.
The most successful hunters ended up being the humans that were most likely to survive and produce the next generation.
They passed their hunting knowledge down to their children, and it was used, enlarged and adapted over the years.
I expect that the best hunters were revered for their skill and some of them probably became the stuff of legends told around stone-age campfires.
The more animals a prehistoric hunter killed, the greater and more respected man he became among his people. Life was so simple then.
I doubt very much if any tribe member ever asked the hunters how they could be so cruel as to kill those beautiful animals. Although humans were omnivores, it was meat that kept them going, and it remained so for eons, no questions asked.
While it is true, from the earliest days of man, he has been a hunter–gatherer, yet first and foremost, he was a hunter. Is it so odd that we are still predators? It has been bred into us from times unrecorded.
Yes, we have learned how to raise meat animals and grow crops, but the cave man still lurks inside us. So on the basis of my ageless heritage, I feel no guilt when I hunt, nor remorse when I sit down to a venison dinner. Truly, I am only doing what comes naturally.