Hunter’s Remorse

Too often, those of us who call ourselves hunters, are labeled as heartless beings who go about the forest firing at will, taking lives like robots with no feelings. We are ridiculed for harvesting animals for sustenance, attacked on social media for displaying our kill, and basically called killers. I would like to put all of those stereotypes to rest by simply stating that no true hunter enjoys taking a life. Last night I bagged a nice doe and a heartache. Perhaps my emotional turmoil is due to the fact that I am a woman, that I have many pets and love all animals, that two weeks ago I watched someone very dear to me take his last breath, that I keep picturing the deer in my head traipsing along the field road so sure of herself before veering up the hill towards me. The truth is, I have been hunting all my life and I deal with this every time I make a kill. One clean shot and a life ended instantly. I took a moment to thank my God and the animal for the life given and to ask forgiveness for being the one to end that perfect life. Today I am a mixed bag of emotions and I try to keep telling myself that there was a reason she came right to me but it isn’t helping. Does this emotional turmoil make me a better hunter? I think yes. Every time I go out in the field I am reminded of the seriousness of the task at hand. This is not target practice at the county fair shooting at stuffed clowns, this is a life. What people fail to realize is that some of us spend hours in our stands watching these animals in their homes going about their lives first-hand. We establish a connection to the land we hunt and the animals who live on it. We even go so far as to name deer who are frequently seen in our area. Then, when it comes down to shooting time we make the decision and a life ends. In my case, the hunt is done to obtain meat that will last me the entire year and to control herd populations. No matter how I justify it, however, the fact remains that I snuffed out a precious life. With all this being said, why do I do this year after year? I do it because it was a tradition in my family, because I thrive on pushing myself out in the woods to handle extreme weather and terrain, because deep down I know that those animals were put on this earth for sustenance, and because I feel better about consuming something that was taken without being pained or tortured in a slaughterhouse. Hopefully this will make some of you reevaluate your thoughts on hunters and hunting in general. Yes, there are those out there who do not feel the emotions I do when hunting. So much is their loss to not be able or willing to understand that it is more that just bringing home a trophy to show off, it is about playing a responsible role in the circle of life

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