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Here in Illinois, we are in the middle of whitetail deer hunting season. If you have been following along on my IG or Facebook accounts, you have probably noticed posts about my deer hunting adventures. Hunting is a big part of mine and my husband’s lifestyles, so I wanted to share this part of me with all of you. I want people to understand that there is much more to hunting than the kill. If you’re an anti-hunter, or a skeptic in general, I encourage you to continue reading as I hope to shed some light on why us hunters can be so passionate about what we do!
Before I began hunting myself, I did not really understand the appeal of it. I know sitting in a tree stand waiting for a deer to come by sounds boring, and honestly when you sit for hours and don’t see a darn thing it can be! When I first got into hunting I was very skeptical. First off, I wasn’t so sure I wouldn’t burst out in tears if I did shoot a deer! Not to mention I’m not a morning person, nor do I tolerate the cold well. It seems hunting would be the worst possible hobby for me to pick-up, doesn’t it?
Despite all this, my interest was piqued. I saw the love and passion my husband has for hunting, and the time and care he puts into preparing for the season. I couldn’t help but think maybe there’s something more to this than what I saw. So, when my husband offered to teach me the ropes and use his old gear (rather than spending hundreds of dollar on gear and then end up hating the sport) I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to give it a shot (no pun intended)!
Caring for God’s Creation
I truly believe one of our callings as God’s children is to care for His creations. This happens in many ways, including wildlife management through hunting. I know it probably sounds counterintuitive, but populations of all animals must be properly regulated for our ecosystem to be balanced. The longer I hunt, the more I research and seek out opportunities to learn about the positive affects hunting has on wildlife conservation.
Not only that, but there are great financial benefits for our local, state, and federal governments. As a hunter there are several things I must pay for to legally participate in the sport: hunter’s safety course, deer tags, hunting license, FOID card. Some of the money I spend on these things goes back to conservation efforts for my state/county. For instance, thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act passed in 1937, a tax imposed on the sale of ammunition and firearms in the U.S. generates money that is distributed by the government to game and fish agencies across the country to help in the management of wildlife habitats (source: “Taking Aim” by Eva Shockey). Therefore, what I am dishing money out for gets put back into the efforts I am supporting!
Drawing nearer to God
It’s hard to explain, but I find true contentment and solidarity being in the woods. Sitting in the quiet, watching nature wake up and come alive, the sounds of a trickling creek flowing through the woods, a harvest sunrise peeking through the trees, the view of God’s creation from 15 feet up in a tree stand. It’s a beautiful thing!
Even if I don’t get a harvest on a day of hunting (and it definitely does NOT happen every time you go out there!) you cannot imagine the adrenaline rush that happens when you even see a deer slowly making its way toward you. There was one instance this fall that I got to observe 2 fawns frolicking around and eating some acorns in the food-plot in front of me. Observing nature without it knowing you are there truly is awesome! It helps you appreciate God’s beautiful creations that much more when you are fully immersed in them like you are during a hunt. I find it to be an unexpected way to draw nearer to God.
I like to compare hunting to gardening. Gardeners enjoy the rawness and DIY aspect of planting, tending to, and harvesting the crops they grow. Hunters feels the same way. We tend to the land our potential harvest lives off of, put in the practice and time to have an accurate shot, set up and check trail cameras to track deer patterns, and if we’re blessed enough we harvest an animal. We have meat in the freezer for months to come to nourish our bodies. There is much satisfaction in this that you just don’t get from buying meat at the grocery store!
The couple who hunts together stays together!
It has been said that women become “hunting widows” during the season their husbands hunt. Their man is gone every weekend in hopes of getting that big buck. I am blessed to say that hunting is something my husband and I get to do together. He is the one who taught me everything I know about the sport. He encourages me during times of frustration and learning, displaying the utmost patience when I am ready to throw in the towel. I love how we have something special, something unique, that we do together. We get to share in each other’s excitement when we do have a successful hunt, and it’s nice to be able to talk with my husband about one of his hobbies and actually know what he’s talking about! When we can share in our man’s happiness, our marriages are happier.
Genesis 9:1-3 “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.”
October through about mid November, my weekends are consumed with wake-up times at 3:00 a.m., donning layers upon layers of fleece and camouflaged gear, sitting in a tree stand still as a statue for hours trying to bear the elements ranging from mosquito-infested woods to bitter cold temperatures, and then packing up my gear to head home and re-wash everything in scent-block readying myself for the next morning. Then, the routine continues the following day with hopes of a successful hunt and harvest in my future.
Maybe hunting isn’t for you. I don’t expect everybody to become hunters, but I do wish to spread knowledge regarding the importance and purpose of the sport. I encourage you to do some unbiased research on hunting if I haven’t convinced you that all hunters are not evil people. Most of us are very good people, I promise! From the time spent in solitude outdoors, drawing closer to my man, and drawing nearer to God hunting provides great happiness in my life and the lives of many others. And for those of you who do hunt…..best of luck and happy hunting!