A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Thoughts on Hunting

Most people never stop to realize that animals in the wild rarely die a natural death. Earlier this year I witnessed a squirrel being ripped from a tree by a pair of stalking hawks. If this was put in human context, it would have been a death of the most violent and unthinkable kind. But in nature this is 'natur'-al.


The color and type of fir that I see in coyote scat tell me that they are getting their share of squirrels. Humans are predators as well, assigned daily and seasonal bag limits to keep the game population in check and to be sure that sufficient numbers survive to repopulate an area by next hunting season. In areas where hunting is unreasonably restricted, it is common for animal populations to get out of control; the coyote being a good example. Few people hunt these predators and hunting is limited to contained areas. Coyotes are intelligent enough to have migrated where they can be on top of the food chain; your back yard. These animals and others have lost the fear of man. Instead of chasing field mice, they are snatching the neighborhood cats and on occasion human children. Hunters do the community a public service by keeping these populations under control while being under the management of the state's Department of Environmental Protection. State supervised Wildlife Management Areas remain wild due to the fees paid to the state by hunters through their purchase licenses, guns and ammo. Chances are good that if not for hunters, these areas would quickly become developed and much of the diversity of wildlife would disappear.

Like it or not the fact is that like most animals low on the food chain such as squirrels are destined to die a violent death. It amazes me that so many people have the impression that without hunters the woods would return to Eden. Fir-filled coyote scat tells us differently, and a quick death by a hunter's bullet is merciful compared to being eaten alive by a predator. Hunting is a humane and important means of harvesting this game. It puts meat in the freezer and I for one prefer to see humans fed by these animals rather than seeing an exploding, overfed coyote and mountain lion population. It also generates tax dollars paid by those involved in the sport which supports wildlife and Wildlife Management Areas.

Hunting is an extremely safe sport and is healthy to the mind and spirit. There are few people who take the opportunity to commune with nature and God the way hunters do. Hunters don't simply pass through an area as one does while hiking down a path or while blowing through a trail on an ATV. I'm sometimes amazed that I seem to know every odd branch, stick and flower that at a distance could be mistaken for wildlife. Hunters carefully study the landscape; constantly looking, listening, smelling. The tiniest crack of a twig or the movement of a leaf is often enough to put ones senses on high alert.
Most hunters love and respect the wilderness and the game they hunt in a way that few others can. It is not just what we do, it is who we are and what we believe. It ties us to our nation's past. In a small way we become one with those who pioneered this land and hunted for food with their firearms. When we hunt and shoot we are honing our skills as members of the militia, which is our 2nd amendment right and duty. We become sharpshooters, trackers, survivalists, develop self-reliance and commune with our Maker. As the Bible teaches, the attributes of our God can be clearly seen in the natural world, and I relate that to the way that the mind of VanGogh can be seen in his creations, his paintings. And these things we long to pass on to our children.

We should be proud to be hunters, and never allow ourselves to be shamed by those who do not understand. We are partners with the natural world, the original and true environmentalists. Most companies these days have been pressured by the left to "be green". The truth is that if anyone really want to see green, they just need to look at us! 

A Reader's Comment:
"Well, I couldn't add a word to your feelings of the hunter, wildlife, woodlands and the natur-al world that I too understand. If we look back to even twenty five years ago and then today, I think the data gathered on healthy population control from the smallest of small game to the largest animal hunted under a licensed system proves we are getting better at management. I think modern wildlife surveys and biological proof sends the educated message to even the biggest anit-hunters should they take time and read and research. I find it interesting to have conversations with those who are so sure I will burn in the fire of hell for harming God's creation. I enjoy speaking in calm tones and explaining they can find both Bible related information and modern data as recent as today to prove why you and the rest of us hunters are right. We have no reason to decline our rock solid foundation of our educated way of life. Thanks for reminding us about those moments we share with friends and family. I have a ten minute conversation emblazoned in my memory of a high school buddy of mine and I going on our first Ring Neck Pheasant hunt back in 1984. Us young guys were in a forty acre corn field his father owned and farmed. We spoke of our life after high school and wondered if we would ever have such another wonderful day of hunting and seeing not one Pheasant yet enjoying nature and friendship. I won't forget such a simple yet great memory of so many years ago."

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