The reasons I hunt
I often get asked “why do you hunt?” Answering this question is essential to understanding the purpose of Hunt and Eat Well and why I want to share my passion for hunting.
Let’s face it. A lot of people have a negative image of this activity. While this is something I can understand, I can’t let it continue. As a hunter I feel that it’s my duty to educate people through my stories and to show all the positive aspects of hunting.
As this blog targets hunters and non-hunter, I have to explain why I choose to hunt as the first article.
It’s only been three years since I joined the hunting community (or five if you count from when I started working towards my license). Until then I’d never participated in a hunt, though I had a taste of the hunting world back when I was 13 years old during a one-week trip to Scotland.
A friend of mine has a domain in Scotland and invited my best friend and me for one week. It was paradise!
We had an unlimited playground supervised by the “ranger” who was working for the domain. We fished, walked in the forest for hours, and saw dog races during an important day for Scotland (though I can’t remember which one). I fell in love with this way of living, being connected to nature and people in a country where you will listen to legends and wildlife stories. It was awesome.
Although it was a hunting domain, it wasn’t during the season so we didn’t get the chance to hunt. As we were pretty curious about shooting a gun, the ranger organized a skeet game in the domain. It was the first time in my life that I held a gun (a shotgun) in my hands. Believe it or not, I was pretty good at it. It felt natural to me, as if I had been doing it all my life.
Without realizing at the time, it was the closest experience I’d had so far with the hunting world. Being in nature, seeing wildlife, meeting new people and eating venison; it was just like a hunting season.
After this trip, I didn’t explore the experience further aside from fishing with my grandfather and hiking in the mountains. From the age of 15 to 30 I was more focused on my professional life and to be honest, I was more interested in big cities (and parties).
It was only after the buyout of the company I’d created with friends that I decided to come back to Valais, where I come from. This back-to-the-roots decision triggered the experience I’d had in Scotland and I decided to go to the shooting range to train.
It was at that time that I came understand that I can combine my passions for nature, hiking, and shooting within one pastime. So, I decided to start my hunting license.
The link with nature
Hunting is all about nature. To understand wildlife, you need to learn about nature. It is not only about knowing trees’ and plants’ names. It is about understanding the whole ecosystem.
We all know that we are part of this ecosystem, but our behaviur doesn’t always reflect this. As humans, we think that we are separate: we build houses, roads, cars, and technologies to help us. But in the end, we are still biological beings.
It was only after sacrificing 5 years of my life in the development of a business that I understood that I lost my connection to nature.
I had to get this connection back. Hunting gives me this direct link to nature.
Hunting in our region is quite a challenge. You are hunting at 2500 meters altitude in really steep mountains. As I love challenges, this motivates me to train a lot for them. First by respect for the animal and second for my own safety.
Most people don’t understand the dedication behind the hunt. Imagine walking in the mountain with a bag weighing 20 kilos (even more if you carry the animal), a rifle, heavy hiking shoes, and more stuff you need to eat and sleep. All this in a hostile environment.
The hunting season is like a competition. You train the whole year for only a few days.
The life-and-death situation
The finality of hunting is killing an animal. Even if it represents a small percentage of the whole hunting process, it is still the outcome. In this article, I won’t open the debate about killing animals (stayed tuned for that in another article). I’ll just expose my feeling about being confronted with death and by definition with life.
In our modern lives, if we want to eat meat, we go to the supermarket and buy it. At the time of my grandparents, it was not that easy. Most of the time, they had to prepare the animal themselves, and therefore to kill it.
Our relationship to death of people has also changed in our traditions; in times gone by many people would keep the deceased person in the living room until the funeral. I’m the first to admit that I’m happy this isn’t the case anymore, at least in my culture.
But I still ask myself: is hiding death a good thing for us if we want to enjoy life?
If you’re successful in your hunt, you’ll be confronted with the death of an animal, which is always sad. But this sadness makes me even more connected to life. It helps me to realize the chance I have to be alive, and the chance I have to eat meat that comes directly from nature. Hunting is like a reminder that we’re not immortal.
Hunting is about people. During your hunting life, you’ll meet a lot of people. Many of them may become friends for life which is pretty unique to the hunting community. The link between hunters has no frontiers. You can be old, young, rich, or poor, it doesn’t matter; you are a hunter. This pretty solid link creates the most memorable moments. After every day of hunting, there is a souvenir.
Hunting also connects you to elder experts who share their experiences with young hunters. In our daily routine, we have a tendency to not speak with the elderly which is a shame as they have a lot to teach us.
This is the first reason I hunt. I can’t get my meat from an industrial company. In Switzerland, due to our small population, we don’t need to produce in big industrial farms. We can easily find local meat even in supermarkets. But even, you never know about the meat quality unless you go directly to the farm, which I strongly recommend.
During the year I lived in Germany, I was pretty shocked by the meat sold in the supermarkets. It was so cheap and I couldn’t accept that it was possible to get decent meat at this price. It disgusted me.
Back in Switzerland, I had to find a way to get closer to farmers first and then to get my own meat. Hunting appears like a logical activity to get the best natural meat possible.
For this reason, I have created the Instagram: huntandeatwell. To show a non-hunter that hunting is also about getting the best meat possible.
You can have many reasons to start hunting. This is something very personal. Each hunter has their own story, which makes the community even more interesting.
Always ask yourself why you choose to hunt and also why you choose not to. Not everyone can hunt, but everyone can think about it. Is it normal to get your meat from an industrial farm? Is it normal to not be connected to nature anymore?
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