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Why do I hunt?

January 7, 2014

This may seem like an odd topic for my blog on faith and its ethical implications as we put our faith to work. But in reality it really is the perfect place for it. At first, I was going to create a second blog just for outdoors issues, but for several reasons I have put that on an indefinite hold. So, I will answer two questions today: Why I chose to answer this question here and not in a new blog and why do I hunt.

Why did I not create a Christian Outdoors blog? First, there are time constraints and priorities. I am focusing on my priorities this year and starting a second blog is not one of them. But more importantly, I am a follower of Christ first and an outdoorsman after that. To parse out these topics for another blog would be a contradiction of who I am. In a way, it would be separating me from the whole. My identity is a disciple of Christ. I also happen to be a husband, a pastor, a blogger, a student, an outdoorsman, and I can go on and on.

I have been asked several times in various ways “Why can you hunt?” or “How can you kill animals?” First, let me say I am not a television quality sportsman. As a matter of fact, I am a rather poor hunter who immensely enjoys being in the outdoors and taking part in the hunting process. I am not eager to shoot the first thing that appears. I do not have animal heads hanging on my walls. There is nothing wrong with hanging the heads on the wall if you eat the meat, but it’s just not my thing. I hunt with one purpose in mind: fill the freezer.

While I may be a poor hunter, I am a good woodsman and because of this I get to see the wildlife come and go, paying no attention to me. That is one reason I hunt. I see the various creatures of the wild walking, flying, and interacting with each other. There is a beauty to the process in the wild. I get to take in the pretty fall colors or the blossoms in the spring. Even in selecting the animal to harvest there is a respect for the creature involved. That respect goes into shot selection to make a clean, ethical shot.

Why do I choose to hunt for freezer meat? Why not just go to the grocery store? Well, with my lack of hunting success I do buy a great majority of meat from the supermarket. But through the generous gift of ground venison a friend keeps us supplied with and the one dove I was lucky enough to bring home this year, we do use some of the best natural, organic meat available. My family does have a hunting tradition. Growing up we hunted pheasant and quail in Ohio. Now that I am in Texas, I am hunting dove, deer, and turkey (and I hope quail make a comeback as they are good eating.) Yet, the main reason I choose to hunt for food is it is healthy, free, and God provided it for us.

Is there any other purpose to hunt? Yes there is. At times I will hunt to help a landowner contain wildlife overpopulation issues. I call this land management hunting. For example, ask any rancher or farmer in Oklahoma and Texas what they think of feral hogs and they will start saying all kinds of things – none of which are suited for the ears of a child. These hogs are killing their livestock and can eat acres of their crops a night. They can also overpopulate a location in less than a year. These are animals which need to be controlled as they threaten the income and safety of a person and their property. This needs to be done to also maintain a healthy wildlife balance, because they will drive other wildlife out of an area.

I have been asked how I can, as a Christian, kill an animal. I am not a thrill hunter. I cannot be. These animals were placed here by God. I respect the animals I hunt. After all, a feral hog has to be tough and wily to get up to 200 pounds. That is not an ignorant creature. Deer can sense trouble before they realize there is trouble. These are intelligent animals. If I am doing this for thrill, it is time for me to quit hunting. There is something rewarding to harvesting your own dinner, much more rewarding than paying the cashier at some restaurant.

So, there is why I hunt. I think I speak for most Christians who hunt. I would love to hear from those who read this on why they choose to hunt. Please take a moment and post a comment here with why you choose to hunt.

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