There’s always some sort of level of surprise when I meet someone for the first time and they find out that I love to hunt and fish. Most recently, I met some new people through my dad and after chit chatting for a while one of them made a comment about how he had seen pictures and heard stories but “you really seem to know your stuff”. As flattered as I was, I was surprised that I wasn’t asked “why?”, as that is typically the first question out of people’s mouths. Why do I hunt and fish? That is such a loaded question – no pun intended. I could probably write pages and pages about why I hunt and fish trying to answer. I have narrowed it down to a few that mean the most to me, some of which I probably have already talked about but still relevant.
The fun. Fishing and hunting are passions of mine that have become some of the most fun things in my life. No, it’s not about the killing. The killing part is never fun; but the experience of the process and achievement of hard work that pays off is insanely fun. Hunting and fishing bring me so much joy. So why not share that joy with others if they care to embrace it?
The food. Although I don’t eat fish, I love wild game. Last week I ate venison for dinner 3 times. Different deer, different cuts of meat, different meals; all delicious. Something my dad and I usually say when we eat venison, pheasant, or turkey together is “people ask why we hunt, this is why”. But it’s more than just fun and the food.
The things you see. Everything that I have experienced while hunting and fishing are like nothing else – they’re once in a lifetime experiences. Nature has so many breathtaking moments to offer. I have so many pictures of sunrises, sunsets, beautiful birds, cool trees, and small animals that have crawled onto me because they didn’t realize I was there – I could write a lot of stories, but I’ll only share one for now.
Over the summer I was fishing a small local body of water in a kayak. This is something that terrifies me as I have historically only done bank fishing. I had been working on pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Anyway, I was floating around casting a topwater just really trying to get used to being in the small vessel while casting and making sure I wouldn’t somehow flip over. All of a sudden out of nowhere a large beaver appeared and started following me. The beaver was slapping its tail on the water over and over again, splashing me pretty good I might add; for 20 minutes this beaver followed me around splashing me, which I later learned is their way of acting territorial. When he finally disappeared, I just sat in the kayak and laughed. There was nobody else around on the lake or on shore, and I wasn’t even sure anyone would believe me. Where else could I experience something like this? It was so much fun.
The memories. All of the memories that I have made because of hunting and fishing are like none other. Not only am I making memories doing what I love, but I am either doing it with someone who already shares these passions with me or I am sharing my passions with someone who is interested in learning. Both are absolutely incredible feelings. I do a lot of hunting and fishing with my parents, brother, and friends. There are so many stories that we share, some in places like Way up North where we have family like none other. Some of my earliest memories from when we first moved to Plainfield was ice fishing on Plainfield Pond or Windsor Pond every Sunday with my dad. I even have a fish that I caught at a very young age with him that my mom mounted for me when she was doing taxidermy. Memories like these are absolutely irreplaceable.
The connection. Perhaps most important to me to express when someone asks me why I hunt and fish is the connection that I have made with myself and the confidence that I have built over time in growing in these sports. The woman that I am when I am in the woods or on the water. That is why I hunt and fish. That woman is a confident, put together, powerhouse and I can’t always find her in everyday life, but she is always present when I am in my happy place.
Ask your friends who hunt and fish why they do it, the answers might surprise you; they may even inspire you.