“How can you kill innocent little animals?? They’re so cute. They never did anything to you!”
If you’ve been hunting for any significant length of time and people are aware of this, you’ve had this conversation at least once. People ask me these questions all the time and while i usually just crack a smile and roll my eyes, there are actually some very real, significant answers to why we wake up at four in the morning to sneak through the woods and commit atrocities that are near unthinkable to those who oppose the things we are passionate about. Sadly, people usually only see the surface level of what we do – i.e. shooting animals without remorse. In reality, although the chase and sport of hunting are absolutely reasons that we enjoy what we do, these are far from the most important reasons that we endure early mornings and harsh weather conditions in pursuit of wild game.
Hunting, for me, has been a way to develop some very important relationships in my life. My grandfather, my role model, the single man I aspire to be like most in this world, taught me to hunt and fish from an early age. He taught me the importance of hunting and our duty to harvest animals in the most ethical way possible when we have the opportunity to do so. Most importantly, my grandfather showed me the love of our Creator through the outdoors.
Although I was saved at an early age of five years old and truly believe that it was a true conversion experience at that time, it wasn’t until I became active in the outdoors that I really understood how big our God truly is. From the immaculate sunrises through the trees or over the water, to the first song of the morning from the birds as they awake, it is evident that the Father spared no detail in His creation.
Without hunters, ecosystems would become vastly overpopulated and animals would begin to die of disease and starvation as opposed to providing healthy meals for families all across the country. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1.6 million deer-car collisions occur every year leading to “200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries, and over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage.” The resulting animal carcasses are often simply dragged to the side of the road resulting in a never-ending cycle of animals meeting cars, causing injuries or damages, and attracting more animals. It is our job as hunters to help regulate the population of wildlife in an ethical manner so the populations do not increase to dangerously high levels. The book of Genesis even touches on this during the first chapter during the story of Creation. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26 ESV).
The first Scriptural reference of actually hunting game comes in Genesis Chapter 27 verse 3 with Issac talking to his firstborn son Esau. Issac says to Esau, “Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me…” Although this is not written in the red letters of Jesus’ audible words like in the New Testament, since we as believers accept that the written word of God is holy and inspired as He tells us it is, it only stands to reason that God wants us to take advantage of the dominion over the animals that He has given us as well.
Hunting, for me, has quickly become a combination of all these reasons that support our passion. My Grandfather taught me from an early age to respect the lives of the animals we take and thank God for the opportunity to enjoy His creation every time we hunt. Although the Father looked at His creation and “saw that it was good,” He also put humans at the top of the food chain for a designed reason with the purpose of being the ultimate provider for us and our families. Take the time today to thank the Lord for his immaculate Creation and the ability we have to enjoy it in such a way that we as hunters fell in love with long ago.