Today marks the one year anniversary of my very first hunting trip! It’s a bit difficult to write about, I received some animosity, hate, and cutting jabs on my Facebook page when I originally posted about my success. This hunt was definitely a bucket list item for me and hunting turned out to be more exhausting and anxiety filled than I had imagined. It was also more exhilarating that I had thought it would be and I am still extremely proud of my accomplishment. I, personally, feel that hunting is a good skill to have and know. I now know, first hand, what it takes to put meat on my table for my family. I now know, without a doubt, that I am a provider. I treated my kill with the utmost respect (including saying a special prayer for him in thanks for his sacrifice), ate the meat, and enjoy the trophy mount in my home to mark my success.
Hunting gets a very bad wrap from a lot of people who tout the following as their big turn off: “how could you kill/hurt an innocent animal?” To which, I can easily reply: “Please, let me know what that cow/chicken/pig/turkey did to you that it was OK in your book to have them killed for you.” I also struggle with the idea that getting your meat from the grocery store is more “humane” than hunting it yourself. Let me know how the treatment of cows/chickens/pigs/turkeys/etc. on a meat farm is better than an animal who has had a taste of free air and the wild, who has a chance to outsmart his hunter, etc. I’m not going to say I don’t get 99.9% of my meat from the grocery store; that would be a lie – but I can say that I don’t make an asinine assumption that those animals are treated better because they were raised on an overpopulated farm and force-fed to make them bigger and taste better.
It puts them directly in touch with their meat food. When they eat this meat, they know what the animal looked like, how it lived, how it died. They don’t have to worry that it was some “downer cow” that was so sick it couldn’t even stand, as it was lifted by forklift into the slaughtering line. The hunter hasn’t let someone else do the dirty work for him…The hunter knows that this animal has died with dignity and its carcass was treated with respect. (Answer by ThorThpot fromWhy do people like hunting? | Answerbag http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1060167#ixzz290pXVQLH)
I was able to get rid of hypocritical ties I may have had myself and do the “dirty work” myself, and I am extremely proud of that. I am also amazingly proud of myself for watching and helping during field dressing – which I had been very anxious about beforehand (I seriously did NOT want to toss my cookies). It was definitely not as messy and gross as I had assumed it would be. It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t a gore fest either. I felt it was important and responsible of me as a hunter to watch the entire process and not just shoot, smile for some pictures, and then pick up a mounted head a few months later. In my opinion, part of being a responsible and good hunter includes the grosser parts like field dressing. I also took my kill to a meat processor. My family enjoyed Antelope steaks, German sausage, Italian sausage, and snack sticks for many months.
Hunters do a lot to help our environment including this small list: providing funds (their license fees and more) which go towards wildlife conservation and management, population management, and providing food for their families.
Here are the stats from my hunt:
– Before it started, I wished for a clean, painless kill for the antelope done with one shot
– I killed one antelope, with one shot – a clean kill
– The shot was made at 258 yds
– The antelope is considered a “trophy” kill – meaning it is larger than normal
– His horns are 15″ on one side and 15.75″ on the other
– The kill was made on my second day of hunting at 6:50am, about 15 minutes after we hard started that morning
– The entire first day was an exhausting attempt to find different herds, a buck that was big enough, etc. This particular buck was the last one we saw the day before – we hadn’t attempted a shot because it was far to late in the day
– My dad went on the trip with me as an observer. He is an experienced hunter. I am glad we were able to bond so much over this trip!
– We went through an amazing group: J&D Outfitters and Guide Services. I highly recomend them.
– My guide was Steve. He was awesome! Please ask for him if you decide to give hunting a try – he really helped me!
Here are some photos from my hunt.