Thursday, October 14, 2010
Unless I happen to stumble across one as nice or nicer before I shoot the first legal buck I see during muzzleloader or rifle season. This year I'm hunting strictly for meat. Headgear will not make its way into the equation this season, nor will the kind of serious in-stand/blind time I've done in years past. Provided I have the opportunity to do so, the first two bucks and the first four does I see will be going in the freezer. No questions, no hesitation, no contemplation.
The question is, why? Why would a guy who fell in love with the bow and bowhunting the first time he picked one up as a teenager let the first two weeks of the Oklahoma archery season pass by without so much as an afternoon in the woods? Why would a guy who last year let any number of nice, eminently shootable bucks walk during rifle season suddenly decide this year to shoot whatever passes by first?
And the answer is, I really don't know. I can't put my finger on any one compelling reason. I certainly haven't lost my desire to hunt big game, but I do think maybe I've lost, or at least I'm losing, my desire to hunt according to what I see as the increasingly artificial, frenetic, misplaced and generally fucked up mores, ideals and attitudes of the American big-game hunting scene.
That is a fairly predictable and certainly un-original lament, so I see no reason to get pedantic or preachy about it.
And while it may seem as such, it's not a judgement or a condemnation of others. That's simply how I see it for myself. Therein lies the beauty of hunting: it is, ultimately, whatever you want it to be, and it means whatever you want it to mean.
It just so happens that increasingly I'm finding that what it means to me is at odds with what it means to everyone else, so I must find my clarity in the simple, easy-to-understand act of killing large animals solely for the sake of one's food. Perhaps somewhere along the way I'll manage to find the rest of what I've apparently lost.
In the meantime, I will find my solace in dogs, birds, ducks and boys. And that's not a bad place to be.
Posted by Chad Love at 1:36 PM