March 28, 2023

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

I have thought about this for a long time, the longest of times. I have perhaps a tendency to overthink things though. I generally don’t broadcast that I hunt, maybe you know why or maybe you don’t? Perhaps like me you have heard the garble over and over again. It’s not that I am ashamed of hunting or feel I should operate under the radar, I just have reached a point of realization that life is far too short to spend it arguing with people who don’t want to understand, the kind of people who just want their ideas to be better than yours or for them to just to be right regardless of the topic. They don’t understand, most don’t even want to understand, as I said I no longer engage in the conversation. In the past when I have it is like trying to explain something to someone who is drunk. I don’t care for the game of ‘who can come across more virtuous’.

Unfortunately in ‘modern’ times most of these people are now even drunker on propaganda than before, propaganda they pay to watch that is served to them in their comfort zone while they stuff themselves with junk food. Moreover even if some of these people did actually see your point, the likelihood of them genuinely admitting it is even narrower again. The ‘they’ I talk about have become lost to the pseudo modern world if that’s what you want to call it. (Incidentally this does not mean hunting is not modern or hasn’t been modernized. The equipment most of us carry now gives us every edge over the majority of animals but should never be a substitute for skill and experience.) I should explain when I use the term ‘they’ I use it for want of a better word because ‘they’ covers a broad range of people. I hasten for you to think I am painting this as an ‘us versus them’ attitude, it is not the case. Lastly on this point, I have in the past had the ‘hunting’ conversations with people and even introduced several people to hunting and they have actually gone off and it has become something they do regularly, but this again would not be a regular occurrence. If I am approached I will gladly oblige anyone who is curious but I do not stand on a soapbox with a megaphone selling it.

I pondered the ‘why do I do it?’  some more and have come to the conclusion that something so primitive as killing an animal in order to eat it perhaps does not need to be understood any more than for its primary purpose. If this makes sense to you, I then tried to ‘think’ about it with what I call the reptilian brain, the old part at the back, connected directly to the brainstem, the primal brain. Alas, the primal brain doesn’t do ‘deep thought’ though. Those last few sentences are I feel sounding more and more like an oxymoron. Perhaps I have been scarred by the early years of explaining myself. I suppose this is the fallacy of the anti-hunters argument. Maybe ‘they’ try to apply so much logic to the situation that it means you could almost question everything we do. I have heard all the reasons and more. “You don’t need to hunt”, this is correct I don’t need to hunt from a practical sense nowadays and most of us don’t as we can walk into a store and buy meat, but I am fairly certain you don’t need to do some or all of the things you do. On occasion some of more rational ‘theys’ utter statements like “I get you need to hunt if you live in Alaska or somewhere like that”, and yet this argument could go on and on as to what you or I deem what is ‘necessary’. Maybe we should all just lie in our beds being fed from tubes and shitting into adult diapers while being told what to think by the big bright rectangle at the end of the room, oh wait…

I ‘thought’ about it no more. Instead I sat there, concealed in silence and vegetation, rifle on my tripod ready to go. Waiting calm and still for an animal to come out of the woods, grazing and occasionally popping its head up but still unaware of my presence. My nostrils flare, taking in lungful’s of that damp autumn air. It is a smell I cannot describe but I am in love with. Ever since I was a child and long before I ever picked up a rifle, I loved this time of year, the smell in the air in particular. I never knew why but this is a smell that meant the grass was wet in the evenings, it meant going to pick field mushrooms with my grandfather, it meant collecting sweet chestnuts on the way back from getting a couple of rabbits for tomorrows dinner. If you were to put me to sleep for 100 years and woke me up at this time of year I would know the month instantly with my eyes closed. This time of year is all encompassing to the senses.

The deer points its head to the sky and sniffs the air, the wind this evening is in my favor. Second follows second and minute follows minute, the dark night makes its way across the sky like a blanket. I glance westward at the last reddish orange glow from the sun as it will soon disappear from view. I am fast running out of daylight, my senses narrow, I am focused on the task at hand but smell, touch sight and hearing are very much alert to my surroundings. I settle in behind my rifle and slow my breathing down. Some may be surprised to read I take no pleasure in killing any animal. I will not judge those who do. I have often felt remorse for some time after killing an animal. I am grateful and thankful for what nature has provided and above all else I respect this. However if enjoying sitting in these bushes in silence watching every blade of grass that moves and taking in every sound all while savoring the autumnal air makes me guilty of enjoyment, then take me to the gallows…

So why do I do it? It is in every cell in my body to be a hunter; it is in our DNA as Homo sapiens. Not all of us but surely most. In a world of “primal brain bad” to deny this drive is to deny our very existence. I am sitting here in the cold as the sun begins to lower itself behind the hill waiting on my opportunity to harvest what nature has provided, all because those who came before me did the same. This is part of what it is to be human. In pursuit of an animal you no longer dwell on the trials and tribulations of modern life. Nature switches off all of those distractions and allows you to focus on what is critical to your survival. Reptilian brain takes the wheel and guides you. It is ok to be a human being and not a human doing. Everything these days teaches us the reptilian brain is bad, plaster over the cracks pseudo-scientific mindful meditations. Yes, the reptilian is capable of turning any human into a monster in an instant and as result can be detrimental to your health or to the health of those around you, but remember this part of the brain is the reason we are here, you cannot just slap a bad label on it and lock it into a box. It will destroy you eventually.

So back to the why do I do it? Maybe it’s time to stop trying to understand it myself let alone have others understand it. Fill up your senses and just embrace every single moment that nature provides passing the knowledge onto those of the next generation who also wish embrace it. For they like us will be the true guardians of this planet..


1 thought on “I did a thing today…

  1. Very well written and gets to the essence of why some hunt…….not for the killing but for being and becoming in touch with nature again and returning to that part of life that has been sadly forgotten by many. As the author so wonderfully points out, the special smell of fall in the woods is indescribable….and totally mesmerizing. The author’s insight reminded me of some of the same questions I have pondered over the years.

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