What makes hunting so intriguing? There are plenty of anti-hunting messages to sway families from participating, but the wild keeps calling. What’s up with that?
I suppose there are many calls of the wild. The wilderness, harvesting an animal, excitement, fellowship, campfires, good eating, adventure, time with God, time with family. All good things, no doubt. Here are the Jeub reasons.
Today I’m bringing four of my children to Nebraska for a deer hunt: Lydia (16), Isaiah (14), Micah (13), and Noah (12). The actual hunt will consume just a fraction of our thoughts. Much more valuable and lasting will be the card games in the tent, the set up and breakdown of camp, and the times sitting in the woods together. Come to think of it, I’m sort of glad we don’t harvest animals for the entire trip. Just hanging together is the real joy.
Most hunters have a meat market process their animals, but we butcher our own. It gives the entire family a piece of the action, even the little kids not yet old enough to go out on the hunt. A traditional practice after wrapping the steaks and roasts is marking the name of the hunter on the package. Reading “Lydia’s Tenderloin Steaks” when the meat is pulled from the freezer months later is quite a rush for the child responsible. What better confidence builder is there than sharing a hearty elk steak meal with 16 others—who are all saying, “This elk tastes great!”—knowing that you were the one to provide?
We go hunting every year, and we come back with fantastic stories. Even when the kids were too young to come with, I’d come home from my solo hunts with huge tales of the hunt (and I never had to make up any of them!). Story is powerful. Here’s what I pondered after returning from our 2009 hunt:
[The power of story] is more profound than you might think. Every year the hunters in the family return home to tell stories of their few days in the woods. Even if unsuccessful in harvesting an animal, I’ll return with vibrant stories of this or that. All my pre-hunting children (those under 12) can’t wait for me to return home to tell the tales of the year’s hunt. None of the tales are fabricated or made up. They don’t have to be. Every year is exciting, adventurous, wild. These stories get told over and over again through the years. Lessons of survival and temperament and strategy and adventure get repeated around the campfire. They get repeated over and over again for generations.
We got skunked last year (meaning, we didn’t get anything), but we’re hoping for better luck this year. Even so, we’ll come home with some great stories about something, even if it is just about who raked it in playing Hearts in the tent!
I’m queuing this post to go live when we’re heading out on Opening Morning. Follow me on Twitter to get the real live feel of our hunt. I’ll be posting as the fun unfolds. Hopefully, next week we’ll be posting some great stories on the site.