Western Hunter Magazine July/August 2019 #70 - Page 10

HUNTER MAGAZINE WHY WE p HUNT By Design Considering purpose, place, and value Nick Gehring H ow is it that such a simple question can be so difficult to answer, or at least to answer well? Would it be equally difficult for a mountain climber to answer the same question, “Why do you climb?” Not really, because nearly any justification will most likely satisfy the questioner. “I climb for exer- cise, scenery, challenge, camaraderie, relaxation, etc.” The list can go on and on, and there’s really not a bad answer in the bunch. Generally speaking, people are content with the answers to the “Why’s” of life, so long as the subject matter or the answer doesn’t involve an infringe- ment on something the questioner regards as in- nately valuable. For instance, if the rock climbing threatened the landscape of an area, or the habitat of certain animals living in that area, those same answers would not be as acceptable to the ques- tioner. In that case, there is a clear perceived in- fringement on something the questioner holds as innately valuable, whether it’s the flora or the fauna. So, why is it difficult to defend our hunting heritage? The question becomes thorny due to the fact that at the end of the day, our answer involves an infringement on something that has innate value. 10 WESTERN HUNTER By the very nature of the term “hunt”, hunters intend to – at some point – kill things. These things come in many shapes and sizes – from mice to el- ephants, ducks to deer, ptarmigan to tahr. For the most part, anything that lives and breathes will be hunted; if not by humans, then by other animals. I love watching the BBC series, “Planet Earth”, which does a wonderful job of putting this “hunting earth” on display. We live in wild world, where in many cases, it’s either kill or be killed. Thankfully, that’s not the case for humans, at least not generally speaking. The question of, “Why do you hunt?” obviously isn’t directed at lions or tigers or bears; it’s directed at us. More specifically, it’s often directed at affluent people, who live in a society where hunting is not the only means of survival. Obviously, the full question isn’t “Why do you hunt?” but, “Why do you hunt when you don’t have to?” To the questioner, there are alternative options that seemingly avoid a clear violation of something that has innate value. That “something” is living, breathing, often beautiful and majestic animals. Why kill through hunting if it’s ultimately not nec- essary? It’s a good question. I’m continually amazed at the complexity of the world we live in. Science (biology, zoology, and ecology in particular) is fascinating. Again, some of the video productions available today are abso- lutely stunning and mindboggling. From a ponder- osa pine to the herd bull thrashing it, the beauty and intricacies of the plants and animals this world contains is nothing short of breathtaking. Evolution is thoroughly suggested as the means by which we have all of this. But there is an alterna- tive option. Is it possible that this beauty, and the intricacies within it, were all designed and created? Of course science can’t explain that as an option, www.westernhunter.net