I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention lately, but the outdoors are changing. By that I mean that the outdoorsmen aren’t who you suspect them to be. The modern media would lead us to believe that any gun toting, animal harvesting person must be, in some form or another, of low intellect and moral character. Although, that’s not the type of person I see shopping beside me in the local outdoors store recently, there’s a new group of hunters coming to the party. They are the foodies, the naturalist, the non-gmo, all organic crowd. I guess when the grass fed beef got to be too expensive they turned to what I already knew as the best way to get a healthy meal, they are going hunting.
When it comes to welcoming new factions into a group, the hunting party could have done a lot worse. These new hunters might be the true blessing our way of life needed. We hunters have spent quite some time tied up in the bad rap of evil men who kill Bambi’s mom for sport. We were the people who rode around drinking beer, blasting away at any poor creature who got in our path. Even worse than those, we were all assumed to be trophy hunters, shooting animals solely to claim as prizes. I don’t care how many dollars the hunting population threw at the NRA, there is only so much bad publicity we could take. Just when we start to think things aren’t going to get better, in walks this new crowd.
Consider them a breath a fresh air into our stale circle of friends. This new hunter wasn’t raised up in the tradition like the people I’m familiar with. These are 20 somethings looking for a healthy protein source. They are asking questions and doing their research on the in’s and out’s of the sport. Their ideas of a successful hunt don’t require big horns or large numbers, rather they are content with a medium sized doe or 3 rabbits they jumped from the brush. They run on home each hunt with new knowledge and a burning desire to put more quality, healthy meat on their table.
Can we talk about refreshing?!? Just when I couldn’t stomach another article about how to kill the most of these or the biggest of that. Finally, we are getting back to the root of hunting, or at least why I hunt. I can remember growing up at my papa’s table simply relishing the idea that doves were being served for supper, or a nice grilled venison back strap. My mouth waters now just thinking about a plate full of seared duck breasts. The funny thing about all those meals is I don’t remember once caring about the size of the animal that was on my plate, just that it was something I had a part in procuring and preparing.
I think we all need to take a look around and maybe a step back to the way things use to be. It’s high time we start promoting the true virtues of the outdoors. It isn’t about the size or the stature of the animal. It’s about taking pride in harvesting something to feed your family. It’s going out, experiencing, and becoming a part of what you consume. These thoughts make us good hunters, it forces us to respect the animal and respect ourselves. It forces us to be more responsible outdoorsman, ensuring that we do what’s best for the resources the outdoors provides. Thank God this new generation of hunters came a long to remind us, and hopefully it takes root for generations to come.