Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy Hunting

Happy first day of firearm deer season to all those Michiganders in the woods today!  I've already seen the success photos and can't wait to watch the news for the local buck poles tonight!  I guess you can tell this is a hunting-friendly post so if you are anti-hunting, you may want to stop right here - or you may want to consider another point of view.  This post also contains photos of weapons and animals who have been killed (though nothing gory).

As a farmer's grand-daughter, hunting has always been a part of my life.  My brother and I started with little fiberglass re-curve bows and wooden arrows with practice tips when we were small children.  At first we would practice shooting at paper targets stuck to bales of straw or the side of our old barn.  When we got older and more mischievous we had competitions to see how far we could launch the arrows across the property (kids don't try this at home without parental supervision, haha!).

My grandpa taught us how to be safe around firearms and other types of weapons.  As a result, we had a healthy respect for what they could do - we saw it first hand with the animals that were hunted.  So we knew that they were not something to play around with or handle without permission.

I totally enjoyed (and still do!) going along for the sit or stalk, learning about the patterns of the animals and their habits and habitat preferences, learning the art of using various weapons, and all the other aspects that go into hunting that a lot of people don't think about.  When I met my husband I was happy to learn that he came from a family that was interested in hunting.  In fact, over the years some of his sisters have become hunters too.  I would love to hunt but, hey, somebody has to stay home with the kids.  Although occasionally my mom will watch the kids on Thanksgiving Day while we go out for the afternoon hunt while everyone is napping so I can go sit with my husband and enjoy the camaraderie and serenity.

I remember those days early in our marriage when I sometimes felt like a "hunting widow".  It was just a lonely time for me and I struggled to reconcile the fact that doing something away from me would make my husband so excited.  But as the years passed, I realized that it wasn't about me as much as about meeting a need and supporting an interest that he has.  I began to see it as something that helps to relieve his stress, is an area for us to connect when I choose to show interest, and gives us something to talk about besides the kids and work.  I also began to take advantage of that time to do the things I enjoy doing on my own life crafting, spending time at the barn with the horses, and taking little day trips like the one we are doing this weekend to Frankenmuth.

I also believe that being around hunting gives my children a great sense of the value of nature.  We all enjoy checking out our trail cameras, taking walks in the woods on the off-season to see what signs we find, coming up with nicknames for the "regulars" to our field and on our cameras.  We are able to use nature and hunting as a starting point for learning about many of life's natural things like death, where our food comes from, how to take care of the land and creatures around us, ethics, and, well, the birds and the bees...

What are your thoughts on hunting?  Do any of you ladies hunt?

No comments: