Some of you may not have the instinctive, internal drive to dive into hunting. Your spouse, a friend, family member or even an inquisitive child of your neighbor could be of the same mindset. They may be hinting at dipping a toe in the hunting water to test the experience, yet not quite sure of a reason to launch. Give them a reason. In fact, give them 10 reasons or more. An instinctive drive to hunt will likely kick in once the pursuit begins, but make the case with these top 10 reasons.
1. Healthy Eats You need protein in your diet, so why not skip the bean aisle in the grocery store and consider wild game? Maybe you are concerned with the use of antibiotics and hormones found in some farmed animals. Wild game provides an organic, lean, renewable and tasty alternative to protein raised in a mass production setting. Whether you target squirrels, waterfowl, upland game, deer or even feral hogs, you can be assured of a meal that has lived a free-range life. Depending on the wild game, it can contain 50 percent less fat and nearly 10 percent fewer calories than beef. There is nothing wrong with binging on a fast-food burger, but for most of your meals, wild game offers too many healthy attributes to ignore.
2. Appreciate Nature, Support Wildlife If not for hunters and their commitment to financially supporting wildlife through the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Act, a self-imposed excise tax on the sale of sporting goods, America’s wildlife backdrop would look drastically different. As a hunter you help fund this continued comeback and personally help manage flourishing species. In the process you acquire a front seat to appreciate nature that benefits from your support. Although certain management schemes may be focused on targeted species, all wildlife, great and small, profits from habitat restoration and wildlife projects.
3. Understand Animal Behavior You may not have had the opportunity to take "Animal Behavior 101" with your economics degree, but you can acquire that class while hunting. To be a successful hunter you need to fully understand animal behavior. Many videos found online can get you started on what you need to know for a successful hunt. Nevertheless, you will be in school on every outing seeing firsthand how nature works. Watching a whitetail buck make a scrape or seeing the grace of a flock of teal settling for a pond landing is not only captivating, but gives you insight on how to successfully take a particular species.
4. Hone Survival Skills The pandemic was an eye-opener in many respects. One important lesson learned should be your personal survival—it is up to you, after all. You likely noticed the toilet paper shortage, but how about the empty shelves of food? That should shock you back to your senses. Hunting provides you a means to supplement those shortages, and along the way you may also hone camping skills and clean water acquisition. Food, water and shelter are your three essential needs and all three are basic components during hunting pursuits. Fill your freezer with healthy wild game and perfect your survival skills in preparation for the next pandemic.
5. Physical Activity According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40 percent of adults are obese. Those who are obese and overweight nudges over 70 percent. That means a good portion of Americans land in either category. Finding time to hit the gym or walk around the neighborhood is not always easy. Hunting can be an answer to combine protein procurement and physical activity into a single endeavor. Preseason scouting, placing hunting stands, building blinds and hiking to remote hunting parcels all add up to calories burnt, and muscles toned. Fuse that with a lean meal of wild game and you are on the way to a better you.
6. Perfect Shooting Skills Have you ever wanted to shoot like the legendary Navy SEAL Chris Kyle? A hunting focus forces you to perfect your shooting skills. Your goal is to humanely kill your targeted species with precision. That requires practice with your firearm of choice. Time at the range and shooting in real-world conditions can help you achieve this goal. And besides, shooting skills for personal defense are always worthy of your time—it’s the essence of the Second Amendment.
7. Help the Climate You may fall into a group where climate change is important to you and your lifestyle. Whether you embrace the fact that beef and modern agricultural processes are contributing to a changing climate, hunting can help you sleep better at night. By attaining your protein from wild species during a hunt you are relying less on the livestock industry and fossil fuels for agricultural endeavors.
8. Save Money Don’t kid yourself. Hunting can be expensive. Despite this basic statement, your initial test doesn’t need to break the bank. You may be able to acquire cheap hunting gear at a pawn shop, online or from an uncle eager to see you succeed. You don’t need to kickstart your hunting career with elk or wild sheep either. Backyard species like whitetail deer, Canada geese and cottontails are found in nearly every ZIP code in appreciable numbers for pantry fodder.
9. COVID-19 Escape Hunting is a notable escape from the infected world. Hunting separates us from the crowds, exposes us to volumes of fresh air and clears our mind of the world’s issues as we focus on the goal at hand. If this pandemic lockdown has you stir-crazy, give hunting a try to evade madness.
10. Recreation Lastly, hunting is entertaining recreation. You may have tried golf or spent a few months on a summer softball league. You cannot deny the laughs and camaraderie created; hunting includes that aspect and more. You are immersing yourself in the real world, not an online game of fantasy. You have an actual quarry with a worthy goal of feeding yourself and your household. Climatic conditions, like a wind-driven snowstorm, challenge you during the season. Still, with skill and luck, you could create a hunting memory and a nutritious meal via an authentic adventure. Share these 10 reasons to hunt with anyone showing a glimmer of interest and you may discover a new hunting friend.