By Alex Comstock
In this day and age of hunting, with numbers continuing to fall, especially with the number of deer hunters, I think it's important we reach as many "non-hunters" as possible to explain the intricacies that people may not understand about hunting. Deer hunting is such a multi layered activity, and there's so many different levels to it. I think sometimes people get it misconstrued and think we only shoot big bucks for chess pieces on the wall, or that we don't respect whitetail deer. That couldn't be any further from the truth, and today I wanted to take the time to explain and convey the love and respect deer hunters have for deer with the hopes you'll share this with someone who may be on the fence about hunting, or someone who doesn't understand the connection between animal and hunter.
I want to start out by claiming that the whitetail deer is my favorite animal. "But how could you kill your favorite animal?" one may ask. The short answer is it's a big deal to take the life of an animal, and taking a deer's life isn't taken lightly. I have the utmost respect for deer and the way in which they are able to survive not only humans hunting them, but predators as well. This relationship can be difficult to understand to the casual onlooker, but this is one of the major reasons I encourage you as a hunter to help portray that respect through photos and words.
As a hunter, it's the reason we clean up a deer (or why you should) for photos and handle them with care. It all stems from that deep respect. The profound appreciation for deer leads to us not wanting to waste an ounce of venison. To me, it's why I want a mount when I shoot a mature buck. I don't get the mount to brag, or to show off my kills, it's to showcase a highly intelligent animal in a positive regard that I feel fortunate enough to have taken the life of. The venison provided from the animal will be consumed and eventually will be gone, but the memories will live through the mount for as long as I live.
I hope to minimally accomplish two things with this short blog post. If you are a hunter, I feel you are also an ambassador for hunting by default. I take that seriously, and want you to as well. That extends to how you talk about and promote hunting, and the more you convey the love and respect deer hunters have for deer, the better. The second thing I hope to accomplish is if you are reading this and happen to be someone who hasn't hunted before, I encourage you to listen to hunters and attempt to understand us. If you learn something maybe you hadn't ever thought of, there could be that much more of a chance you'll be willing to try hunting one day.