The title to this post is “new hunters” but it also involves people that wish to experience the hunt and maybe never pursue it themselves. I, as a passionate hunter and outdoorsman, love to share my passion. Over the years I have introduced many people to hunting and fishing. If someone shows an interest, I am more than happy to share it with them.
Having been stationed in Canada for a couple years during my time in the service, I had the opportunity to take a friend/co-worker hunting. Hunting and trapping was a big part of the culture among the population as well as a lot of us stationed there. With much talk about hunting in the break room, some non-hunters naturally had an interest in what it was about. My Friend asked if he could tag along on a hunt with me. Naturally I said yes. I’m sure he was a bit out of his element trekking through the mix of swamp and rock characteristic of Newfoundland. The quarry of the day, Ptarmigan. Its much like a grouse, but with meat more like a duck. Newfoundland has some great grouse hunting by the way. Grouse is what cut my teeth on in my early years of hunting. So as we trekked through the swamp and rock among the blueberry bushes and picture plants, finally we jumped a pare of ptarmigan. BANG!!!!! The 12 gauge roared. Probably the most unforgettable moment in ones life is to hear the roar of a shotgun going off unexpectedly for the first time. He stepped out and said “WHAT WAS THAT”, as a shower of white feathers drifted down in the air around us. I told him that I just shot a ptarmigan. As if needing to ask among the shower of feathers drifting down, he asked if I got it. LOL So I retrieved the bird and we continued to hunt. I would like to say that I bagged 2 birds that day, but time clouds the memory. That was about 20 years ago.
The most memorable part of the hunt, besides reliving vicariously through him the first time my dad took a shot, was his comment after the hunt. “I can see the satisfaction in being able to put food on the table.” Probably not his exact words, but the meaning of his comments after the hunt. He never asked to go again, and I doubt he took up the sport. But I believe he gained a respect for hunting from the experience. Hunting isn’t all about taking the game, its the experience. Its not easy. Not always successful, but rewarding when it is. Being out in nature, enjoying the sights, sounds, and trudgery. The satisfaction of being able to provide for your family in the most primordial means. Much like having a good job and being able to take your family out for a nice dinner at a fine restaurant, except your the butcher and chef. Being in touch with with the entire chain. Aquiring the meat, processing it, and cooking it. Being totally in touch with the entire food chain to feed your family.
I hate to make it a political or sociological issue, but there is a direct correlation between the satisfaction of being able to go to the store and buy the most choice cut of meat wrapped in plastic, and being able to go to the field and take it yourself. There’s a lot of effort expended in both methods. For me personally, I take much more satisfaction in taking the game myself.