Yes indeed, I am one of those guys that puts on camouflage and grabs a rifle and sits in a tree waiting to ambush a poor unsuspecting animal. Before you judge me… Hear me out.
I do not hunt to put food on my table. My family consumes all that I harvest and we love it. By no means is this game meat “free”. I spend thousands of dollars a year paying for licenses , hunting leases, food plots for the animals I hunt and gasoline, ammo, and hunting clothes. Not to mention the cost of paying a butcher to process my meat for consumption. If I divide all those costs by the 100lbs of meat I may or may not bring home from two deer, it would be some very pricey meat. Cheaper and faster to just go to the grocery store and purchase beef. If my family was in dire need of food on the table, I would shoot deer at night without all the expense or burden of being within the law.
For those of you that feel empathy for the pretty deer that may get harvested by a hunter…. Ponder this. Cows are beautiful creatures also. Beef cows are bred with the sole intention of being slaughtered for food. They have absolutely no freedom or comfort while they are grown to be fat for market. A deer on the other hand is born free. He eats, sleeps and wanders around freely on his own schedule. There is a small chance that he may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets shot by a lucky hunter. The cow does not have that option. He eats, sleeps and whatever his life entails at the schedule placed upon him by the beef farmer that determines what is best to ensure maximum growth and profit. There is 100% certainty that he will die for consumption. There is far greater chance that the deer may get hit by a speeding car.
I try to improve the habitat that I hunt in by planting food plots and thinning out areas so that underbrush can grow freely. Deer do not eat tree bark. Mature forrest areas only provide food for animals when acorns are falling. They eat young plants and underbrush. They really like the edges of the woods where the brush is growing. That is why they are always seen on the edges of roads and development.
I hunt for the enjoyment of the great outdoors. The peace and tranquility of sitting alone and watching the forrest in action. I have seen things that most people will never see in their lives. I have had bobcats walk under my stand, a bald eagle land in a tree next to me, a family of river otters sniff my pant legs. The wonderment of all of God’s creatures never cease to amaze me. I could never be angry while sitting alone in the woods. The stress of life is put on hold while I am distracted by simple things like a squirrel being chased by an owl. When I see a deer in the woods, time stands still for me. I would say that 99% of the time when I see deer in the woods, I do not choose to shoot. Whether it is not a big enough deer for me or not an optimum shot opportunity, I just choose to watch and enjoy the fact that they are there for me to see. I am not trying to say that I am only shooting for trophies. Each and every one of them is a trophy to me. I just try to be an ethical hunter . Envy a hunter for the peace in his life. Perhaps join one someday on a hunt. If you do not wish to kill… You could shoot pictures of what you see.