Someone recently asked me why I hunt. Strangely enough, I hadn’t really thought about the subject in the past, but my answer was provided without much hesitation. I flatly stated, “My drive to hunt is in my DNA.” I’m not sure that this is scientifically correct, but my DNA was not something I determined and neither was my will to hunt.
We see this in the animal world all the time. A German shorthaired pointer puppy is programmed to point at birds as soon as he becomes stable enough to walk without tipping over. A kitten with a full belly of milk from his mother still stalks intently through the backyard grass in pursuit of the cricket that is about a quarter of his body weight. He has never seen his mother hunt. It is not something he learned. This natural drive to hunt is obvious in animals, and it still remains in at least some humans. I’m evidence of that.This natural drive to hunt is obvious in animals, and it still remains in at least some humans. I’m evidence of that.
When I was six or seven years old and living in northern Minnesota, I carried a Stevens single-shot .22 with me everywhere I went. I was in the woods by myself from dark to dark as often as possible so I could hunt rabbit, squirrel and crow. I was originally from Montana and did see a dead elk from time to time in the back of my father’s pickup truck, but I had never seen someone actually on the hunt. For whatever reason, my dad didn’t take me into the field (it could have had something to do with the fact that I talked a lot back then, too). My solo activity in the woods of Minnesota was not learned behavior.
As I got a little older, I drove my dad crazy asking him when he was going to take me deer hunting. The answer was always “next year,” but that time never really came. During his military assignments to Germany and then the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t have the same opportunities to run out of the back door of the house with a gun in my hands. My hunting dreams never waned, though.
I finally broke loose from the dreary Seattle area to attend Arizona State University. Within a few weeks of being in Tempe, I decided to go to a local hardware store and buy a Remington 870 with a 28-inch barrel. I had heard about the quail hunting in the desert and was determined to be a part of it. I often raced out of my last class of the afternoon and into my truck for the drive south into the desert between Phoenix and Tucson. I walked up birds, killed them and brought them back to the dorm to eat. It’s hard to explain, but the activity made me more complete. My system was once again running as intended.
It wasn’t until I was about 27 years old that I was fortunate enough to satisfy my persistent desire to hunt big game. To say that I’ve never looked back is probably understating the situation some. I’ve killed about two dozen big-game species in the United States and four other countries. I don’t remember the last time I bought red meat from the grocery store. I regularly sit down to dinner thinking back to the specific hunt that produced the meat on my plate. It all generates a great sense of satisfaction.
I recently talked with a few of my friends about this subject, and they agreed that their drive to hunt was something natural within them. We concluded that it is similar to our drive to ensure our self-preservation and the preservation of those around us. We exercise this by training with, owning and carrying firearms, the most efficient tool of self-defense.
Dr. Anthony G. Payne wrote an essay published in 1998 that discussed the “basic drives underlying biology and evolution” in humans. He concluded that the three basic or core drives are acquisition (hunting), protection from loss (self-defense) and perpetuation (procreation). During my conversations with my friends, it struck me that we have the Wayne Pacelles and Michael Bloombergs of the world who are spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to effectively prohibit two of the three natural human drives.My recent discussions with my friends have given me new motivation to ensure that the efforts of radicals like Pacelle and Bloomberg fail miserably.
Shouldn’t everyone see those men’s efforts as terribly perverted and ridiculous when placed in this context? It’s as if they are trying to deny what we are at our very organic foundation! Then, I suppose, there are those people who simply never think about where their food comes from, get nauseous at the thought of hunting and would not consider taking actions that would efficiently defend against violent and unjustified attack. None of it makes any sense to me. How have the comfortable conditions of modern society affected so many so dramatically and quickly?
I have been directly involved in the fight to preserve basic American freedoms for a couple of decades now. Without any doubt, two of these are the natural right to self-defense and the right to hunt. While the prefatory clause of the Second Amendment ultimately discussed what is necessary to the security of a free state, it could have just as easily mentioned these two rights. They were certainly discussed by our nation’s founders when the need for the Bill of Rights and its arms provision were being debated. They simply decided not to spend time and good ink stating the obvious. Their new Free State, won only after immeasurable sacrifice, was altogether different.
My recent discussions with my friends have given me new motivation to ensure that the efforts of radicals like Pacelle and Bloomberg fail miserably. They are doing more than trying with every fiber of their beings and bank accounts to extinguish traditions and ban objects. They are trying to quash what we are at our core as human beings. There are choice words to describe what they are, but I suppose I should keep those to myself. Discretion is not natural. It’s definitely learned.