Why Do I Hunt? by Pete Gamet
Throughout the years people have asked me why I hunt, and I don’t have a clear definite answer. Until now I never really gave it much thought, but here are a few reasons why I hunt.
I didn’t always like to hunt, I didn’t go hunting while I was growing up, I went fishing instead. I moved around a lot and at times I lived in the city. There’s not much opportunity to go hunting in an urban environment.
After serving four years in the United States Army I started hunting. For me, it was a chance to get away and be by myself. Let’s face it, I spent a good part of my military career with a weapon in my hands. That was normal to me and hunting gave me those feelings again. For just under a year, I did everything with my weapon by my side. I worked, ate and slept with my M-16A2. My weapon was a part of me. I had grown used to having it by me. Coming home from a combat zone and leaving the military was a transition for me, the last thing I wanted to do at that time was carry a weapon.
My cousin suggested hunting with a bow and took me with him my first two years. Then, it was just to get away from work and to be by myself. Those first couple of years was a learning experience, I didn’t realize just how much I enjoyed experiencing the outdoors and watching the wildlife.
A lot of trial and error went into my hunting and more times than not I came home empty handed. I made almost every mistake imaginable but I kept trying and learned from my mistakes. I still make mistakes, just not as many.
So why do I still go hunting, after years of mistakes and botched hunts? The experience is what keeps me going back every year. I can remember getting into my treestand before the crack of dawn and seeing a turkey roosting in the next tree, or when a red squirrel decided to climb on my treestand with me in it, and a great horned owl perched itself a few trees from me and we watched each other for a half hour. I can remember when two dominant does decided they wanted to fight over a patch of clover, or when a fawn wanted to play in rain just like a little kid, jumping from mud puddle to mud puddle. I have plenty more memories but these are the more memorable ones.
I could still watch the wildlife from a distance and not visit the woods or fields but that isn’t the point. Hunting is getting in, up close and personal for me. If you don’t know what I am talking about try having a doe with fawns right under you while you are in a treestand. It is the excitement you feel when that big buck comes into view and your heart pounds and you can’t control your breathing. It’s getting the shakes when you try to draw back on the buck of a lifetime. Having the wits scared out of you when a doe surprises you as you walk to your stand in the early morning.
Hunting has given me the chance to view different animals in their natural habitat and environment. Over the years I have witnessed rabbits, fox, turkeys, raccoon, opossum, mink, otter, grouse, pheasant, hawks, owls, different song birds, squirrel and deer all acting natural. Hunting is experiencing the outdoors on different terms than what we are used to. Hunting is more than taking of game; it is listening, watching and learning. Hunting is sharing an experience with my boys and watching their reaction when an animal comes into view.
I hunt for all the above reasons and then some. Do I have to take an animal every time I go out, no I don’t. Will I still go hunting years from now, yes I will.