I believe a few of you feel this
Iím pretty sure a few of you guys are already here
I believe Iím getting there.
Former deer hunters share reasons for stopping
Taking an animalís life is an intensely personal action
The deer most people see during deer season are most likely lashed to vehicles, headed for butcher shops. The stories nonhunters hear are often those of successful hunters eager to recount the details of their hunt.
What most of us do not see evidence of, what we do not hear about, are the intensely private thoughts of deer hunters.
I have been talking to deer hunters, and sprinkled among the stories of big bucks and successful camps are the reflections of another kind of deer hunter.
The former deer hunter.
I was talking to a friend of mine, an avid hunter, the other day. I happened to ask him if heíd been out deer hunting.
ďNo,Ē he said. ďFor the first time in at least 40 years, Iím not hunting deer.Ē
I didnít need an explanation for that, but he felt compelled to give me one. Thatís how deeply ingrained deer hunting is in northern Minnesotaís culture.
He first wanted to assure me he had not become an anti-hunter. He mentioned that twice in fact.
This was his story: He had shot a beautiful big buck last fall, and when he had walked up to it after killing itówell, something didnít feel right. He stammered a bit, trying to explain what he felt.
I have heard the same kind of story from other hunters through the years. I understood what he was feeling. For some hunters, there comes a time when killing another deer becomes unnecessary.
This is not to say this man wonít hunt deer again. He may. But for now, heís not a deer hunter.
I talked to another serious hunter a few days ago. He has been out for other species much of the fall. But again last fall, he did not hunt deer. He used to hunt deer, walking about in the woods, tracking, sneaking, matching wits with the animals.
At some point, his group turned to hunting from stands rather than walking. In one of those early stand hunts, another hunter, on the ground, had pushed a nice buck in front of my friend. He couldnít shoot it.
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