Article contributed by T. Warren.
I started hunting for the wrong reason. Admittedly, it was for a girl. Now, many guys do illogical things when trying to “get in good” with a girl. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) has a very tight knit family. They share many common interests, hunting being the main one. I came from a non-hunting family, and had no real idea what it involved, other than killing Bambi.
I needed to get in the good graces of her father. Most conversations with him and his friends revolved around hunting and I had to figure out a way to gain some conversational grounds with him, other than his passing “Hello”. I’m sure he figured I’d be kicked to the curb soon enough and wasn’t going waste his time. Hell, he even called me by the wrong name for a while. It makes me laugh now as he wasn’t trying to be rude, he just didn’t care.
I guess I stuck around long enough that he finally invited me on a Nevada bull elk hunt. I had no idea what that meant, but I was damn sure I wasn’t going to mess it up. It was probably the worst trip ever! I ended up with the holy mother of gastrointestinal bugs and had to exit the tent numerous times throughout the night to avoid an embarrassing event!! To add to it all, we arrived to 60+ degree temps and sunshine and within a day it was snowing sideways, freezing and miserable. Good old Nevada weather!
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Now fast forward many years later. I finally gained the favor of my father-in-law and eventually married his daughter, now my wife. I will always be indebted to my him, he has taught me so much about hunting. He instilled in me the requirement as a sportsman to be respectful and responsible to the very animals we hunt to eat. The biggest piece of wisdom he ever bestowed upon me was this; “If you ever get to the point where you don’t get that nervous racing heartbeat and excitement when you are about to pull the trigger, you need to hang it up, because then its just killing”.
Every time I harvest an animal, the gravity of that moment never escapes me. I never take those moments for granted. Even though that meat is going to feed my family and it will be appreciated and used. It still requires something to lose its life in order to sustain another. And that understanding should never be lost on a person.
People might disagree that you can be a compassionate hunter and respect the very animals you are killing. But, coming from a non-hunting family I have seen how much time, money and energy the hunting community puts into conserving and growing healthy ecosystems. I would say that no other community or group out there is doing more.
Hunting is now at the very core of who I am. I feel a deep overwhelming need to be amongst the mountains, trees, sagebrush and animals. And I will be forever grateful for the wrong reason that started it all.
About the Author
Travis was born in California and spent his formative years living outside London, England. He was raised in a non-hunting family, and it wasn’t until he met his wife, Ashley, when he was introduced to the world of hunting. Now, beside being a husband and dad, he spends as much time as possible, exploring the wilds of Nevada! Now that his kids are older, he drags them along. Hunting in order to provide his family and friends with the most organic meat you can’t buy in the store, is central to who he is. The wilds captivate his soul and he is at peace among it.