Sometime over 1/2 century ago I was given a gift of my maternal grandfather’s beautiful set of history volumes by my grandmother. He had deceased when I was a young lad, and my grandmother had kept them in his honour to present to one of his grandsons who might have an interest in their contents and cherish them. They became a fixed part of my library and were used for reference purposes from time to time since they went all the way back in history to the Babylonian Empire. Of course, that was also an important historical Biblical period for the nation of Israel which was my main interest in those volumes. Nonetheless they seemed an excellent resource from Biblical times up to World War 1, at which time the British historian’s volumes were published.
But what intrigued me in particular, since I’ve never been a specific student of history, though I’ve completed courses in both Biblical history and church history, (I’m a “futurist” in outlook) was the author’s commentary in the preface of Volume 1 explaining from where all historians tend to view historical times — their perspective on history influences both their slant and commentary — something akin to the media of our day. Any commentary, whether written or vocalized on history or current issues is influenced by today’s culture and biases, or that of the past.
PERSPECTIVE is a way of looking at any thing, matter, issue, philosophy, religion, or even the times in which we live. Its foundation may be based on quicksand or solid rock… or somewhere between. As it concerns hunting in particular, there are several possible, and practical, motivations and views — PERSPECTIVES.
Here are some general HUNTING PERSPECTIVES:
- Outdoor sports and equipment.
- Healthy living.
- Involving others in that which might benefit them as well as ourselves.< My British friend was intrigued by my bear hunting and wanted to get involved, so I set him up for it. He didn’t get a chance on a bear but claimed to have lost six inches around his waist after a week of hunting!
- Management of species.
There may be others, but I believe those eight just about covers all motives and views. In my last blog I stated that hunting got me into handloading, not the other way around. Of course, that would also include all equipment related to hunting which, by the way, has become in our times a major industry.
Actually, there’s too much to complete a full list here, but included are rifles, muzzle loaders, handguns, scopes for those and viewing scopes, bullets, powder, cases, bows and equipment, binoculars, clothing, shoes, boots, scents, calls, shotguns and shells, stands and blinds, tents, camping equipment, canoes, boats and motors, trucks, vans, SUVs, ATVs, snow mobiles, travel bags, sleeping bags, and scores of other small items, etc.
As to which of those eight, or how many of them, got you involved in hunting would be an interesting topic on its own. . For now, I’ll start at the top and progress through the list as each blog permits. (Usually, each blog is somewhere between 1500 to 2000 words, with a few exceptions. I don’t yet know how many words might be involved in covering all eight potential HUNTING PERSPECTIVES, therefore, it’s currently unknown how many blogs this will take because thoughts, usually with an historical context, come to mind as I write.) So lets get goin’ with:
As an outlook on life this may be a motivation from childhood. It was so in my case. From the age of three I complained to Mom that I wasn’t allowed to roam our ten acre property like my older brothers! In Mom’s defence, she was busy with many chores when Dad was away either fishing or preparing to do so. And the ten acres were stretched along the shore line of a part of the Bay of Fundy with high tides that climbed up the cliffs just 40 yards behind our house — with no fence to keep me from deciding to venture to the edge, or beyond! When the tide was out, there was only sheer ragged rocks below to meet a fifty foot fall! I was “locked” into our back veranda! But to show my contempt for the spokes that seemed like jail to me, I kicked out a few! Then, because my mother liked my curly hair, I gave myself a haircut! The point of all this nonsense is that I most definitely was an ADVENTURER from birth!
Other than in HUNTING adventures, I also became an amature astronomer, building my own telescopes to venture into the heavens. As if that weren’t enough adventure, I became a devouté of racing — heaven forbid — thankfully I couldn’t afford much of that other than in watching TV or attending motorcycle races and LeMans sportscar races at our local Mosport International Speedway! And I bought my first motorcycle at the not so tender age of 42! But I still drive too fast — when I think I can get away with it — according to my conscience that is!
But, to get back to reality, my love for adventure has been, and is, primarily expressed in hunting. It’s in large part “the call of the wild”. While I enjoy the social and the “helping hand” aspect of having a hunting buddy along, yet I do prefer solo hunting as I always feel responsible for the welfare or those “others”. Being a pastor entails that sense 24/7, literally, and it’s hard to get away from that when your phone could ring at 3 a.m. with a crisis looming on the other end! So a great part of adventure is the sense of being an explorer of the unknown or unfamiliar — making new discoveries. It’s the blood of my ancestors from Europe who landed at Plymouth Rock flowing through my veins.
There has always been exploration and adventure into the unknown. The motives have been varied. Curiosity and knowledge have often compelled it, or ordered by an empire, or religious persecution (as in my ancestors’ case), or simply because it could be done and should be — as in new ventures in medical knowledge or latest technology.
In my case it was mainly adventure. Getting away from the demands and expectations of others so I could have my own thoughts and enjoy God’s creation to the fullest was also no small player in that pursuit.
Just living has its own challenges — do we need more than that? That’s sort of a “survival” mode. But there are challenges that change us, develop us and cause us to grow in our thinking and skill set, and ability to face threats fearlessly! Hunting is one of the most significant factors in developing and enhancing maturity — as long as we don’t get get caught up with those who look forward to their annual hunt “with the guys” as a weekend (or week) of drowning the challenges of life in alcohol or smoking weed (or worse)!
African safaris are usually the reward for successful entrepreneurship of the adventurist who wants a fresh challenge! Men in their 60s and 70s who have dreamed of big and dangerous African game can now afford to fulfil their dreams. It’s new, it’s fresh, and most importantly, it’s a BIG challenge! Especially is that true if Dugga Boy is on their hit list! Many of that age group have testified that above all else they want to face off with at least one of the Dangerous Five! And many return to take their second or eighth Cape Buffalo! Why? It’s a new and different challenge to their manhood, triumph over fear, and ability to successfully accomplish what few among millions have done. Plus — they can still shoot straight and hit the target with their own big gun! Though surrounded by the PH, game scout, trackers, camera man and gun bearer, there is still a sense of independence and “aloneness” when the sights are filled with the “enemy” that could kill, and the trigger is squeezed!
While I’m not a “trophy hunter” per se, yet I have collected a few as memorials of a particular successful hunt. And I also have a few from Africa that belong to son Brent which he collected when living there, and shot with either a .22 LR single-shot or his 12 ga.
But I must admit that I have serious qualms over making that the prime focus of a hunt! And it seems that publications, videos and books have so over-emphasized “shooting a trophy” that it has become the main motivator of much hunting, as well as becoming a dominant economic factor for most businesses involved.
It is also the principle element that attracts an ill-proportioned degree of criticism from individuals and the media aimed at all hunters and hunting activities.
So, I must add that I wish there would be far less boasting and the presentation of the idea that “bigger is ALWAYS better”! Instead of asking: “How many points?”, or “How heavy was…”?, let’s try promoting the idea of “Did you enjoy your hunt?”, or “Was your hunt successful?”, or “Did you get refreshed from your time away?”
In other words: Let’s stress the hunt, its larger meaning, rather than “How much did your trophy score?” Surely, there are many other good reasons for hunting than just a need to get one’s name in the record books!
<Comradeship and bonding of father and son on a moose hunt to the far north of our province has had immense value to a lasting relationship. I’ve experienced the same thing in the same place with my second son, Phil. And we did score on a nice moose!
Frankly, I could care less if my name ever got on some trophy list or in a publication! And moreover is that so when I squeeze the trigger on any animal or bird. I’m thankful if it was a clean harvest. And “smaller” can be “trophies” too, when we consider all that was involved in the challenge. That’s why I’ve developed a particular love of black bear hunting! They pose particular challenges not offered in some other types — particularly a DIY type bear hunt.
HUNTING for MEAT!