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getting harder to take life

 
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Location: Lake Superior
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I have hunted, field dressed, butchered & eaten lots of animals. As years went by I limited my efforts to what I liked to eat best, namely venison and ruffed grouse. But in recent years it has gotten harder. Particularly whitetail deer. Something about ending the spark of life that passed from creature to creature for eons. The indians had rituals after a hunt to honor the animals and give thanks, and they hunted to survive. Is anyone else struggling with this?
 
pollinator
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Location: South Central Michigan Zone 6
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dog forest garden fish hunting tiny house food preservation
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I went through a phase of about 4 years where I did not hunt, I even went as far as to say I will never hunt again. I often think about why I did that, and to be completely honest that was a phase where I threw aside all of my life training and started playing a lot of video games, partying and drinking and experimenting. I got lazy I think, and found it very fun to escape reality and I think maybe hunting is just to much of reality to deal with for many, others might just not be able to take a life. I do not look at it as an option anymore, I look at it now as something I am supposed to be doing, because every pound of meat I harvest from the wild is 1 pound of meat that is not bought from the grocery store, an animal that is not going to be raised in a feedlot, and to me I am not helping anyone by not taking the opportunity to get out and do what my ancestors have done forever.

I can relate because I wondered for a long time why I could not see myself killing an animal ever again.

Good luck.
 
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Dear Erik, et al.

First let me thank you for being wise enough, and secure enough to share these types of thoughts...many would not do so, even if they did start to feel this way. They would simply fall silent, and then fail to be part of the continuum that is their life path.

The indians had rituals after a hunt to honor the animals and give thanks, and they hunted to survive.



Well you have your heart in the correct place when you wrote that, I can tell. The reality is, for those of us that were raised within the old ways, or for those brought to them, First Nations people, and the indigenous around the planet, tend to live "ritualistic" lives in general, depending on the variant belief systems. Before, during and after anything, including a hunt, is ritual...and you are now discovering your own awareness to the world (universe?) you are part of. It has touched you, and that epiphany that by taking life you are able to live has adjusted you affect. This is a good thing. As you become more "self aware" (perhaps you could say enlightened) even the simple task of harming an insect or even tearing moss beneath your feet will make you feel something, as it should.

I meet many that have chosen a path of not taking animal life at all, but I often find them self deluded in a reality that is not completely honest to the world around them. This is not a judgement, just and observation, as each of us must learn from the path that is beneath their feet. What I will say is, "life is life," and it is only the arrogance and anthropomorphic ego that believes there are differences in the continuum of life, based on species or type. I will submit that the later of my statement perhaps is too subjective for some, and that is fine. In general I think most readers of this post will relate to it in one degree, or another with positive notions...

It is a good sign you are struggling...it should continue to feel that way and only grow stronger. That struggle is part of the "honoring." Live a good, and complete life with those struggles and you will have taken a step forward in truly honoring all the life that passes by from your existence, and becomes part of you...and you it.

Warm Regards,

jay
 
Erik Johnson
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Location: Lake Superior
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Thanks for the reply's - I am happy that my post has not been misinterpreted to be anti hunting. Jay - funny that you should mention bugs! I release them from the house these days. Having some five decades pass through me, I think my situation is an "accumulation of poignancy". The quiet time in the woods is needed and enjoyed more than ever. And I can decide to let a deer pass by if that is my mood. I can also help my companions with their kills and partake of the hunting fellowship in that way.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Erik,

The little fellows and the odious, as some would call them (rats, snakes, bats, scorpions, etc) became the indicators species to my elders and now myself, as those that swat, smash, eradicate and complain of these wee beasties, only reflect their relationship with the world around them. As an example I can now, as did my mother, have wasps crawl into my hand, after being trapped in a window for a grateful ride to the door to be set free.

This leads to the style of hunter you are becoming. I have NEVER hunted for sport, and strictly for the table. (eat to live do live to eat) That means that old magnificent bucks and large healthy doe are always allowed to walk by. We take the young and/or old that show signs of infirment. With each prey species that are nuance differences, however, the table is the focus, never the grandeur of the living soul before you.

As you help others, you will unwittingly role modeled a more insightful view of the what being a human predator should be.

Regards,

jay
 
Posts: 63
Location: Washington coast
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I've experienced the same. Among (many) other things, testosterone wanes as we get older and, along with that, some of the killer instinct. I find that I delay butchering animals a little more every year.
 
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Jay,


Your two posts here are so succinct and the most important ones I've read on this site. Oh,and of course, IMO.
 
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Location: North New Jersey
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I've had to grip this same topic numerous times in my life. I enjoy watching wildlife and feel they are defenseless at times. I try to counter my argument with the fact that there are less and less preditors for these animals and humans must control the population so that disease doesnt take over or that animal changes the landscape by over eating the land. Also try and tell yourself that you'll be more respectable to that creature compared to some random Joe who is just killing the whitetail for some backstraps and a mount on their wall.
 
Posts: 103
Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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Are you gun hunting?
I find bowhunting to be much less traumatizing to the forest and everything in her. No BOOM. Just a blade on a stick from fingertips to heart. It is a beautiful thing.
 
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Erik,

I am having issues with the idea of beginning to harvest my own animals. I have never experienced taking a life of any creature bigger than a fly except a cabbage worm. In becoming more and more independent in my food gathering, I will be getting animals to use for the table. I too am reflecting on what it means to take a life. Maybe I am over thinking and maybe it is because I have been a nurse for the past 25 years. I am not sure. I do know this, the animals I raise or hunt will be given the world of thanks and respect for their offerings. Thank you for sharing. Kim
 
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