I heard the advertisement for the segment today and listened. Most of what was said seemed to focus on African game and many of the issues tied to Africa and hunting in general. I thought it would have been much better if KUER had focused on local issues w/r/t hunting...but then again, with only an hour, there wasn't much time to delve into anything in depth. I think they only took 4 or 5 calls within the last 15 minutes too. A little more public involvement would have been nice.
I do think that sportsmen should work to be able to provide some really good answers to that question. No matter how we want to shape it, it isn't about subsistence any more. It is about pursuit of a consumptive hobby. Granted, I'm OK with that so don't think I'm shooting it down. (see what I did there?) But in a state where there is a push to privitize large tracts of hunting habitats for private use, we need to realize that hunters are not unlike the ranchers we like to criticize. We have a hobby and lifestyle choice that depends upon publicly subsidized lands to really enjoy. Hunting, ESPECIALLY as it has evolved in Utah, is not about controlling habitats, or species conservation, or management of biotic communities. Hunting in Utah is all about sport, pursuit of trophy, and the "thrill of victory" of the hunt (which can come with your kid shooting his/her first spike or cow elk as much as the 380 point bull). And where hunters have had lead in saving animals from extinction and have done more for habitat conservation than any other group, we also must realize that we do it so we may continue in the sport we all dearly love. Put another way, we save the animals so we can kill them.
So whether we are killing Cecil the Lion King, the Cemetery or Fritos bucks, deer, bison or bighorns on Antelope Island, or spider bulls on the Pahvant, cactus bucks on Paunsy, or a corsican ram that is running loose, we need to have the discussion. And in a state where most of the hunting takes place at the public trough, that discussion will have to include the many other individuals and organizations that have a stake in the same feeding ground.
I generally use most of what I shoot for food, but that's not why I do it. I hunt because I love it. I love everything about it. I love the ultimate highs and what can be excruciating lows. I love going to bed late dead tired, only to wake up at an otherworldly early time the next day to do it again. I love going out to new places just to look at animals.
I love going to the places where these animals live. I'm what some would call a religious person, and I don't ever feel closer to my Creator than when I'm in the mountains. My entire outlook on life and the world changes when I can't see the city lights and my cell phone has poor coverage. My disposition is totally different. There is a peace there that can't be fully described. I love the adrenalin of the hunt, and the nervousness that comes when you're about to squeeze the trigger. I love walking up on an animal after the kill, whether it be a cow elk, fork-horned buck deer, or a 360 inch bull elk. I love reminiscing on the close calls that didn't pan out. I love the people I get to share these experiences with and the memories that are made.
I love to hunt. I'm not sorry for that, nor do I care if that offends others. Hunting is awesome. When it stops being awesome, I'll stop doing it.
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