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Why I Hunt by Mitchell Grant

Why I Hunt by Mitchell Grant

“But, ​why​ do you hunt?”

Somebody asked me this question the other day, not from a place of malice, but from genuine curiosity. This is a person who has been around me for some time, so they know I like to talk about hunting almost as much as I love hunting itself.

This person asked me this question and I told them I needed some time to consider the answer. My whole life I’ve hunted. Tagging out or not, it’s always been a positive experience, so I never took the time to ask myself…why?

It’s easy to say you hunt for meat. I love the taste of game, and the satisfaction of bringing it home with my own two hands, but it’s not like I ​need​ to. I could easily get in my truck, drive to the store, grab some burgers and drive home. It’s cheaper, faster, and easier than hunting.

So that rules out that argument.

I thought to myself what I love most about being in the woods, or why I choose to spend my vacation time shivering on the side of a mountain. Shouldn’t my time be spent with my toes in the sand? Shouldn’t I want the peace I have worked so hard to afford?

The answer was something I didn’t anticipate. Why do I hunt? Because I love the struggle.

About three years ago, I was hit on my motorcycle while riding to work. I’ll save you the details but the short of it is I had no lower body function for about eight months. During this time a group of friends hiked the tallest peak in North America (Denali). I remember seeing the smiles on their faces at the summit. The win burn across their tired, but ultimately conquering faces. I cried that night like I hadn’t in a long time. At that point, my doctors didn’t think I would be able to hike more than a mile ever again. They told me if I could kick a soccer ball twenty feet, that would be a miracle.

I’m writing this to you now from Sevilla, in the South of Spain. Last week I scrambled over 45 miles through the Alcornocales National Park – some of the roughest terrain in Europe, chasing Ronda Ibex with my bow. Kick a soccer ball twenty feet?

Life has to be more than that. So I struggled.

After two years of physiotherapy, I could lift weights again. I could run a mile. A few months later, I could run 5. Now I can throw 40 pounds on my back and leave footprints on the summit. I have a job that allows me to travel year round, and yet until that happened I lived in a major US city, in a state where it’s notoriously difficult to hunt. When I started to make positive improvement, I decided I needed a change. There had to be more to life than making money in a big city. I took  stock of everything I valued and made a list. On one side I wrote all the reasons I’ve been sitting still. On the other, all the reasons I shouldn’t. The latter, as I would later come to learn, was not a list of why I should leave, but why I needed to be in the woods. To light fires and sleep on rugged ground.

I realized something in that moment I had never realized about myself. I realized that I didn’t hunt because it was easy. I didn’t hunt because it was hard, either.

Because after my accident, I learned I never wanted to feel as helpless as I did back then, watching the people I love take this world and best it. I learned I wouldn’t have taken the career risks I have; asking for raises or changing my path. I learned the confidence I achieved all those years in the woods with my bow was a quiet confidence, an internal fire I could call upon when needed. I became resilient. My body was made hard, as was my mind.

So, why do I hunt?

To control the extent at which I may struggle.


Mitchell Grant – Growing up in Northern Canada, Mitchell has hunting in his blood. When he’s not writing for sites like this or his own site incomearmada.com, he’s spot-and-stalk bowhunting in Southern Spain. If you have any questions about hunting in Europe, ask here.


 

About The Author

Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of HuntingLife.com. His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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