I have a question for all of you that hunt or assist in the hunt in any way - What is the meaning of hunting to you, and why is it an important part of your life? This is a deeper question than "Why do you hunt?" which focuses on motivations. I'm looking for the what do you get from hunting that justifies the time, money, effort and sometimes grief that you put into hunting and being a hunter.
I've done the "Why do you hunt?" question with many groups and come up with some long lists. Interestingly the lists generated by poachers looks very similar to hunter education instructors. But when you dug deeper into the reasons, much different priorities emerged. But even more telling was the fact that many of the poachers had never thought about why they hunted (or why they broke the game laws). For example, "Challenge of the hunt", was on all lists. Yet many of the poachers had been arrested because they had shot at the decoy deer, from their vehicle, under a light. Go figure!
What I'm interested here is the next level deeper. If you are thinking one reason is to get wild meat, I'd like to know why - beyond the protein. Does it represent something to you, is it an affirmation of your ability to provide for your family, a direct connection to the circle of life, a spiritual sacrament...
I'll post my thoughts below and look forward to seeing yours.