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Why I Hunt

A New Year's Eve 2010 ruffed grouse hunt in the U.P. with my dad, nephew Nicholas and bird dog Trammell. Why do I hunt? Look at the photo. Nuff said.

When Andrew asked me to write a blog about WHY I HUNT, I said “no problem” and figured it would be a pretty easy assignment.  However, as I’ve examined the question, it’s become clear to me that my answer is a complex one with many layers developed over time and influenced by many people.

The St.Pierre & Maurer Clans

Why I started hunting has everything to do with my family.  Dad hunts.  Mom hunts.  Grandparents hunt.  Aunts and uncles hunt too.  I grew up in a family culture that embraced the outdoors, nurtured my enthusiasm for the chase, and celebrated every kill with a meal.

Say Ya to Da U.P. eh!

I grew up on ten acres in the woods surrounded by thousands more “neighborhood” acres of land accessible by friendship or government.  After getting dropped off by the school bus, I’d grab my Ithaca and enter the forest looking for grouse, timberdoodles, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, geese, and deer.  I also lived in a town that closed school on the opening day of deer hunting season.  My teachers hunted, my classmates hunted, my buddies hunted, so I hunted.

Tradition and a Brain Aneurysm

As happens to many a young lad at college, the pursuit of other “things” captured much of my attention.  However, I always kept sacred a long weekend’s return home to Michigan from college in Minnesota for an October bird hunt with my family.  Early into my working career, my dad suffered a brain aneurysm, which reaffirmed my need to continue those bird hunting traditions.  As my dad laid in that hospital bed fighting for his life, my prayers surrounded the plea for future grouse hunts with him. 

Note to Dad: I’ll see you in Escanaba on September 15, 2011!

Solitude

I’ll certainly never decline an opportunity to hunt with family or friends, but my preference these days is to walk alone.  The world has become a busy place and I’m a guy that values “being inside my own head.”  Give me a field of waving grass or a forest of Fruity Pepple-colored leaves and I will walk till sunset with my thoughts and just my bird dog to keep me company.

If You Kill it, You Grill it

I am an ardent believer in eating everything I kill afield, and over time I’ve grown to love cooking, especially wild game meats.  Pheasant, quail, grouse, duck, and venison are so much fun to experiment with in the kitchen.  In fact, my wife and I share the fruits of each fall with family and friends in an annual holiday “Pheasant Feast,” in which I’ll cook a dozen different dishes. 

To Love a Bird Dog

If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know how much I love my German shorthair, “Trammell.”  Owning my own bird dog (as opposed to the family pup), has given me a new sense of excitement and enjoyment that I never experienced in prior years.  Not only has Trammell taught me how to be a better hunter, she’s taught me to see and not just look at every aspect of the hunt. 

Completing Andrew’s WHY I HUNT task has taken me hours.  On one hand, it is complex.  On the other hand, I can answer it in a simple phrase: “it’s who I am.”

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

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4 Responses to “Why I Hunt”

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  1. I think we’d get along in a great manner when it comes to hunting. One thing I love is ‘watching the world wake up’ from my buddy stand with one of my kids during deer hunting, with my brother in law as we’re leaning against a tree while turkey hunting, and just how the solitude of being in the woods can quiet the soul. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    If more who don’t hunt were to understand that it’s not just about hunting and that it’s a way to provide perspective on our world, maybe they’d be more inclined to join us in the woods.

  2. Matt Ortiz says:

    It’s amazing on how much hunting means to so many of us. It’s not a simple as one would think. Great writing.

  3. Steve Kleist says:

    Why I hunt
    Many of us have these innate urges we cannot describe of why we hunt. Others feel compelled to tell us we should not.
    Each of us has incisor teeth in our mouth that makes us carnivores, meat eaters….our biological niche, our job. We don’t have to hunt as long as there is someone doing it for us. We actually don’t have to hunt at all, but we have the privilege.
    The urge to hunt has been passed down through the generations. Some folks think the same feelings could be fulfilled by activities such as bird watching. I disagree. With a camera or binoculars, I am an observer, with a shotgun I am a participant…two different niches. Hunting is an exciting activity.
    While dog work, or sunsets, or fellowship are certainly important, somewhere the word “responsible” needs to be inserted. When the body count becomes the measure of a hunt, we have lowered ourselves to the level of a house cat, and become ammunition for the “antis”. The culture of hunting adds to the knowledge of nature and wildlife. You protect the things you love. You love the things you understand. You understand the things that you have been taught or have learned.
    We as a fraternity must learn to value all of the experiences including the restraint that can be demonstrated by the responsible hunter, to NOT kill as much as possible and enjoy the adventure rather than the score card.
    That’s why.

  4. Professor Kleist,
    Well said! Very well said!

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