Why I Hunt
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!
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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