A lesser woman might just get a bit het-up at moments like the one I experienced this morning. I asked online for the questions that may come to mind thinking of a Grizzly Bear Hunt, so that I might shed a new light on one of our own most treasured and successful adventures.
The response I received was not completely unexpected, only mildly insulting as it is painfully ignorant and to be as such in public (which is what the whole of the grand Internet truly is) is the height of folly.
“I do not view this as an accomplishment it’s murder … What is the point? Other than just mindless cruelty!!!”
Did she just call me a murderer? Hold up there, wildcat.
Statements such as these have started some hellacious fights online that I have witnessed in the few short years that I have been online.
The way my mind works is like this:
First ~ WHAT accomplishment?? I asked for input and thoughts. I claimed no accomplishment, nor was one alluded to.
Second ~ The status update was written on Pioneer Outfitters Face Book page. Pioneer Outfitters has been guiding people safely who wish to hunt or photograph Alaska Big Game Animals in the Wrangell and Nutzotin Mountains since 1924. If you (anyone) honestly have issues with this, don’t visit our Social Media pages! Sheesh.
Third ~ “Murder.” “Mindless.” “Cruelty.” Wow, those are some pretty heavy negative, aggressive and inciteful words. I was always taught that using name-calling and attacking, aggressive mannerisms meant that the battle had already been lost. That there was no point, after a conversation or debate came to this point, remaining to be made.
Fourth ~ The only real statement I could even hope to respond to was “What is the point?” Which was ruined by another attack ~ “Other than mindless cruelty!!!” (With three exclamation points showing how out of control this human already was…)
Thinking about it vaguely; “Should I respond?” “Should I hide this comment… it really has nothing to do with the direction I was hoping to take from the responses and why should anyone else get their dander up and possibly fan the fire of another hate-war?” Hmm. As I was editing another post, responding to emails, trying to dodge the new kitten’s assistance with my keyboard and keeping him from taste-testing my coffee, letting Solomon in the front door half a dozen times and checking in with G+ Communities and answering LinkedIn messages this comment and my options kept circling in my mind.
I decided an honest and direct response would be acceptable and that I would keep an eye for any more nastiness in which case I would simply remove the human and the human’s particular rant from the stream. Before I could worry about it for very long however, a very good friend and someone I have a great deal of respect for stepped in…
The reason is that aside from all the crap, the actual question hidden inside of the ignorant rant was a very good one: “What is the point?”
What is the point? What is the point of hunting? What is the point of Big Game Hunting? What is the point of guiding Big Game hunters? What is the point?
I think it is a question very much worth answering.
What do I feel the point in hunting? There are many points that I feel are keys in the way of life that calls to so many of us, man or woman.
Economically the revenue raised from the creation and sale of the equipment, clothing, licenses (along with permits, tags and stamps) and taxidermy benefits individuals, counties, states and countries.
Biologically, in many areas the animals would very easily fall to disease and over-population issues without regulation hunting.
Personally, I believe that there is something very good to be had, for the mind, soul and body to hunt and kill our own meat. (and I wont even begin to go into what is put in our foods before it is packaged for a store or what is in the dirt our food is raised on or in.)
The connection that is forged between an individual and the land during a hunt is something all too often for all too long, lacking for too many people. The connection is spiritual, emotional and physical. From crawling out of a tent in the morning’s dark pre-dawn and splashing the icy water on your face from the creek after you walk out across the frost in the early light to fill the pot for coffee. Starting the campfire with kindling gathered and stacked the night before, listening to the cracks and pops of the wood catching to flame.
Walking towards the faint sounds of the horse bells with a little bag of salt and a couple of halters and lead ropes hanging around your shoulders. Always keeping an eye out for Grizzlies, but also hooping for the opportunity of a few good photographs of whatever you may be lucky enough to spot. It is a blessing to just stop at times and absorb the knowledge and freedom of the open land, the river and creeks, the mountains and the critters that roam it all.
It isn’t easy and it isn’t a game for us. It is a passionate love affair with the outdoors, the wilderness and the animals that call it home, for every Professional Guide I have ever known. It is a moral and ethical way of life that allows us to be all we were meant to be and even more, it allows us to share it with others. To guide them into the wilderness, across dangerous and powerful rivers, up mountains and into the brush; to keep them safe as they discover their own love and place for and in the wilderness and wild.
As I was pondering this post and throwing all kinds of statements and phrases at Google search, I came across a man who says it so eloquently. His gentle and smooth voice show you the heart; both the one that lives inside of him and the heart that beats in the wilderness, that you can hear if you listen quietly for it.
Please enjoy, Donny Vincent’s Who We Are… (This short video is incredible..)