Various Quotes Regarding the Important Role of Hunting
America's hunters and anglers are the backbone of what makes our wildlife management system the envy of the world. - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, 2017.
● Africa's true magic comes from the realization that something you are hunting, happens to be where you are hunting, or is hunting the same thing that can hunt and kill you right back. Accepting this risk brings great rewards, and once understood it all seems so incredibly fair.
- Dwight Van Brunt, The Spell of Africa, Petersen's Hunting
● Then it happens. A sound you have never heard yet somehow viscerally recognize jolts you from a dream. Hoping he will roar again, you wait, not daring to breathe, listening through canvas walls that are, come to think of it, most disoncertingly thin.
- Dwight Van Brunt, The Spell of Africa, Petersen's Hunting
● We are now planning a safari for what matters more than anything ever has or ever will: a lion so old that the last freckle of pink has faded from his nose.
● I can imagine how his roars will lead us closer while darkness gives way and Africa takes form all around, coming upon him just as the first rays from the rising sun slip past my shoulder and riot along the black of his mane. I will want to look into his eyes, for they are surely nature's most perfect color. It can be no other way, for in an old lion's eyes lives the very soul of Africa. Afterward, I will rest his great head across my lap and cry and laugh and marvel at his teeth and his feet and his claws. That night I will dance the lion dance with the trackers. Later still, I will fight away sleep, knowing this has been the best day of my life, not willing to let it end.
- Dwight Van Brunt, The Spell of Africa, Petersen's Hunting
● Sheep hunting is brutal, exhausting and downright dangerous... and there's nothing I'd rather be doing.
● No one, but he who has partaken thereof, can understand the keen delight of hunting in lonely lands. For him is the joy of the horse well ridden and the rifle well held; for him the long days of toil and hardship, resolutely endured, and crowned at the end with triumph. In after years there shall come forever to his mind the memory of endless prairies shimmering in the bright sun, of vast snow-clad wastes lying desolate under gray skies; of the melancholy marshes; of the rush of mighty rivers; of the breath of evergreen forest in summer; of the crooning of ice-armored pines at the touch of the winds of winter; of cataracts roaring between hoary mountain masses; of all the innumerable sights and sounds of the wilderness; of its immensity and mystery; and of the silences that brood in its still depths.
- Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter
● I am enamour'd of growing out-doors,
Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods,
Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wilders of axes
and mauls, and the drivers of horses,
I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out.
- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
● Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,
In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-kill'd game,
Falling asleep on the gather'd leaves with my dog and gun by
- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
● Hunting for sport is an improvement over hunting for food, in that there has been added to the test of skill an ethical code, which the hunter formulates for himself, and must live up to without the moral support of bystanders. That the code of one hunter is more advanced than that of another is merely proof that the process of sublimation, in this as in other atavisms, is still advancing.
The hope is sometimes expressed that all these instincts will be "outgrown." This attitude seems to overlook the fact that the resulting vacuum will fill up with something, and not necessarily with something better. It somehow overlooks the biological basis of human nature - the difference between historical and evolutionary time-scales. We can refine our manner of exercising the hunting instinct, but we shall do well to persist as a species at the end of the time it would take to outgrow it.
- Aldo Leopold, Wildlife Management, Chapter XVI, 1933
● Inuit hunt. They hunt to live and they live to hunt.
- Jon Hutton, Chairman of IUCN Sustainable Use Specialist Group
● He (Central African Officer) goes "on Safari" as the Boer "on trek." It is a recognized state of being, which often lasts for weeks, and sometimes for months....Life "on Safari" is rewarded by a sense of completeness and self-satisfied detachment.
- Sir Winston Churchill, My African Journey, 1909
● It is always the wounded beast that leads the hunter into adventures.
- Sir Winston Churchill, My African Journey, 1909
● Nothing causes the East African Colonist more genuine concern than that his guest should not have been provided with a lion.
Sir Winston Churchill, My African Journey, 1909
● ...But there are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. There is delight in the hardy life of the open, in long rifle in hand, in the thrill of the fight with dangerous game. Apart from this, yet mingled with it, is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through everlasting time.
- Theodore Roosevelt, March 14, 1910
● [E]arly November...brought with it in a complex paradox something that was spiritually uplifting, hunting seasons....
Despite the press of years, this place [reverted old family farm land] and the experiences that it yielded are an everlasting spiritual larder. All things spiritual rise. Most any ardent hunter or angler will tell you that a full-immersion experience in nature that comes with hunting and fishing is, irreducibly, a spiritual one. Witness the dissonance of a ringneck pheasant as it puts sky between the two of you; or the disquieting skirr that comes with a covey of quail taking to the wing from your ankles - the both turn your eyes upward. A smallmouth bass takes a floating stickbait then leaps and smacks the water. From a dark lair, a cutthroat trout rises to the ring on the water from a deftly laid elk-hair caddis. Duck hunters scan the skies for distant black specks. Goose hunters sit in pits listening for the jarring cacophony coming from afar; their eyes and thoughts turn upward. Blue grouse hunters in the West, already in the high country, their eyes are drawn upward to the tops of blue spruce and white fir on the flush. All of these things have an upward movement. All of them immerse you in nature. All of them sharpen your senses, and all of them are without question, spiritual experience.
Few hunters and anglers in our contemporary society go afield strictly to put food in the freezer. People hunt and fish for the aesthetic ritual and the kernel of ritual is spiritual experience. "The duck hunter in his blind and the operatic singer on the stage, despite the disparity of their accouterments, are doing the same thing," said the father of modern wildlife management, Aldo Leopold. He reduced the reasons for this odd comparison. "Each is reviving, in play, a drama formerly inherent in daily life. Both are, in the last analysis, aesthetic exercises."
Hunters describe their full-immersion nature-experience in varying degrees as connecting with the fruits of the land in ways that can't come from other recreations. Writers from Socrates to Aldo Leopold to Ortega y Gassett to James Swan mused that the experience of hunting clarifies the mind. Hunting fully immerses the hunter as a participant not just observing nature, but one who is in nature. This is true, too, for angling. It's deeply emotive - like a painter locked in the canvas, a writer living in the page, a carpenter crafting the right cut - all caught in the muse. It is nature that makes us human and hunting and fishing makes our existence cogent.
These things are recreation; your senses stir and awaken to re-create one's own being. The aesthetic primordial act of hunting is paradoxical: immersed in the hunt that could end in death is life-affirming. And that speaks to core of why hunters - and anglers too - are conservationists, why they care immensely for nature. Conservation of wild things in wild places matter to people. For the last 75 years, it's been the hunter and the angler, and the boater, too, who have funded conservation through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If you've bought a lure, a box of shotgun shells, or boat fuel, you've helped fuel conservation through an excise tax on sporting gear.
Old memories still fuel me. One of my favorite... Over and over again these many years, I have lived in that fixed spot of time. Chance encounters with wild things in wild places registered. Those odd acres made an impress upon my morals. Deeper yet, the land that I will probably never see again still serves up spiritual food that sticks to my ribs.
- From Aesthetic Exercise by Craig Springer, a fish biologist and editor of Eddies (www.fws.gov/eddies)
● Trophy hunting is selective hunting by hunters with higher, self-imposed limitations; killing less, experiencing more.
- Paraphased from Greg Tinsley, Boone and Crockett Club, Editor-in-Chief, Fair Chase Magazine.
● Life is a great adventure, and the worst of all fears is the fear of living.
- Theodore Roosevelt
● Only the wild animal is properly in the countryside, not just on top of it, simply having it in view. If we want to enjoy that intense and pure happiness which is a "return to Nature," we have to seek the company of the surly beast, descend to his level, feel emulation toward him, pursue him. This is a subtle right of the hunt.
- Jose Ortega y Gasset
● Fine scenery may not stir a fiber of mind or body, but how quick and how true is the excitement of the pursuit of game!
- Theodore Roosevelt
● Modern man desperately needs to get in touch with the tides, with the wind and the rain, with the forests and streams and mountains and their changeless and sustaining rhythms, and hunting or fishing is one way this is achieved.
- Nelson Bryan, Fresh Air, Bright Waters, 1971
● It is the American heritage to carry a gun afield as did our forefathers and to take fish from the lakes and streams. They killed game and caught fish to sustain life; we hunt and fish for health and happiness.
- Dan Holland, Good Shot, 1946
● The way of the hunter is, then, the way finally of passion, a passion that is every bit as old as those hills it carries us through and into our home in the game fields filled with real life.
- Thomas McIntyre, The Way of the Hunter, 1988
● When one is hunting, the air has another, more exquisite feel as it glides over the skin or enters the lungs, the rocks require a more expressive physiognomy, and the vegetation is loaded with meaning. But all this is due to the fact that the hunter, while he advances or waits crouching, feels tied to the earth through an animal he pursues, whether the animal is in view, hidden or absent.
- Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting, 1972
● I breathe because my body needs oxygen. I eat because my body must have energy. I hunt because I am a hunter. These are simple things which I accept, and perhaps no explanation is possible.
- Charley Dickey, The Hunter's Call, 1983
● There is much mystic nonsense written about hunting but it is something that is much older than religion. Some are hunters and some are not.
- Ernest Hemingway, An African Journal, 1972
● Hunting is one of the last genuine, personal adventures of modern man. Just as game animals are the truest indicators of quality natural environment, so hunting is the truest indictor of quality natural freedom.
- John Madson, Out Home, 1979
● Poets sing and hunters scale mountains primarily for one and the same reason - the thrill to beauty. Critics write and hunters outwit their game for one and the same reason - to reduce that beauty to possession.
- Aldo Leopold
● Hunting is not part of conservation, it is conservation.
- Dr. Jon Hutton, Executive Director of UNEP-WCMC, 60th CIC General Assembly, 26 April 2013, Budapest
● Hunting is the greatest field sport in the world.
- Bob Anderson
● The essence of the sporting life is discovery of what is on the other side of the mountain.
- Chris Klineburger
● Only after I began hunting was I hit with the shock that something deep inside me gets excited when the prey appears, when the dogs howl, and that maybe I'm not that different from those dogs, that I must work at being human.
- Walt Harrington
● "I speak of Africa and golden joys"; the joy of wandering through lonely lands; the joy of hunting the mighty and terrible lords of the wilderness, the cunning, the wary, and the grim.
In these greatest of the world's great hunting-grounds there are mountain peaks whose snows are dazzling under the equatorial sun; swamps where the slime oozes and bubbles and festers in the steaming heat; lakes like seas; skies that burn above deserts where the iron desolation is shrouded from view by the wavering mockery of the mirage; vast grassy plains where palms and thorn-trees fringe the dwindling streams; mighty rivers rushing out of the heart of the continent through the sadness of endless marshes; forests of gorgeous beauty, where death broods in the dark and silent depths.
There are regions as healthy as the northland; and other regions, radiant with bright-hued flowers, birds and butterflies, odorous with sweet and heavy scents, but, treacherous in their beauty, and sinister to human life. On the land and in the water there are dread brutes that feed on the flesh of man; and among the lower things, that crawl, and fly, and sting, and bite, he finds swarming foes far more evil and deadly than any beast or reptile; foes that kill his crops and his cattle, foes before which he himself perishes in his hundreds of thousands.
The dark-skinned races that live in the land vary widely. Some are warlike, cattle-owning nomads; some till the soil and live in thatched huts shaped like beehives; some are fisherfolk; some are ape-like naked savages, who dwell in the woods and prey on creatures not much wilder or lower than themselves.
The land teems with beasts of the chase, infinite in number and incredible in variety. It holds the fiercest beasts of ravin, and the fleetest and most timid of those beings that live in undying fear of talon and fang. It holds the largest and the smallest of hoofed animals. It holds the mightiest creatures that tread the earth or swim in its rivers; it also holds distant kinfolk of these same creatures, no bigger than woodchucks, which dwell in crannies of the rocks and in the tree tops. There are antelope smaller than hares, and antelope larger than oxen. There are creatures which are the embodiment of grace; and others who huge ungainliness is like that of a shape in a nightmare. The plains are alive with droves of strange and beautiful animals whose like is not known elsewhere; and with others even stranger that show both in form and temper something of the fantastic and the grotesque. It is a never-ending pleasure to gaze at the great herds of buck as they move to and fro in their myriads; as they stand for their noontide rest in the quivering heat haze; as the long files come down to drink at the watering-places; as they feed and fight and rest and make love.
The hunter who wanders through these lands sees sights which ever afterward remain fixed in his mind. He sees the monstrous river-horse snorting and plunging beside the boat; the giraffe looking over the tree tops at the nearing horseman; the ostrich fleeing at a speed that none may rival; the snarling leopard and coiled python, with their lethal beauty, the zebras, barking in the moonlight, as the laden caravan passes on its night march through a thirsty land. In after years there shall come to him memories of the lion's charge; of the gray bulk of the elephant, close at hand in the sombre woodland; of the buffalo, his sullen eyes lowering from under his helmet of horn; of the rhinoceros, truculent and stupid, standing in the bright sunlight on the empty plain.
These things can be told. But there are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. There is delight in the hardy life of the open, in long rides rifle in hand, in the thrill of the fight with dangerous game. Apart from this, yet mingled with it, is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.
- Theodore Roosevelt
Khartoum, March 15, 1910
African Game Trails Forward
● "There was a part of me, of us, back there on a hill in Tanganyika, in a swamp in Tanganyika, in a tent and on a river and by a mountain in Tanganyika. There was a part of me out there that would stay out there until I came back to ransom that part of me. It would never live in a city again, that part of me, nor be content, the other part, to be in a city. There are no tiny-gleaming campfires in a city." (Page 315)
From the book Horn of the Hunter by Robert C. Ruark
On being on safari in east Africa, from concluding paragraphs in book.
● Holding your gun
My hands go where your want and
with my cheek pressed to yours once
I remember our times afield...
Because 'the child is father of the
I will forever see you.
Watching a stream, wading a marsh,
crossing a field.
Remembering Dad, T.C. Jennings
● "We sat there facing the fire, listening to the night noises, the hyenas, the birds I did not know the name of, the leopard coughing somewhere up the creek, the bugs swooping and zooming but not biting. The moon had climbed steeply into the sky, and you could see the little hills plainly under it, like a long caravan of camels suddenly stopped and still to wait beside a well.
"It was cold - not bitter, not quite frosty, but chilly-dew cold - and the fire was warm and wonderful. I was tired and I was full and the coffee was strong and black and the brandy slid down smoothly. I started to think about just how far I was from New York and newspaper syndicates and telephones and telegraphs and the 21 Club and income taxes and subways and elevators and then I sat up with a startled feeling inside. I am a hunter, I said to myself. I must be a hunter, or I wouldn't be here in the deep end of nowhere with a city-slicker wife and fifteen strange black boys and a young punk with no beard, practically, who says he is a white hunter. Looking at the fire and listening to the noises, I ran my mind back about what brought me here and wrote a little mental essay for myself as I sat and sipped the brandy.
"The hunter's horn sounds early for some, I thought, later for others. For some unfortunates, prisoned by city sidewalks and sentenced to a cement jungle more horrifying than anything to be found in Tanganyika, the horn of the hunter never winds at all. But deep in the guts of most men is buried the involuntary response to the hunter's horn, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of his fathers, who killed first with stone, and then with club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with gun, and finally with formulae. How meek the man is of no importance; somewhere in the pigeon chest of the clerk is still the vestigial remnant of the hunter's heart; somewhere in his nostrils the half-forgotten smell of blood. There is no man with such impoverishment of imagination that at some time he has not wondered how he would handle himself if a lion broke loose from a zoo and he were forced to face him without the protection of bars or handy, climbable trees.
"This is a simple manifestation of ancient ego, almost as simple as the breeding instinct, simpler than the urge for shelter, because man the hunter lives basically in his belly. It is only when progress puts him in the business of killing other men that the bloodlust surges upward to his brain. And even war is still regarded by the individual as sport - the man himself against a larger and more dangerous lion.
"Hunting is simple. Animals are simple. Man himself is simple inside himself. In this must lie some explanation for the fact that zoos are crowded on Sundays and museums which display mountain animals are thronged on weekdays as well as holidays. This must explain the popularity of moving pictures which deal with animals. This explains the lasting popularity of the exploits of Tarzan of the Apes, the half-animal figure created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
"Man is still a hunter, still a simple searcher after meat for his growling belly, still a provider for his helpless mate and cubs. Else, why am I here? From the moment he wakes until the moment he closes his eyes, man's prime concern is the business of making a living for himself and his family. Bringing home the bacon is the modern equivalent of banging a curly mammoth over the head with a big sharp rock.
"Man has found it exceedingly difficult lately to decipher the weird incantations and ceremonies which surround the provision of meat and shelter for his spawn. He is mystified by the cabalistic signs of the economist. He does not understand billions of dollars in relationship to him and his. Parity baffles him; the administration of ceilings and floors and controls and excises and supports dose not satisfy his meat urge or his aesthetic response to the chase, when the hunter's horn of necessity rouses him. These are pretty fine thoughts, I thought. I will think some more.
"But he can understand a lion, because a lion is life in its simplest form, beautiful, menacing, dangerous, and attractive to his ego. A lion has always been the symbol of challenge, the prototype of personal hazard. You get the lion or lion gets you.
"And he can understand a gun, because the gun is the symbol of man's brain and ingenuity, the device of difference between small weak man and big, brawny, cruel life. But I do not even know whether I can shoot a rifle yet.
"And he can understand a star and a moon and the sun and grass and trees and uncontrived beauty, when modern art and physical formulae and aerodynamics and jet propulsion are cloaked in unreality.
"A man and a gun and a star and a beast are still ponderable in a world of imponderables. The essence of the simple ponderable is man's potential ability to slay a lion. It is an opportunity that comes to few, but the urge is always present. Never forget that man is not a dehydrated nellie under his silly striped pants. He is a direct descendant of the hairy fellow who tore his meat raw from the pulsing flanks of just-slain beasts and who wiped his greasy fingers on his thighs if he bothered to wipe them at all. I wiped my greasy fingers on my thigh, for practice.
"This is the only deeply rooted reason I can produce for the almost universal interest, either active or vicarious, in hunting. As time and civilization encroach more deeply on the individual, as man hunts his meat at the supermarket instead of in the swamps and forests, it is still interesting to note than in America some thirty-six million hunting and fishing licenses are sold annually, that the sale of outdoor magazines and books continues to boom, and that the firms which handle safaris in Africa are booked up four and five years in advance. Oddly, as the opportunity for direct participation dwindles, the interest in man versus animal continues to grow.
"It seems to me I heard the hunter's horn earlier than most. I was raised in the country-small-town part of North Carolina. My grandfather was a hunter, and a serious one. So was my father, although he never shot anything larger than a five-ounce bobwhite quail in his life. When I was six years old they gave me an air gun, and I was physically sick from excitement when I killed my first sparrow. I was even sicker when I killed my first quail with the 20-guage shotgun Santa brought me on my eighth milestone.
Thereafter I hunted six days a week, and on the seventh I did not rest. I worked out the bird dogs on dry runs with no gun. We did not defile the Sabbath with gunfire in those days. I had few gods, however, that were not to be found in the fields and woods, and I early learned that you did not have to shoot it to enjoy it. Seeing it wild and happy more often was enough.
"You might say that Field and Stream was my early Bible. I worshiped before the shrines of men like Archibald Rutledge, David Newell, and Ray Holland, a far piece ahead of Ernest Hemingway or Thomas Wolfe. I had good dogs as a kid, and a great many marvelous things happened to me in the woods. For a long time I had a small boy's dream of writing a story about my dogs and my quail - and of course, me - and seeing it printed in a magazine with a cover by Lynn Bogue Hunt. This was the going-to-sleep dream. I never expected to achieve it, but dreams are not taxed for small boys, not even the wildest ones.
"Somewhere along the way, when I was out after squirrels or creeping after ducks or following my old setter, Frank, after bobwhite, I got involved in an even more ambitious dream. I had early fallen under the spell of Mr. Burroughs and his Tarzan. Somewhat later came more realistic approaches to Africa - the Martin Johnsons, Trader Horn, Sanders of the River. I got involved with the travel tales of Somerset Maugham, and it seemed I would bust a gusset if I didn't get to see jungles and lions and cannibals someday.
"I believe I planned to follow the Alger technique. I would return a lost wallet to a banker and get a job in his bank. Then I would marry his daughter, inherit his riches, and one day I would pack up and take a safari into Africa. I would see, and maybe shoot, old Numa, the lion, and Sabor, the lioness, and Tantor, the elephant. (Mr. Burroughs' nomenclature for Tarzan's playmates was even more colorful than Swahili.) And then maybe, when I was rich and famous, I would write about Africa.
"The implementation of dreams rarely follows the script, but the endings sometimes turn out surprisingly well. I married no banker's daughter. I got into the seafaring business, and later into the writing trade, and then into the war business, and then again into the writing trade. I never got rich or famous, but I got action.
"I saw Mr. Maugham's South Seas, and I had made six round trips to Africa. I wrote a lot of stuff for a lot of people - syndicated newspaper columns, and a raft of stories for a great many magazines, and several books. But I never stopped dreaming of lions.
"For no real reason at all, save a boyish dream and a twenty-year itch, I suddenly rigged my own safari to Kenya and Tanganyika. It was mine. Nobody sent me. I was paying for it myself. Nobody goes along but my wife and the white hunter and a company of African "boys." I refused to share the trip with anybody else, even though I had offers of plenty of company.
"There is not much personal adventure left in the world - not many boyhood dreams that lose nothing, but rather gain, by fulfillment. So I combined two dreams into one; I was on a safari and I was going to write about it.
"The fire was beginning to shake into solid glowing coals now, and some of the night noises had stilled others, and new ones had commenced. The boys had finally succeeded in dragging Annie Lorry out of her sloven nest in the pig hole, and she was moored alongside the sleeping tent. Harry had stretched a length of canvas as a dew cloth from her topmost rigging to the jeep and had set up his cot under the canvas. I yawned. Virginia yawned. Harry yawned. Harry got up.
"'Time for bed, I expect,' he said. 'Nataka lala. We'll up at dawn. Two more hard days' drive yet to come. Sleep well.'
"We walked to the tent, where a small carbide lamp blazed on a rickety little table and the two white tall cones of mosquito netting draped over cots with inflated rubber mattresses on them. I reflected that if it were possible for a man to be happy in this day and age I was a happy man. I didn't know precisely why, despite the fine talk, but I was a truly happy man."
From the book Horn of the Hunter by Robert C. Ruark
● Nothing is any good unless you work for it, and if the work is hard enough, you don't have to possess the trophy to own it.
- Robert Ruark
● Hunting is one of those pleasures that you won't understand if you have to have it explained, which is good because folks who enjoy it can't fully explain why.
- Ron Spomerr
● A large herd of wildebeest had taken flight beside us in that odd rocking horse motion of theirs. The sunset was another impossible haemorrhage of colour on the western horizon, and the first drinks were already vanquishing the dust from parched throats.... I was in heaven.
- Andrew Roe, For My Children
● The Call of the Wild: Why We Hunt
Today we know that the public perception of hunting and acceptance of hunting varies dramatically with what they perceive the motivations for hunting to be. The deep, complex, philosophical and personal motivation for hunting relates more with the value of hunting in human terms and more with what we are and what is important to our essence than with our normal preoccupation with the animals we hunt. Though both non-hunters and hunters themselves do not fully appreciate that hunting is the greatest generator of wildlife conservation, there is even less understanding of its importance and worth to humans for itself and what it uniquely provides to man himself.
Today it is the morality of hunting that is most under attack. At Conservation Force we believe that attack on hunters is immoral! We believe that there is a moral right to hunt within sustainable limits and that it is so important to man in human terms that it is deserving of protection on moral grounds. It is anti-social, offensive and immoral for anti-hunters to attack what is so unique and fundamentally valuable in human terms to the significant minority who hunt.
Hunting furthers character virtues like self reliance, responsibility, competence, discipline and resolve. It employs and awakens our senses and our physical condition. As beings we are programmed or designed to be hunters. It is our essence. Hunting made us human. It has shaped our evolution and development. It is our "authenticity." (Paul Shepard) Hunting uniquely provides self actualization, completeness and expression which are complex, higher order needs deserving of protection. These are human needs higher on the needs scale than food, and security. It puts us in touch with our past and with ourselves. It is recreational only in that it is not commercial, but it is much more than just a recreational pursuit. If we were deprived of it, we would lose more than recreation. It is more than our heritage and culture, it is our essence.
* * *
For someone who loves nature, who loves animals... it's one of the best ways of being inside nature and close to the animals. I haven't found a better way."
- Jose A. Martinez de Hoz in A Sporting Life
● From Fair Chase (Winter 2009)
The diversity and beauty of terrain and wildlife sportsmen see in the wilderness is overwhelming.... It is they who know well the game they hunt, their habits, habitat, and anatomy from endless hours studying their quarry.... Sportsmen...yearn for the opportunity to find peace, tranquility, and solitude in nature and fellowship in camp. They become conservationists as a natural outgrowth of their appreciation for their sport.
President, Boone & Crockett Club
● Charles Darwin, from Diary of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, 1839
It has been said, that the love of the chase is an inherent delight in mind - a relic of an instinctive passion.
● Karen Blixen, Shadows on the Grass (1985)
Hunting is ever a love affair. The hunter is in love with the game, real hunters are true animal lovers.
The person who can take delight in a sweet tune without wanting to learn it, in a beautiful woman without wanting to possess her, or in a magnificent head of game without wanting to shoot it, has not got a human heart.
● John Barsness, Fool's Paradise, 2008
But I do still hunt, and when someone occasionally asks me why, it occurs to me that the only reason we have brains large enough to formulate that question is that our distant ancestors got the extra protein it took to evolve the organ by supplementing their diets with meat, first as scavengers, then as hunters. Hunting made us who and what we are. It's in our nature more deeply than clothing, tools or language. Other than that, I can't think of a good reason.
● Robert F. Jones, Dancers in the Sunset Sky, 1966
Each time we go afield, we're confirmed in our belief that this is where we rightly belong....
● Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, 1991
Hunting in my experience...is a state of mind.
● Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, 1883
Hunting is a passion deeply implanted in the human breast.
● John Madison, Out Home, 1979
Hunting is one of the last genuine, personal adventures of modern man. Just as game animals are the truest indicators of quality natural environment, so hunting is the truest indicator of quality natural freedom.
● Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949
Hunts differ in flavor, but the reasons are subtle. The sweetest hunts are stolen. To steal a hunt, either go far into the wilderness where no one has been, or else find some undisturbed place under everybody's nose.
● Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting, 1942
Hunting submerges man deliberately in that formidable mystery and therefore contains something of religious rite and emotion in which homage is paid to what is divine, transcendent, in the laws of Nature.
● Guy de la Valdene, For A Handful of Feathers, 1995
Our credentials are that we are out there, in nature, when others are not, and that we are out there because we want to be, not because we have to or are paid to be....We are the wildlife thermometers...and the force that drives us is our soul.
● Aaron Pass, North American Whitetail, 1983
Paradoxically hunting is one of the most social of human activities.
● Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949
The deer hunter habitually watches the next bend; the duck hunter watches the skyline; the bird hunter watches the dog; the non-hunter does not watch.
● Hugh Fosburgh, One Man's Pleasure, 1960
The essence of being a really good hunter is, paradoxically, to love the particular species of game you're after and have enormous respect and consideration for it.
● Nick Lyons, Field & Stream, 1994
What we call recreation gives us a fuller not different life, bringing us parts of ourselves too often neglected or forgotten, re-creating the whole person we were born to be.
● Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, 1986
To hunt means to have the land around you like clothing. To engage in a wordless dialogue with it, one so absorbing that you cease to talk with your human companions.
● Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949
A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwise outwit birds or animals is not normal. He is supercivilized and I for one do not know how to deal with him.
● Sam Snead (1912-2002)
The only reason I ever played golf in the first place was so I could afford to hunt and fish.
● Baroness Anne Mallelieu
Hunting is our heritage, it is our poetry, it is our art, it is our pleasure. It is where many of our best friendships are made, it is our community. It is our whole way of life.
● Charles T. Davis
To ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth-- This was the Law of ancient Youth, old times past, old days done, But the Law runs true, O' little son!
● James G. Teer, Ph.D.
I do not wish to defend hunting, as the matter is settled with me...most people today are well acquainted with the arguments on both sides of the topic. Moreover, I decided long ago that the joys and societal values of hunting cannot be described adequately to non-hunters...hunting will continue as recreation and as a weighty issue in conservation.
From It's a Long Way from Llano, Autobiography, 2008
● Teddy Roosevelt
There is delight in the hardy life of the open, in long rides, rifle in hand in the thrill of the fight with dangerous game. Apart from this, yet mingled with it, is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn by man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.
Forward of African Game Trails
● Jim Rikhoff and Eric Pepper
Hunts are memorable for many reasons - your first, and worst luck, your last; the most exciting; the most dangerous; the biggest trophy; the happiest; the one with special friends; and more. They can occur anywhere from a small game thicket in the back pasture to a mountain in Tibet and, of course, they can happen any time. You most often only really know how great one was until long after it was over.
From Hunting Moments of Truth, 1973
● Shane Mahoney
Hunting is very complex, and, like many fundamental human engagements, it is greater than the sum of its parts.
From What is Trophy Hunting?, 2013
● Gray Thornton
The essence of hunting is not measured in inches or points, but rather in the spirit of the chase and the noble nature of the game pursued.
● Mark Morgan
Hunting combines an inherent passion for the outdoors, fascination with nature and desire for adventure that extends the borders of one's current limits. Realization of hunting's impact on one's spirit can only be achieved through shared experiences in a brotherhood bound by mutual passion for the grand theater of the outdoors.
From A View from Blind and Field, 2012
● Jay Ann Cox
Through hunting, we test our bodies, wits and hearts in the natural world, and we sharpen our stamina, courage and prowess. We become keenly aware of the elements, the animal tracks in the mud or sand, our own heartbeat and the barely audible whispers of guide and companions. We feel alive.
From Game Trails Magazine, 2013
● Jack Atcheson, Sr.
First, if it's not fair chase, it is not hunting - period. My ancestors all hunted...My ancestors also liked some risk and hunted huge cave bear and cats, and wore their claws and stacked their bones and skulls in caves and honored them...Only a few of my ancient ancestors hunted...The active hunter mortality was high, it was a tough world. A few hunters provided for many since most of the clans were women, kids, and old or injured men. A lot of people depended on a few good hunters. There was respect, just live having a good job is today...Roots and vegetables were never enough and non-existent in winter. Meat was the most important part of their diet, and still is today...I hunt because it is in my genes to hunt. My sisters don't hunt, but they still expect me to give them wild meat. I like to do that for them. I like the risks, the challenge, the wandering, just like my caveman hunter relatives, and, yes, I do respect wildlife....
From Real Hunting and Campfire Humor, Why Do I Hunt?
● John Keith, Thinking about the hunt - a survey of Texas hunters - Lone Star Outdoor News,2013
More than just a hobby, hunting in Texas is a tradition-filled way of life for many, where families celebrate a youth's first deer kill, and individuals lie awake at night afraid to oversleep the alarm that signals a new season.
Lone Star Outdoor News wanted to know exactly how passionate the average Texas is about their love of the hunt. Is it something that crosses your mind when you drive past a cut cornfield and see dove flying?
Or does the exponential emergence of mesquite as you travel south trigger visions of big bucks just over the next hill? Maybe the smell of salt along the coast brings memories of redheads swooping over a decoy spread.
Through our E-newsletter, Facebook and online forums, we asked you to cast your vote; and you responded.
First we asked participants to estimate how many times a day they thought about hunting, or an aspect related to the act of hunting.
Thirty-six percent of respondents chose the answer '5-10 times a day.' An additional 45 percent of survey takers chose '15 or more times a day.' That means that 71 percent of the Texas hunters we surveyed think about hunting a minimum of five times a day, with nearly half having it on their mind over a dozen times!
● Gordon MacQuarrie, Field & Stream, November 1939
Some people ask why men go hunting. They must be the kind of people who seldom get far from highways. What do they know of the tryst a hunting man keeps with the wind and the trees and the sky? Hunting? The means are greater than the end.
● Elgin Gates
We who have tasted the sublime glories of the chase, the dedication, the resolve, the thrills, and even the defeats, know that the heights of human desire and contentment have been reached.
The true trophy hunter is a self-disciplined perfectionist seeking a single animal, the ancient patriarch well past his prime that is often an outcast from his own kind. This hunter is a mixture of sportsman and conservationist, testing his skills and resources against the crafty instincts and wariness of a wise old ram, hunting with the intent to kill the very animal he admires and respects. If successful, he will enshrine the trophy in a place of honor. This is a more noble and fitting end than dying on some lost and lonely ledge where the scavengers will pick his bones and his magnificent horns will weather away and be lost forever.
Although the great trophy hunters of yesteryear are gone from the scene, the legacy they left behind of hunting for quality rather than quantity is one that must be preserved.
● Jerry Dennis, The River Home, 1998
Fishing...makes us participants in nature instead of spectators, a crucial distinction because participants tend to become passionate and protective and spectators tend to become indifferent.
● Kai Uwe Denker, President, NAPHA, 2013
They say hunting is applied nature conservation, hunters are true conservationist – this is a wisdom that is so trite by now, that one feels reluctant to use this phrase any longer.
Yet it is true.
The very interest in wild animals and their environment, which is the basic precondition for any conservation thoughts, in pre-historic times most likely could first be observed in hunters, who took interest in animals and had to know their behaviour. The hunting related interest in wild animals and the knowledge of the environment by ancient hunter-gatherer cultures can thus be described as the very origin of all conservation efforts by mankind and also of zoology.
To this has to be added the urge of hunters to experience original, unadulterated settings, and a true understanding of nature, which also is a precondition to real conservation.
I knew a dear old lady who lived on a farm and was a fond animal lover and readily donated money for conservation projects. And by the way she was very critical about hunting. But ones a leopard killed one of her goats, a hunter would be called to shoot that leopard.
As hunters we have a somewhat broader understanding of nature conservation. Any true hunter takes the greatest delight in really unspoiled nature with an intact spectrum of species and accepts the basic laws of nature without which nature could not function.
These somewhat longwinded words of introduction to an award giving ceremony that is very important to us, seem necessary.
Because more and more a rift develops between different conservation groups that ultimately seek to accomplish the same goal. This is detrimental to what we all want. Because the only difference between a hunter-conservationist and a non-hunter conservationist is the fact that the former is of the opinion that humans are integral part of nature, while the latter seems to have reached a state, where he considers himself no longer part of nature.
Let us not forget, that a lion also is a hunter and kills animals. And perhaps it has to be pointed out that a lion is not an emotionless machine that reluctantly and grudgingly secures his daily meat requirements. No – watch a lion and you will realize that the spine chilling excitement of the hunt, is an driving force behind his very essence, stronger than biting hunger. That is what differentiates a lions being from that of a vulture or a zebra. Is either of them wrong?
Hunter: Another word for Conservation.
Hunters do more to conserve habitat than any other group. And they have achieved great things for wildlife and wild places by supporting conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited. Because of their support, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of habitat across the continent. Come share our vision of skies filed with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever. - Ducks Unlimited