Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's official: I'm licensed to hunt

After many weeks of completing Kansas' required Hunter Education program online - 13 chapters and the Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety - I got to participate in a free field day this past Saturday. 

This means I am now legal to hunt in the state of KS. 

I learned in my class that 10 percent of the American population hunts and 10 percent is anti-hunting. The other 80 percent don't feel strongly one way or another. 

I want to share that while participating in the all-day field day put on by the state of KS, a local hunting club and the group Pheasants Forever I saw just how serious true hunters take the privilege of hunting. We were told time and again about safety and ethics and respect for wildlife.

We took 2 tests and even went on a mock hunt that raised several ethical and safety dilemmas to teach us. We shot black-powder rifles, clay pigeons with shotguns, compound bow and arrows, and regular rifles. I cannot tell you how many times I heard "Assume every firearm is loaded, ALWAYS." 

We were taught to consider where our hunting partners are before taking a shot, whether or not we could effectively see behind our target to what lay beyond. We were taught never to shoot at something out of range, never to put away a loaded gun, never to shoot at something at the top of a hill, never to hunt where we didn't have explicit permission or where state rules prohibited.

I left feeling that there is not and should not ever be frivolity in hunting. It is an activity that demands serious thought, planning, caution and care.

As an independent person, I want to know I can provide food for my family if need be. And as a health-conscious person, I want to know some of the food my family eats is not from a store, from a processing plant, from a mega farm. I think it can be something at once empowering and humbling, and something that keeps us connected to where we, as humans, came from.


21 comments:

  1. Congratulations! My husband comes from a family that hunts and he has really educated me (I'm in that 80% you wrote about) on many of the things you wrote about--that hunters respect wildlife, consider it a privilege, are well-versed in safety, etc.

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    1. I have learned a ton since coming back to KS. Hunting is more prevalent than I knew. It's too easy to depend on the store to keep food coming, but if anything big happened that wildlife would be very important. Now I still have to get out there and do it! :)

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  2. I love seeing other women learn how to shoot and hunt. We were raised with guns-we were taught how to use them but we were also taught how to respect them. There were many nights that we as a family would get dad's guns out and shoot. Those were great times for us. Although I don't hunt, I have and I can. My husband is our hunter. Not only does he love being out in the woods, he likes knowing he's providing for his family in the most basic way. He is a very ethical hunter and we've taught our boys to be the same way. Most hunters don't go out to simply kill stuff or to bag a trophy (there are some who do). I would say a majority hunt to commune with nature, to provide, and to know they can be self-sufficient.

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    1. Missy, we do target shooting as well. I see it as honing a skill, working toward something, holding up tradition in this country. So you've hunted! You're farther along than me. Turkey season isn't far off though :) I think you are right on the reasons to hunt. My husband is the same way. The times he spends hunting are his most relaxed that I ever see him. He tells me the other animals he sees, what the weather was like, everything. And he respects that animal that provides for us. I have taken to having all three of us thank God and the animal for its life.

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  3. That is awesome! Congratulations! I've gone to a shooting range, and am embarrassed at my ability to hit the target :) Guess I'm just city folk. Awesome post!
    Loretta Smith, Certified SimplyHealed Practitioner® at http://lorettasmith.com

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    1. LOL, well, it just takes time and practice. I most enjoyed shooting a bow at the class as it's a totally different experience.

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  4. My husband just got his card, and still has to get a gun. Several men in our church go hunting, and we live in the city! I told my husband if he can get a deer, I'm all for it! (My mom grew up on the meat her dad got--they were farmers without much money.) My husband wants me to get my card and take a class . . . we'll see! ;)

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    1. I think it's great when people in the city get out and hunt as well. It could easily become a lost skill in our society. I for one really like the taste of wild game. And I have some fabulous venison recipes - stir fry, fajitas, chili, marinated steaks. Hubby even smokes it! YUM! I'd love to hear if you go through the class! It was a total blast and I was amazed at how many women were in it!

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  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1sdgcs9c5M

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  6. Congratulations!! I don't have any idea about hunting but it sure is awesome being able to get your own food during hunting season. Way to go!!

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    1. Thanks :) It's a different process, but one I want my son to know about. I've just read too many post-apocalyptic books probably, LOL

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  7. Congrats! That's always exciting! :) I'm not a big hunter but I know it can be a lot of fun and really awesome for meat storage if you have someone to process it :)

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    1. Have you hunted as well? Cool! Hubby does a lot himself, cutting the backstraps and making jerky. We do have some made into ground meat as well or sausage. He gets two deer per year and I don't eat beef so that fills our need very well.

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  8. Congrats! I've never gone hunting or even shot a gun, but I do think I would like to learn to shoot someday. I've always thought archery looked interesting too.

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    1. The archery was a blast! Wow, I thought this is what it must have been like for our ancestors. Of course it's all modernized with a compound bow that has pulleys, but it still felt great. Knowing you have the ability to find food and protect yourself if need be, and also the skill to hit a target is a good feeling.

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  9. Congratulations! I've never hunted before, but I've handled firearms. I like how the course you took emphasized a lot on safety. :)

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    1. Thanks! And yes, I was glad about that too!

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