Big City Hunter
Experiences of a small town hunter turned city girl…
Looking at me, you would never suspect the primal side lurking beneath the surface. You wouldn’t assume that I’m a good shot with everything from a rifle to a shotgun to a 9mm—that hunting has been a part of my annual fall ritual since childhood.
I’m your average white female, recent liberal arts college graduate, living a life alarmingly similar to the premise of HBO’s Girls. I look young, am often referred to as “cute,” and was recently offered the 12 and under kids price at a pizza arcade. The word “huntress” would not seem to fit my profile, but I have always been some kind of mutant hybrid between a tomboy and a girly girl.
My father warned me before I left home that my background would probably differ greatly from my classmates’ backgrounds. He cautioned me to carefully consider who I told about my history with guns and hunting if I wanted to avoid offending anyone. Well I guess this is me throwing caution and consideration to the wind. (Sorry, Dad).
The thing is, I’m tired of allowing that side of myself to lie dormant. If my strong, opinionated, intelligent Barnard classmates taught me anything, it’s to be unafraid of controversy. I decided to stop treating my gun-toting, fly-fishing, tractor-driving, slightly redneck side like a dirty little secret.
To my surprise, many of my friends were responsive or at least open-minded about my bestia-cidal tendencies. No one called me a murderer. There was no red paint. No horror or disgust. I was stunned by the painlessness of these interactions. However, considering the ways in which our nutrition and food preferences are evolving, their tolerance isn’t so unexpected after all.
With organic, free-range, and cage-free food movements rapidly making their way to the forefront of our food consciousnesses, hunting for food makes practical sense. It’s empowering to know exactly where the meat I’m eating came from and knowing that I worked to get it. Before the venison wound up on my plate, I spent countless hours stalking and waiting. I walked for miles, I rubbed dirt into my clothes and was careful not to use any scented products beforehand including shampoo or deodorant. I fully immersed myself in the world of the animal, exploring and studying the environment from its perspective. I was connecting with a primal, natural part of myself. Most importantly, when I finally happened upon my prey, I knew that it had never been someone’s property, it was not grown for profit, it had never been mistreated or abused, nor pumped full of chemicals.
Recently I’ve noticed a resurgence of the old “if you can eat it, you should be able to kill it” attitude. I don’t necessarily believe this – animal slaughter isn’t for everyone. Hunting is just another skill – good to have in your personal toolbox in case of mass chaos or zombie apocalypse.
Certainly not all hunters hunt for the same reasons that I do or in the manner in which I was taught. I’m not into trophies or taxidermy, to me the meat and the experience are most important. I will not deny that there is a certain primal thrill in the strategy of the sport, and I recognize that this isn’t a politically correct emotion. Ultimately, I see hunting as an opportunity to allow myself free reign while still remaining respectful of my prey and the environment. For me, hunting is a way to stay connected to nature and an important lesson in humility.
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