by Lou Lou Durant
Society wants to domesticate us.
Think back to when we were little kids. Unburdened by the plagues of everyday life – work, politics, social conflict… That was true, unadulterated freedom.
We were open books before our pages were written on. And, we weren’t the ink that originally wrote our story. It isn’t until we become adults where we truly begin to evaluate the belief systems that we learned as children.
This is all to say that before we had our instincts stifled by omnipotent societal pressures and the melodrama of everyday expectations, we were free.
For me, freedom is found in the wild.
Wild places and wild things allow us to return to our primal instincts – to be free from those societal expectations.
Venturing into the woods, the mountains, or the prairies allows us to reground ourselves in who we were born as. Our true nature emerges from the domesticated animals we become in our condensed urban lives.
Our innate nature and inherent right are to tap into the traditions that fueled our ancestors. One of these traditions is the sacred act of hunting.
As we know, this topic drives conflicting beliefs.
As hunters, it may be tempting to concede our beliefs and sacrifice our traditions by succumbing to the expectations established by the commercialized industries that fuel urban food sources.
We’ve been called savage, uncivilized, cruel, antiquated, vile and a slew of names and terms that topple the scales of profanity.
The poison that is spewed towards us is not a reflection of who we are or what we do, because they do not understand. Rather, these words and acts of rebellion are a reflection of the conflicts we face as humans and the lack of coping mechanisms we have been taught to use in the face of dissent.
Yet, hunting persists.
Hunting is the most primal instinct we have as humans. To source sustenance for ourselves and our families has been and always will be paramount to our survival.
What has changed throughout the years is the modernization of that process, and as such, many people disagree with “regressing” to a less convenient form of putting food on our tables. Their expectations are aligned with a new form of domestication.
As a hunter, I do not rebel against grocery stores. In fact, I frequent them. Yet, I supplement my urban lifestyle with one that allows me to embrace my most free form of self in wild places by becoming a predator for other wild things.
Creating synergies & understanding opposing beliefs.
For hunters, our preference is to go straight to the source. We do not need to disassociate our food with the sacrifice of life. We respect and honor the game we harvest and revere the process.
For others, vegetarianism or veganism will always be their way of life.
Even still, most of society will choose an omnivore diet and source from modern meat production processes.
And, all of that is okay.
There are synergies in each of our lifestyles, even when they are not apparent. What is so striking about our differences is the way we present them.
The next time someone challenges our belief system, whether that be around hunting and conservation, or any other topic, we should seek to look past their words and understand the programming that drives them.
In some situations, we can open the dialogue and perhaps identify commonalities amidst our pre-programmed perceptions. In other situations, we may not be able to, but we can remember where our belief systems are derived from and have understanding for those who choose to keep their eyes shut.