What some people don’t see in pictures like these...
Growing up hunting, I never quite understood how some people could look at my hunting pictures or hunting trophies and criticize them because they themselves don’t hunt. Often times I would hear comments like, “Oh that is so sad” or “That poor animal”. Even though I could explain how we used the meat and never let anything go to waste, I never felt like I was really getting my point across of why I viewed these moments so differently than some of those who don’t hunt. Then it dawned on me one day that when I look at these pictures and trophies I literally see something different, something special, and something a person who has never hunted would ever see while looking at the same picture.
Pictures like these remind me of driving and laughing with my daughter, singing the songs from Frozen at the top of our lungs. I remember us “sneaking” to get closer to the birds, when in reality we were standing out like a sore thumb! I remember her jumping up and down thinking that she was the one who shot this bird and made her dad so proud. This picture literally brings a tear to my eye thinking about how the moments when I recognize how much she just wants to make her daddy proud of her. When I look at this picture I laugh at the memory of her wanting me to, “cook it for mommy, and baby, and grandpa, and grandma… and mommy”. So when some people look at this picture and criticize it or make comments about how my daughter is a killer, it is clear they don’t understand.
When I look at this picture, I see a memory of months of excitement building up to opening weekend. I see the look on my wife’s face when she shot a rifle for the first time, the laughs she laughed when she hit a milk jug full of water at 300 yards away. I see late nights talking about the ethics of hunting and what to do in every situation she could think up in her mind. When I look at this picture I also see her excitement the night before the hunt which kept her from sleeping though the night. I see us walking hand in hand down the trail at 4:30 am watching our breath float into the air on the cold morning of the hunt. I can see the excitement in her eyes when she saw this bull elk at 300 yards away feeding up the canyon. If I look at this picture for just a moment I can almost re-experience the moment when she fired her first shot, shaking, worrying, and anticipating what would happen next. I see her disappointment and anxiety when I told her she missed and she should shoot again. I remember the moment vividly of when she fired her last shot, watched the bull jump, and then watched him stumble to the ground! This picture brings back the joy we felt when she put her hands on her first trophy ever. I remember the words, “I never realized how big elk were” and her excitement when she called her family to tell them she had just filled her tag. This picture brings back the memory of the long but exciting trips back and forth to pack out my wife’s bull elk. So… no I don’t just see a woman with a dead animal, I see much more than that.
Anti-hunters, non-hunters, and those who just don’t understand, will never look at these pictures and trophies the same way a hunter will. I can look at pictures and remember such good memories with my family and friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Us hunters view these pictures the same way some families look at pictures of a trip they took, vacation they went on, or some event they did. I can look at a picture of another hunter and see the talks they must have had with their children during this experience and appreciate what parenting is going on. I see many talks about God, respect, values, and everything under the sun. So the next time someone looks at a picture of a successful hunter and does not see the same thing you do, take a moment to explain to this person what YOU see in that picture and why it means more to you than it may mean to them.
I want to clarify that I am not saying that hunting pictures and those memories are more important or better than other pictures of other memories such as a family vacation etc. In no way is either situation “better” than the other and that is my main point to this post. Any picture of any memory needs to be cherished and respected. If people went on a criticized a families picture at Disney Land and chastised them for “wasting money and time” this would be completely inappropriate. While I’ve heard these same remarks from people about my hunting pictures, I just hope that I can help them understand why these pictures mean so much to me.
|This is one of those pictures that means a lot to me that may not mean much to someone else!|