Hunting Is Our Heritage

By CSF Ambassador Dan Harrison

Hunting is our heritage. From the beginning, we have hunted for survival. The satisfaction of bringing home fresh, wild food--whether you catch it or harvest it in other manners--brings a feeling of self-worth. We're bringing home fresh food for the table; nourishment for the community. Hunting enables us to fulfill the most basic need we have, the foundation that makes all other endeavors possible.

The hunting parties that assemble today are not that different from those of the past. There is bonding that occurs when you share a goal--in this case, the goal of feeding ourselves and others. This great country was built on the successes of hunting parties, and hunting parties can still make vital contributions to our nation today. Imagine the change in our youth if they regularly spent hours outdoors, freely pursuing a worthy, meaningful goal!

The reason why we hunt is more about the action of hunting, not the actual physical killing of an animal or the capture of fish in a stream. It's the get-together that we go after that makes us do what we do. Camaraderie is achieved as we accomplish a difficult, multi-faceted task. The best of us engage mentally and physically, and when we're done we are able to enjoy the knowledge that we've honed our skills and have contributed to the very fabric of our community.

We know, in a way that in large part has been forgotten today, that exercise and a challenge undertaken in the fresh air and freedom of the great outdoors focuses the mind. We know that sometimes, going forward requires getting back to nature. We honor the bond that we have with the wilderness.

Hunting is our heritage. It's a lifestyle--one we can be proud of, one of the longest-standing traditions of this country. We need not apologize for this skill we have that delivers benefits to ourselves and others.

From the beginning, there have been hunters and there have been gatherers. Both are important. It's time for us, as hunters, to stop apologizing for our sport and assert our pride.

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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