Athletes Who Hunt

Bo knows hunting. So do the rest of us.

We’re athletes by birth and by culture. Our ancestors were athletes, if for no other reason than they had to catch their food and avoid being eaten themselves. Next to “mama,” “ball” was the first word out of our mouth for most of us. Neighborhood pickup games led to elementary schools sports, then middle school, high school, college for some, and the pros for even fewer. We don’t shake our athletic roots easily.

Many of the sports we played as youngsters we don’t play that much later in life. There are a few exceptions like golf, tennis, and swimming. One physical activity we do carry forward is hunting.

The physical challenge of hunting has been one of its powerful attractions for generations. Lungs filled with crisp, clear air, sometimes burning; aching, tired and sore muscles tell us a good effort was involved. These are badges of honor for hunters. Sometimes—more often than not, for many of us—that’s all we come home with. We put ourselves to the test mentally and physically in uncomfortable, sometimes outright miserable conditions. And we do it on purpose.

Naturally some hunts are more physically challenging and demanding than others, and those mountains get taller as the years pass. This is the good stuff only a hunter knows. So why are we talking about this on a website dedicated to hunter ethics and fair chase? It’s because the prevailing public perception of hunting is that it is easy; you just go out and shoot wildlife. Attached to this misconception that hunting is easy is the belief that we bag our game every time out; those animals don’t stand a chance, and pretty soon there will be no animals left. These misconceptions have the potential for more people to therefore oppose hunting.

Hunting hard with effort has its own rewards. It will help in the image we project by talking about and demonstrating such things as effort and the physical preparedness and fitness that come with hunting. If our stories and the images we share only depict a final result, what we have taken, we may just be advancing this notion that hunting is easy and is less about the effort and pursuit that we do cherish.

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