I started participating in both hunting and gardening at a young age - growing vegetables in the garden with grandma, helping care for the family steer and watching dad gut a deer each fall. The older I get the more I become drawn to these activities. Growing food. Raising livestock. Hunting for and processing my own meat. All of these pursuits activate a variety of senses, critical thinking and emotional or physical responses.
It's like I was born to do this.
In fact, we were all born to do these things.
No, tens of thousands of years of evolution did not prepare us for the lifestyle a majority of us live today. We did not develop binocular vision to stare at computer screens, or the ability to walk upright so we could shuffle from cubicle to cubicle. We developed these traits to hunt, forage, build and compete with other humans and species for resources. Precious commodities such as meat, nuts, bone and fruits.
Not only did we develop the physical attributes necessary to excel at obtaining these thing, but the psychological abilities as well. Our first 'biologists' were hunters who learned to analyze animal behavior and anatomy in an effort to harvest game more efficiently and more often. Their ability to procure protein-rich meat on a consistent basis is one of the main reasons our species is thriving today.
Of course, there will be those who will argue that hunting has no place in the modern world, despite the aforementioned characteristics, because it is cruel, an unacceptable practice, etc. To them, I would say that hunting is quite acceptable (or should be) given that 98% of Americans eat meat.
According to a national overview published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2011, 6% of Americans participate in hunting - all of them most likely fall into the 98% of Americans eating meat. That means 92% of the American population either raise their own meat or purchases it from a restaurant/grocery/farmers market. I can say with confidence that most of those individuals probably get their meat from a grocery, where they have absolutely no connection to the process that involved raising, killing or butchering that animal (yes, the meat was once a living and breathing organism!).
This level of disconnect seems both physically and mentally unhealthy. Upwards of 90% of the U.S. population no longer has to go through the experience of raising, harvesting and processing their own food. Not only does it aid in our lack of appreciation for food, but it degrades people's perception of what real food is suppose to look and taste like. They are completely disconnected from a process that teaches patience, practice, respect and the value of life.
But the tide is starting to turn. People are listening to what their bodies and minds are telling them - what the soul is yearning for. A chance to be free, released from the shackles of a modern world in which we are so out of tune with the people we once were. People who felt the dirt under their nails, tasted fresh meat, ventured down rivers, traveled across plains and lived within the confines of a beautiful and natural world.
It is a feeling that I do not have to explain, for it is a feeling that resides in each and every one of us.