As you read this, I am relaxing at home with my family and preparing to cook a delicious Michigan wild turkey I shot last spring. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. While things are a little crazy this year and I am unable to get together with the whole family, I got to thinking about the things I am thankful for as a hunter. For one, I am thankful to have a day off. I have been hunting a lot this fall and thanksgiving is giving me a good excuse to stay home today. I can sleep in and spend the day with my wife and three dogs who have all been extremely understanding during hunting season.
As an outdoorsman, I am thankful for opportunity. The North American model of conservation has provided every one of us with the chance to go out and try to hunt. Our game species are thriving and well managed. The United States has an abundance of public land which is open to hunting. All one really needs is a rifle, a license, and a knowledge of hunter safety. That’s it. Hunting really is a great equalizer. While there are hunts that may require a larger financial investment, every American who wants to has the opportunity to go out and hunt big game. It is only an opportunity we are given though. There is no sure thing in the woods. You can have the most expensive gear and the best hunting lease, but still, you have to use your skill to succeed.
The chance to be able to go out and harvest our own wild protein is, in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts we have. In a world of quick and easy food, people have become so removed from the animals and plants we are consuming. By going out into the woods or marsh and killing an animal, we can remain connected to the land. This connection is something that non-hunters may never fully understand. We don’t hunt because we enjoy killing, though it is a good feeling to succeed after putting in so much work. We hunt to reconnect with a forgotten part of who we are as humans. To understand the sacrifice the earth makes for us to survive. We hunt to feed ourselves and our families.
Be thankful for the opportunity we have to still pursue and hunt our own meat. Think about what you can do to ensure that the next generation has that opportunity as well. Enjoy the day and happy thanksgiving!