After the controversy of “Cecil” the lion being shot and killed in Africa recently I thought this would be a good time to have a say on why I hunt.
I would like to start out that not all hunting is just for sport, and hopefully my following writing can give some other perspective on hunting.
Family & Friends
My very first memory was when I was 4 heading out with my Father to Bottle Top Bay in South Auckland. I remember coming home with a Mallard Hen thinking it was the best thing ever. Some 26 years later I have not missed a season being out with Family and Friends.
I know that I have a great relationship with my parents because of my early days hunting with my Father, I have always respected and admired them in what they have been able to do over the years. Like representing New Zealand at world championships both at home and abroad, and being able to build a successful business from nothing.
As I have said before I have been out hunting since I was 4 and haven’t looked back. I began shotgun shooting when I was 11 on clay birds and then ducks and had my first opening weekend at the age of 12.
30 years of knowing each other and one of my very best mates and here is us hanging out at the shooting bach.
I have made some great friends through hunting, most of them have been since we started out. I have also got a couple of friends into hunting. This year I got a new friend his very first duck.
To be successful at duck hunting you have to put the groundwork in before the season starts. Making sure you know where the ducks are and that your hide is hidden well enough. Check all your gear, get some practice in first on clay birds. This is very similar to doing anything in life.
Duck hunting has taught me a lot about life, death and realities of the world. I know where my food comes from and I have a lot of respect for the animals that gave their life for me to have fresh meat. If you want to eat organic, wild game is as organic as you can get. From being out in nature I have learnt that we are individually a very small part of the world.
Hunting to me is a religious experience, opening weekend is bigger than Christmas has ever been. The excitement, the anticipation, all the groundwork that happens beforehand. The getting together with friends and family with a common goal.
Hunters are conservationists, every duck hunter that buys a license gives money into helping restore and support wetlands throughout the country. Without hunters, a lot more wetlands would not be around today. I am lucky enough that back in the late 80’s my Dad and his mates got together and bought some farmland that was not productive. Over the years the wetland is being restored back into a wetland. It is not only the ducks that this helps but other wildlife. The endangered Australasian Bittern is one of these birds, most people have probably never even seen one but they are a relatively common sight around the wetland. Other birds like kingfishers, teal, fantails are just a few of the birds that are commonly seen and in good numbers.
It is not just the bird life that wetlands help, the chorus of frogs that come out at night is deafening. Add to this the Moreporks hooting away.
I enjoy it
Lastly, duck hunting is enjoyable, and there is skill involved. I would challenge anyone to pick up a shotgun and even try clay birds. And then add the unknown of wild game. The kill is not the bottom line about hunting but it definitely cannot be removed from the experience. All the ducks shot get used, on the Sunday of opening weekend we all pluck and gut them all. There is very little wastage.
I hope that this has been an enjoyable read and has given an insight into why I hunt.