The recent shooting of Cecil the lion by some dentist has caused quite a stir on the internet. However, because of the negative comments about hunting I have seen in response to this, I feel the need to respond.
First, I want to say I am an animal lover. If you know me, you know that. I absolutely adore animals, and I am not the type of person to harm them. In fact, if an animal bites me, my first thought will probably be something along the lines of “what did I do to upset it?” instead of running to someone else. I’m usually the one who, when I read something about an animal biting a child (or anyone for that matter), I think that person must have done something to provoke said animal.
However, if you know me, you also know I hunt. Yes, you read that correctly. I own a hunting rifle, and I actually have two sets of antlers on the wall in our apartment that I am quite proud of: one from when I was 13, and the other when I was about 15. When I turned 12 and was given my rifle as a present from my dad, I went to Pennsylvania for a week to hunt with him. When I came home, I found a lot of rude notes in my middle school locker, all with something along the lines of “murderer” written on them. In hindsight, this was probably bullying. But I shoved them in my binder and stood up for myself: I defended what I did, and I was proud of it.
Hunting for me has always been the greatest way my dad and I bond. I have always enjoyed it. Yes, it’s fun. Not because I kill a deer, but because I get to watch them in their habitat and admire them and spend time with my dad. It’s quiet in the woods before the sun rises, and it is really incredible what sort of beauty you can see from a tree stand, even in the snow.
I cried the first time I killed a deer. My dad smiled at me, hugged me, and comforted me. And you know what he taught me? That we respect our kill. We say a prayer over it, thanking God for the opportunity and for the meat. Because we don’t waste the animal.
So, no, we should not ban hunting.
That being said, I do not support the killing of animals such as giraffes, lions, cheetahs, etc. You know why? Because I do not see how you can possibly put that animal to use for anything but a trophy statement. And I don’t believe in that.
I am a fan of hunting, but I am not a fan of killing. To me, there is a difference.