I hunt for a lot of reasons. I hunt because I’m an environmentalist and a conservationist. I hunt because I believe that I’m closer to the Earth when I’m engaging with it and there’s something at stake. It doesn’t have that ‘tourist’ feeling that hikes do where you’re taking posed photographs on top of low mountains clasping your best friend, putting your stamp on the experience. In hunting there’s something at stake. Something could very well die. In fact, that’s the goal. I hunt because I want to know the life I’ve taken every time I put a piece of flesh in my mouth. I want to know that I said a prayer before I went out into the woods and that when I’m using the body of the animal that I have killed I am appreciative of it. I hunt because I can wrap my young brother in a whitetail pelt and it will keep him warm. I hunt for competence and familiarity with tools and the land. I hunt for independence and to escape from the shame of industrial meat production. What I do is the antithesis of the stockyard. It’s the key to that imprisoning gate. I hunt because my family is there and the animals and wind and sun are there. I hunt for love and I hunt to escape.
This is the first piece I ever wrote for Thought Catalog under the nom de plume James B. Barnes. To this day it's probably still my favorite.