Recently an individual, who I can only assume is ill-informed, posted a comment* regarding the magazine I'm honored to write for, BowAmerica. She posted a picture of the magazine cover and labeled it "cowards."
I've pondered this the last couple of days since initially I was at a loss for words. Why would she consider bowhunters as cowards? There is a huge disconnect that has happened somewhere.
If for some reason, my friend is reading this, I would like to tell you what I know about bowhunters....
Most bowhunters practice year-round knowing that an ethical shot requires diligence. Targets are often found in our basements, fields or a range not far from home. We study the animals we hunt and can "talk" their language fluently. Our bodies are kept in top condition and the off-season is used to figure out how we can improve ourselves, knowing that the next backcountry climb to 13,000 feet is not for the weak of heart. Our packs are loaded with water, tent, sleeping bag, food, rain gear, safety supplies, etc. The list goes on. We carry our bow. We sleep above timberline amongst bear and mountain lions. While the storm rolls across the Rocky Mountains sending flashes of lighting from peak to peak, we hunker down under a pine tree waiting for it to pass. A meal of sunflower seeds fill our bellies. The sleet sometimes turns to snow. We don't mind. We are a tenacious breed. We hunt on. We hunt strong.
Even after all of this disciplined preparation, and long strenuous journeys of chasing an animal, a "quartering to" shot is sometimes presented, an arrow is not released and the bowhunter is left with only the hair on their neck standing up. However, I'll take the empty stomach and the hair on the back of my neck experience. I love the animals I hunt. I love the experiences I've had with them in the woods. And I'm thankful for the times it works out and I get to enjoy an elk burger on my grill.
So, in all sincerity I would encourage our friend to reconsider how you've classified bowhunters. Since according to Webster, coward is defined as:
1. a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.
I think part of the problem is the disconnect people have with the food they eat and where it came from. Hear me out. Walking into a grocery store and picking up a nicely wrapped package of meat for dinner has conveniently provided distance from the realization that a life was lost in order to sustain another's life. We eat our steaks, hamburgers and pork chops but don't give a second thought as to where it came from. We as hunters know differently, yet are often chastised by the animal rights community for providing a hormone-free healthy meat alternative to our dinner plates.
I understand that some hunters may not be as ethical as others, and they should be held accountable for their actions. Careless shots may be taken which end up wounding an animal. Or there are even others who hunt merely for hanging a "trophy" on the wall, and worse... leaving the meat in the field. However, my young commenter must not have done her homework, because all of the contributors to the magazine are not of this caliber. I hold them in high esteem and know they give hunting a good name. While none of us are perfect, we strive to give fair chase to the animal, and would only take a clean ethical shot in order to not wound an animal.
So, in closing, I would like to thank my commenter friend for standing up for animal rights, because as a bowhunter I never want to see an animal hurt or mistreated. I would challenge you, however, to do your homework and give a good honest look at those you are calling names. God bless you!
And on this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday... Let's all remember to stand up for LIFE!
*Note that it looks like our friend has removed her pinterest account, so she may not have a chance to read my response. I'm thankful she has decided to reconsider her comment.