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Thread: How do you lose the guilt of hunting?

  1. #1

    Default How do you lose the guilt of hunting?

    I'm a proficient fisherman and I want to get into hunting. But one of the thing that holds me back is I have a strong sense of guilt when I kill a fury animal. I don't get that with fish but with animals I do. How do you ever lose it? I know it's natural for humans to hunt other animals for food and crucial to our survival. I would like to be a skilled hunter but can't seem to overcome that sense of guilt. When I watch videos of other hunters making their kill, I can't help it but feel sad for the animal. How do you guys overcame this feeling or do you guys not have that at all?


  2. #2
    Senior Member alaskabushman's Avatar
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    There are several things to keep in mind when taking the life of an animal. Since you specifically mentioned hunting I'll use deer as an example.

    1) This animal will provide you and your family with healthy, quality meat that would have cost you much much more had you went to the supermarket and purchased it. Wild venison has been shown to be one of the healthiest red meats you can consume. Not only it it tasty but its sustainable and healthy.

    2) Hunters are actually critical to healthy animals. The USA has done a great job of game management, and because of this, there are actually far more deer now than there were in the early 20th century. By hunting you are not only supporting the healthy management of wild animals, but you are ensuring that future generations will have animals to hunt.

    3) You are partaking of your American heritage. By hunting, you are carrying on the tradition of our American forefathers who's lives depended on the meat they harvested. Many modern hunters don't actually need the meat, but you can be proud of carrying on a practice that is older than our country.

    4) You do get over it. When I first started trapping, killing the cute furry animals was a little hard at first, but I soon learned that by taking an animals life, I was actually learning more about nature. Hunting is the same way. When you get out in the woods, you learn about the animals habits and life-cycles. While field dressing you learn the animals anatomy. By taking care of the process from skinning to butchering you gain respect for the creature and the sacrifice it made for you.

    5) Making clean humane kills is easier. When you make a good clean kill the animal does not suffer. By taking reckless shots or lack of practice you injure an animal but do not kill it, that is harder. The animal may suffer for days or weeks before it dies (some do survive anyway), that to me is harder than a 1-shot kill where the animal drops in its tracks. Take care to practice and never take shots you are not 100% confident in. Killing an animal is much easier than wounding one or maiming it for life.

    6) Hunting is not for everyone. Some people just don't ever get into hunting. My dad is a good example, he does hunt on occasion, but he has only ever killed one deer. He just does not enjoy it. He has no issue with other people doing it, and he is always grateful for the venison me and my sister give him, but he is not that keen on killing animals personally. His dad was not much of a hunter, so he grew up without ever gaining the love for it. I grew up with the desire (growing up in Alaska, hunting is kind of required activity), but with a dad who was not a hunter, so I learned by trial and error, and occasionally going out with people who were hunters.

    7) All animals we eat have to die. There are people who protest hunting as "inhumane" while chowing down on a cheeseburger. These people are so out of touch with reality they don't understand that every animal raised for food has a much tougher life than deer do. Food animals never have a chance, never have a life of freedom. Deer are free to roam where they choose, and only a few actually get harvested for food. The vast majority live the life any deer could ever want. Don't get me wrong I eat my fair share of bacon without losing sleep over it.

    8) Buck fever. When you invest so much time and money into an activity, you get excited when you acquire results. In those hunting videos you mentioned, they never show the deer a hunter passed up (or possibly missed) in order to get "the one". I know how excited I get after many hours in the woods, often cold and wet, up at 4am, just for the slight chance at a deer. When the planets align and that shot connects and you have a good looking buck on the ground, you can't help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

    Don't know if this really helps or not, maybe you can glean something from it. Keep trying, maybe you'll discover that hunting just isn't for you, but I hope you can push through the preconceived ideas that modern culture tried for force feed us, maybe you'll discover that hunting is more than just "killing".
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  3. #3

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    Thanks for the response Alaska. It certainly helps. I know modern society has painted a bad image of hunting when in reality it's the most humane and honest way to acquire meat and the animals out in the wild do live better lives than the factory raised animals that spend most of it in cages. That's why I want to get into hunting so I can get meat the honest way and not contribute to the enslavement of animals in factory farms.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Albushman....
    Excellent post...Could not have said it better.
    Tried to rep ya...I need to spread it around.

    Just wanted to add...
    Nothing wrong with the feeling of guilt...That's some what normal.....
    I believe you would be less of a human if you didn't have any feelings.....of feel respect for any animal.

    That said...
    I look at it as a job....wild farming as it were.
    My goal is to do a good job in gathering meat....with the least amount of fuss as possible.
    If I not gonna eat it I don't try to shoot it....except vermin...(different story)

    I decide IF I going to hunt.....then what I going to hunt, then the best way to complete the task.
    Cleanly and efficiently.....with the proper preparation, tools and hard work scouting, and spending time.

    Becomes all automatic....
    Find target, bring rifle (or what ever) track, locate in sights.....make my decision "shoot/not shoot"...based on what where, makeable shot percentage....bang...don't feel it or even hear it....look for the signs of kill.
    Then the work begins...of processing it.

    I have passed up large racked bucks, just seeing one and him not seeing me is a win......but he will make large rack fawns...to take a smaller spike...that will always be a spike...removed for gene pool.

    Not for everyone....but there would a lot less obese people if they had to gather and process their food.

    The older I get...the "The Kill" looses it importance.
    Then I'm asked..."See anything?....."
    Yup.. Bigazz buck...."
    "Did you get it?"
    "Nope"...
    What did you do.... miss?...LOL"
    "Nope, didn't shoot....just didn't feel like it today....maybe if he tempts me again.... I'll pull the trigger....maybe not"
    .
    We both got older by not being stupid...and good luck.

    "Lets get a burger and a beer.....and tell lies"
    Last edited by hunter63; 03-15-2017 at 02:11 AM.
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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Get hungry...
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Look at it this way Kaze.

    So far you have been walking around in the woods looking at the animals that stand there all moon eyed or even walk right up and eat out of your hand and you worry about how bad you will feel to hurt one of the little critters.

    Don't worry about it! As soon as you buy a rifle, a hunting license, rent a hunting lease and get up at 3am and out in the woods for daylight you will never see another live critter until hunting season is over.

    That's why they call it hunting.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Look at it this way Kaze.

    So far you have been walking around in the woods looking at the animals that stand there all moon eyed or even walk right up and eat out of your hand and you worry about how bad you will feel to hurt one of the little critters.

    Don't worry about it! As soon as you buy a rifle, a hunting license, rent a hunting lease and get up at 3am and out in the woods for daylight you will never see another live critter until hunting season is over.

    That's why they call it hunting.
    Hunting is different than shooting......
    There is a lot truth to that....You forgot the "freezing tushy and being soaked.......
    Sit out there for 3 days....0 degrees....finally see a deer...,try to pull hammed back....froze....Wave Bye....

    4 of us in a duck blind...October, pouring rain, 45 degrees....foggy, can't see ducks till they pass over you....Stanley Thermos cups over the muzzle of the 870 and 1100's sitting the front rack... to keep the rain out of the barrel.....
    Danny yells out over the lake....."IT DON"T GET NO BETTER THAN THIS!!!!....

    Then we beat him with our hats.................
    Last edited by hunter63; 03-15-2017 at 10:51 AM.
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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    I don't feel guilty, but I believe in ethical hunting. Buy licenses, follow laws, make ethical shots, etc. To me, I feel more guilty buying meat at the store. Those animals are born to be slaughtered the moment they weigh enough to become profitable with zero chance of surviving. At least wild animals live a free whole life and more often than not, survive an encounter with me when I am hunting.
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  9. #9

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    Respect the animal never shoot beyond your limits, never shoot an animal with young. After the kill I thank the animal for giving its life and use as much of it as possible. I hunt not sit on a hill with a custom rifle and scope to KILL at 1000 yards that in my opinion is not hunting. I too have passed on animals my wife says hunting is an excuse to be in the woods, maybe she's right

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    Gadget Master oldsoldier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post

    I have passed up large racked bucks, just seeing one and him not seeing me is a win......but he will make large rack fawns...to take a smaller spike...that will always be a spike...removed for gene pool."
    I've never been a trophy or big racked deer hunter. I can't count the number of times I've passed on a kill on a trophy buck and waited for a doe. Meat is less gamey, more tender. But that's just me. As to the OP I guess it's all in how you're raised as well. I was raised hunting as a way to supliment our diet, It was neccisary as a way to keep regular meat on our table.
    If by what I have learned over the years, allow me to help one person to start to prepare. If all the mistakes I have made, let me give one person the wisdom that allows them to save their life or the life of a loved one in an emergency. Then I will truly know that all the work I have done will have been worth every minute.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Yep, locally steak is selling for $12 a pound. Roasts run $7 a pound and ground beef is $3.50 a pound.

    A 100 pound doe that will dress out to 40-60 pounds of ground meat is $200 of meat loaf and chili, 1 pound of meat daily for 2 months or more.

    That flash of guilt feed your crew for 60 days.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Yep, locally steak is selling for $12 a pound. Roasts run $7 a pound and ground beef is $3.50 a pound.

    A 100 pound doe that will dress out to 40-60 pounds of ground meat is $200 of meat loaf and chili, 1 pound of meat daily for 2 months or more.

    That flash of guilt feed your crew for 60 days.
    You forgot $40,000 for the new hunting vehicle, $1000 for the new rifle, $700 for the new scope, $200 for the latest camo, $300 in supplies to enjoy the camp.........and on and on.
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    Senior Member alaskabushman's Avatar
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    You forgot $40,000 for the new hunting vehicle, $1000 for the new rifle, $700 for the new scope, $200 for the latest camo, $300 in supplies to enjoy the camp.........and on and on.
    for me its the $3,000 truck, $400 rifle, $200 scope the flannel and wool I already own and the $100 worth of supplies I already keep in the truck....

    Anyone else notice how Hollywood portrays hunters? I've seen more than one instance during a murder mystery show where the culprit is caught because he was a hunter. The "evidence" used against the murderer is the fact he is an avid hunter, therefore it perfectly capable of killing a human in cold blood. Makes me sick when I see representations like that. As if killing animals and humans were the same thing. Not even close.
    I think thats partly why there is even "shame" in the first place. Average non-hunters pick up on the subliminal message that "all hunters are brutal killers who would hunt their fellow man if given the opportunity". Apparently we just wander around the woods shooting anything that breathes. Disgusting.
    Last edited by alaskabushman; 03-15-2017 at 09:32 PM.
    There ain't too many problems you can't fix with $500 or a 30-06.

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    Me-"Exactly."

  14. #14

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    No matter how humane a hunter, you are going to come across animals that are still alive and struggling to stay that way. It is going to be your job to finish the job even while looking in their eyes.

    Hunting affects everyone differently. Each hunt can have an affect on you that changes your view. There is no warm and fuzzy kill. Most good kills include an animal dealing with the termination of its life for at least a brief period of time. Accepting that allows you to focus on being as humane as possible.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    You forgot $40,000 for the new hunting vehicle, $1000 for the new rifle, $700 for the new scope, $200 for the latest camo, $300 in supplies to enjoy the camp.........and on and on.
    That don't count, I was going to buy that anyway!
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

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    I am a meat hunter. When I was young I would shoot birds and squirrels with a pellet rifle to see if I could. But after I killed my first deer at twelve years old, I had a change come over me and from that point until now I will not shoot anything that I don't plan to eat. I instilled that in my children as well. I am not a big turkey hunter because I don't know really care to eat turkey even though I have experienced the challenge and thrill of it, I just don't eat it so I don't hunt it.

    Native Americans knew the value of every animal God blessed them with and used every bit of every animal they killed down to making tools from bones. They also had enormous respect for their prey and every kill was an emotional and spiritual event for them.

    Hunting IS NOT a sport. Hunting is a means of providing food for my family. But Kaze if you are thinking of getting into hunting just to get into hunting and not for the purpose for providing meat, then you will likely feel guilt.

    With that said, I want to be clear that I am not hating on those who only trophy hunt although I do get a little miffed at those who only want the trophy and don't care about the meat. I too have passed on bucks to kill does before although as a rule I view them all as meat for the freezer. At the same time I don't have the desire to kill more than I can eat season to season. Here in Alabama you can legally kill 123 per season over most of the state and I know people who kill 10 or 12 and end up giving away over half of them.

    Bottom line I don't feel guilt as much as an overwhelming sense of spiritual connection with my harvest. An appreciation for the kill and gratitude to God for allowing me to.

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    Senior Member WalkingTree's Avatar
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    Not to say anything either way about 'guilt', just a sidenote on something this makes me think of - I am for being responsible, humane, and reverent. But it never made sense to "thank" the animal for "giving" itself so that I can eat. It didn't give itself. Instead, I'd rather take a moment to say something about respecting and honoring the creature as the being that it is (was), and thanking the universe on it's behalf that it had a chance to live a life in the first place, and that I take it's life for myself with respect for it instead of indifference or disdain. Kind of holding a quick memorial to the life that it lived and the being that it was.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Prices 1990.
    10 acres of land 10K
    Used 4X4 truck...10K
    Used pop-up camper...2K
    New shot guns, camo, calls, boots, 1K..
    Total, $23K
    add $500 for food saloon fuel beer, restaurants
    Total...$23.5

    Turkey 23.5 pounds....so $1000 per pound.

    Feeding 15 people at Rondy.... turkey and capon on the spit....
    Priceless....
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Then there was the time I was feeding the stock and a deer jumped onto the hay wagon for its customary free meal. I shot it with my .357 and it went down and never fell off the wagon.

    Back home for a quick cleaning and rough butcher job and the whole thing went down the road to the family whose breadwinner had been out of work for a couple of months, no fault of his own.

    I never lost any sleep over that one either.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

  20. #20
    Senior Member alaskabushman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Then there was the time I was feeding the stock and a deer jumped onto the hay wagon for its customary free meal. I shot it with my .357 and it went down and never fell off the wagon.
    Wow, now that's hunting!

    I chased a deer off the road a few years back, went maybe 75' and got a good shot. The deer turned and took off back towards the road. It died in the ditch about 6' from my truck...
    There ain't too many problems you can't fix with $500 or a 30-06.

    Him-"Whats the best knife for survival?"
    Me-"the one that's in your pocket."
    Him-"I don't have one in my pocket."
    Me-"Exactly."

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