Our country has divided on several issues lately, and one of those issues regards firearms. As a girl raised in the sticks and married to a taxidermist, I’ve spent a great deal of my life around guns, and have come to the conclusion that it is indeed people who kill people. Do guns make it easier to kill people? Sure. Do you have to have a gun to kill people? Heck no. So long as hate exists, people will find a way to kill other people. Cain and Able didn’t have AK47’s…
The approach of Thanksgiving brings another holiday of sorts to Tennessee. Rifle season! Hunting has reached its peaked and the deer are coming in. Even with being married to a taxidermist, I’d never given much thought to whether or not I agree with hunting, but having Ian on the scene has helped me realize what my beliefs are.
I whole heartedly will support Brinn in encouraging our son to learn to hunt, for several reasons actually.
- Responsibility: Maintaining a firearm requires a lot of work. It has to be cleaned after every hunting trip or shooting session and it has to be stored under certain conditions.
- Work ethic: It takes a lot of self-discipline to drag yourself out of bed at 3:30 am to get dressed and stagger out to a blind or tree stand in 20 degrees while it’s still dark outside and possibly raining/snowing.
- Physical Fitness: Hunting requires a lot of walking (unless you’re one of those who takes a four-wheeler all the way in, but that runs the risk of spooking your prey), and dragging, and carrying.
- Appreciation: Working so hard for the meat a person eat helps them to gain more appreciation for what he has. Ian will definitely learn to eat whatever he shoots (aside from predators he will be allowed to shoot to protect our livestock. I won’t make him eat coyotes, bobcats, or foxes), and if the freezer is full, then he doesn’t need to shoot anymore deer, unless he has someone who has requested the meat. Hunting’s primary purpose should never be entertainment.
- Self Esteem: The ability to provide for one’s family helps him to feel more valuable as a person. To be able to own one’s contribution to the dinner table, at any age, helps a boy feel like he matters.
- My car! I hate when deer get smeared on the highway. It’s unfortunate for the deer, dangerous for drivers, and expensive for car owners and insurance companies. Some anti-hunting advocates claim that hunters just push the deer out of the woods and into the roads, but look around folks. The woods in Tennessee are disappearing by the minute. The overpopulation of deer in our area has them eating our horses’ hay, getting into cows’ grain bins, and scavenging through my garden. There aren’t hardly any areas left without public roadways. Deer are going to be crossing these roadways as the continue to look for a food supply every time their area starts to deplete.
- Bonding: Nothing brings a group of men closer together than the ritual of killing. Every time a hunter who has killed a big buck shows up at Brinn’s shop, about 15 people will arrive within half an hour. Everyone wants to stand around and admire the deer, while congratulating the proud hunter. The proud hunter becomes initiated as one of the “good ‘ole boys.” Being one of the “good ‘ole boys” creates a community of men who can share stories, breakfast, and hunting tips. Men might not discuss their feelings, but they still enjoy having a group with whom they can discuss other important aspects of their lives.
We’re starting early with Ian; Brinn wants him to be completely comfortable with firearms as a child, so that guns are never that forbidden sin that some households make them into. He wants guns to be a common fixture in our home, albeit with trigger locks and stored in a locked safe with ammunition stored elsewhere. Brinn also wants Ian to start learning the responsibilities that are associated with gun ownership. While he might be a little young to clean a gun right now, Ian is definitely becoming familiar with the ritual of it. The second Ian is old enough, he will be in TWRA’s hunter safety course to certify all the safety training that he will have already learned at home. The first of all of these rules, it to always control your muzzle. If Ian never wants to hunt, that’s completely fine with us, but if he ever finds himself in a dangerous situation with guns, he will know how to react and handle the firearms safely to protect himself and others around him.
Update! I finished this post last night, but my battery died before I could publish it. This morning Brinn got the chance to go back out in the woods and brought home a nice buck. Guess who’s going to be making venison meat balls over the weekend?