I grew up hunting and shooting guns. Going on hunts with other adults was extremely valuable. Safety and personal responsibility were quite important–I remember my dad saying that he would never hunt with a certain person because he was reckless and unsafe. That really made a difference to me and made me want to do everything right. Trust me, I was NOT reckless. I was “safe.”
Then I was deer hunting with my father and a bunch of very good and experienced hunters. We stayed at a cabin, and when dinner was over I jumped up and did the dishes, not even saying anything. No one mentioned it. The next day one of the “big shots” who had flown in got a deer. He cut off the antlers and gave them to me. He said something like, “In all my years of hunting I’ve never given a rack away. But I was so impressed with the way you acted last night that I think you deserve it.”
I didn’t get a deer that year. I got something FAR more meaningful. And I got it not from my dad but from a man I didn’t even know. It’s been 35 years since that event, and it is still quite meaningful to me.
Next time you hear some idiot say that hunting is all about killing animals and being macho, tell them they don’t know what the crap they’re talking about.