Lakecaster Online



Week of November 14, 2005

A woman recently sat next to me on a plane ride to Pennsylvania. Noticing my camo cap, she asked if I was a hunter. I politely smiled and said, "Yes, are you?" Turns out she wasn't and didn't understand why anyone hunted much less how we could be proud of displaying mounted animals. I eagerly jumped at this opportunity to share my love and respect for our hunting heritage.

Back in the "old days" (not so long ago) it was common to see mounted game animals proudly on display in many businesses. It made me feel proud to look at them and my imagination ran wild as I could only imagine what the story was behind the animal. Regardless of size, each was a trophy and it meant enough to someone to put it on display. These mounted animals also made me feel comfortable as a customer, knowing someone there loved animals like I do. She told me that she couldn't stand looking at mounted animals and how they remind her how cruel hunting is. "Hunting just seems so barbaric," she said.

I explained that hunters love animals and that is why we hunt. It is tough to convince someone when their mind is already made up, but I like a good debate. After explaining the many reasons hunters go afield, she listened quite well. Hunters hunt for many reasons. Some of which are for adventure, the feel of satisfaction of a job well done, the sense of being closer to nature and yes, for the kill. I explained that I hunt for the joy of the hunt.

Thousands of years ago hunters told their stories and honored their animals with pictographs. I don't know of a sole that doesn't find these pictographs interesting.

Today, hunters honor their animals in a way that is very similar. Rather than painting on walls, mounted animals hang for all to see. Like our ancestors, we share the meat with our families and friends too. We also donate millions of pounds of wild game meat to those less fortunate.

I explained that hunting is not just something we do to pass the time. Hunting is a way of life for those of us that are still fortunate enough to have a connection with nature. She continued listening and appeared quite interested. When the plane landed I noticed her purse, which was quite impressive, especially to a hunter. "What kind of skin is your purse made from?" I asked. Proudly she answered "alligator." I smiled and said, "I have hunted them too." It appears that she was honoring an animal and didn't even know it.

Keith Warren is the host of two weekly outdoor television programs that broadcast on The Outdoor Channel. For questions or comments about our shows or the outdoors, contact Keith at

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