I love to hunt for a lot of reasons. More reasons than will fit in this article; but one rose to the surface. That is, hunting speaks to the heart of manhood. This aspect of a man’s heart is not limited to hunting of course. For other men it may be fulfilled through woodwork, ranching, or a myriad of other activities. Woman hunters are on the rise and I do not mean to dissuade them. I simply seek to point out that certain aspects of adventure, manual labor, and large muscle movement activity speaks in a special way to men. For me, I find this fulfillment through hunting. What do I mean?
In the modern American culture I feel the need for manhood has been shown not be a need at all, but a choice. Gone are the days when men had to hunt, grow, and use physical labor to provide and protect. We live in an age when assembly lines and computers do all the hard work. Male or female does not matter. Anyone can wear a suit and press a button. Men are supposed to sit respectably at a desk looking prim and proper. When we get angry about it, we are supposed to sit in a circle and share our emotions. When we get fidgety and can’t focus we are supposed to take medication. According to the ADD Resource Center males are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females (www.addrc.org/adhd-numbers-facts-statistics-and-you/). Coincidence? I don’t think so. Our culture has been so focused on gender equality that it has lost all focus on the needs of a man’s heart.
What I know is this: there are very few moments I can remember learning manhood from sitting at a desk, sharing emotions in a small group, or living a comfortable life. The same goes for the best of my memories. I do not connect best with other men by sitting and talking in a bar or even in a church. For me, learning manhood and connecting with others almost always comes from action. Men were meant to act. Little boys grow up watching influential men in their lives. Words are important. Action is more important.
For me, this all ties into hunting directly. I grew up watching Dad and other influential men. I watched their integrity and work ethic. I watched them be tough against the elements. I watched them respect life even as they took it. We worked hard together and let ourselves be wild men for a time. Idle and tame men are quite common, but no man ever desired to be so. Nothing good comes easy. So I am drawn to the mountain with a bow in hand to avoid becoming a lost American man. The hunt cannot be tamed.