The thrill, the tradition, the connection, the renewal…not to mention the meat – there are plenty of reasons why we hunt. Yet at the end of the day, we all hunt simply because we like it. Hunting is exhilarating as well as peaceful and there are scientific reasons why we enjoy it. Study after study finds that all aspects of hunting make us feel good and since we naturally like things that make us feel good, hunters return to the field year after year.
Facts About Hunting
Venison meat is leaner and contains more vitamins and minerals than beef.
Wild game is the most sustainable meat on the planet. You can’t get any more “farm to fork” than harvesting your own grass-fed, free-range truly organic meat. As opposed to farm-raised animals, game animals are more active and eat a more natural diet which makes for leaner meat high in protein, iron, zinc and (good for you) Omega-3 fatty acids. It is also lower in cholesterol and fat. Animals that eat grass retain more vitamins than grain-fed animals (like cows) and you know your game meat will never have hormones, additives or preservatives. For decades, due to the rising cost of corn, farmers have used factory seconds of big brand-named candy, cookies and other sweets, as well as used grain from breweries, citrus pulp, “cakes” left over from manufacturing soy sauce, peanut skins, “bread waste,” chocolate, Kool-Aid mix, meat and bone meal, poultry byproduct and dried and ground tissue of under decomposed fish to supplement cows’ diets. For those conscious of where and what is in their food, this should be a real concern of commercially-bought meat.
Hunting requires physical exercise which raises your heart rate and in turn makes you healthier overall.
Yes, hunting does require a lot of sitting and waiting but hunters are far from lazy. Year-round, hunters are preparing by making and repairing blinds, creating food plots, sharpening their bow and firearm skills and scouting. When hunting season arrives, hunters do a lot of walking by stalking and trailing. Field dressing is even a workout! Any exercise that increases your heart rate is good for you. Hunting also tests your endurance and overall strength.
Hunting requires you to go to where animals are. And where wild animals are, is where people aren’t. You must venture out into the woods, fields, marshlands, mountains and valleys to find game, away from houses, buildings, roads and electronics. One of the greatest rewards of hunting is the mental benefits of spending so much time outdoors. Evidence from over 140 studies conducted on millions of people in 20 countries has shown that spending time in nature lowers our stress levels, reduces blood pressure and heart rate and improves sleep. Further, nature serves as one of our most powerful restorative environments—a space that encourages recovery from our everyday stress and fatigue. People who spend time in green spaces have a reduced risk of developing Type II diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Hunting can take days, even weeks of waiting. It requires you to sit still and be quiet; to be aware and pay attention. If you don’t have, or develop, patience, you’ll never have a successful hunt. Patience also teaches you coping skills, gratitude and empathy. Our modern world provides us so much instant gratification that when we don’t get something at the speed we want, we get frustrated. Research has shown that frustration causes overall dissatisfaction at life, tension and a lack of sense of humor. When we learn to be patient, we are less depressed and experience fewer negative thoughts. Those who have patience report feeling more fulfilled in their lives.
There are so many important life lessons and skills you can’t learn when sitting in front of a screen. Kids need love and support. Kids who spend quality time with their parents communicate better, perform better at school and are less likely to have behavioral problems. Teaching your child to hunt safely builds confidence, a strong ethical character, an appreciation for nature and conservation and promotes a healthy lifestyle. In fact, according to Nebraska.gov, “Studies show that safe hunting under the guidance and training of mentors actually produces a holistic experience that creates less violence in young people.” Children who spend time outdoors have better eyesight, increased creativity and are less likely to show symptoms of ADHD.
As the top of the food chain, we’ve hunted and killed animals for their meat, fur and hide for centuries. It is one of our most basic of instincts. Now, hunting transcends mere survival. Hunters develop a much deeper understanding of wildlife and ecosystems than most people. Their gratitude and appreciation for the animal they harvest doesn’t even come close to what others feel when they buy meat at the grocery store — if they feel thankful at all. Hunters are the reason why certain species haven’t gone extinct, why wildlife habitats are protected from development and why we have so much public land to explore. Hunters are charitable, happier than non-hunters, safe and thoughtful about wildlife and land.