Why Every Liberal Millennial Should Go Hunting for a Day
Even if you never pull the trigger, there is value in this deeply human experience
It’s 5 a.m. and I am sitting about 14 feet off the ground in a tree blind on the back of my property in Texas pine country with my 17-year-old neighbor. We are hoping the wild boar will show up.
“You turn your phone off?” I asked. We both had.
And it was quiet, and all there was to do was wait.
Some people are surprised to hear there are wild boars in Texas — over a million and a half and rapidly breeding. Others are surprised to learn that there are still actually young people who hunt — some of whom aren’t even father and son — given all the trend signs to the contrary.
Which is why we are here, in the tree blind, where it is delightfully quiet and still. Neither of us has our phones because there is no reception. I am holding a Winchester .243 bolt-action hunting rifle and my neighbor, an expensive compound bow (which he paid for with money he earned doing work for me and other neighbors). We know the hogs have been by recently because the whole pasture is pockmarked with the scars of their destructive rooting.
So much of our cultural conflict these days is over issues that we have fooled ourselves into thinking are black and white. Hunting, like most of these flashpoints, is a multitude of gray. It’s life and death, sure, complicatedly and uncomfortably so. But it’s a mistake to think that something that makes us uncomfortable is wrong. A picture on social media about hunting receives a flood of angry replies. A photo of a delicious brunch elicits far less rancor even if the bacon or the eggs came from a far more brutal agricultural process than a clean kill in an open field.
It’s one thing to talk about climate change or gun control or animal rights without actually ever being at eye level with it.
There is a heavy sense of responsibility that one feels preparing to take an animal’s life. But what one also feels holding a rifle on a hunt is a kind of pride in taking responsibility for their own life and food — the food that comes…