The Reasons Why I Stopped Hunting Wild Game
We have about 500,000 hunters in Colorado, but I am not one of them.
I spent about 25 years of my life hunting wild game. I started as a teenager taking the hunter safety course and hunting small game like squirrels, ducks, dove, and pheasants. Honestly, I was never all that successful. I was a horrible shot.
As I grew older I took to big-game hunting- specifically deer. For about 10 years I hunted deer in Indiana with a .20 gauge shotgun and a .50 caliber muzzleloader. Oh my word, I had a great time. Aside from a huge plate of tacos, there was nothing I enjoyed more. Opening day of the hunting season was the biggest day of the year - and I looked forward to it like a kid who can't wait for Christmas morning.
Shotgun season was two weeks, then you take a week off, and then enjoy two weeks for muzzleloader season -which ended up in the December snow and freezing cold. There was just something special about being out in the woods - man against nature. And since high-powered rifles weren't allowed, you pretty much had to get within 100 yards of your target. The challenge of the hunt, the thrill of the kill, and the bounty of meat in the freezer. Those were the days.
After I moved back to Colorado, I stopped hunting. I didn't really know where to go, didn't have anyone to go with, and the idea of shooting at a target 200-300 yards away with a high-powered rifle did not appeal to me. Additionally, something changed inside of me and I just lost the desire to kill animals.
I started doing a little photography and enjoying visits to Rocky Mountain National Park and other Colorado animal refuges where the challenge became not to make a kill, but to capture a great photo. The thrill and the challenge was back - and my appreciation for wildlife and Colorado's great outdoors went sky high.
Since I stopped hunting wild game for the kill some 17 years ago, I haven't missed it. I think back fondly of so many great memories, especially when I see the mounted deer head hanging in my living room. But, I no longer have the desire to kill an animal of any kind. I would just rather enjoy watching wildlife that's living and breathing.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not against most hunting - especially the hunting that happens in Colorado. It's something that is necessary on many levels and I fully support it. It's just that when the hunting saints go marching in, I'm not going to be in that number.