Hunters

Hunters

I’m not the most dedicated hunter. I don’t have the newest hunting gear or gadgets. I rarely wear camouflage in public. I only own two guns, one of which I’ve had since I was 12 years old. If you saw me walking down the street you probably wouldn’t guess I’m a hunter. But the truth is, hunting is an integral part of my identity. When I think about it, it’s difficult to say exactly where that identity came from. I imagine it’s different for every hunter.

What I do know is the times I have felt most grounded and most alive were while I have been hunting. The majority of those were on trips with my dad, exploring some remote place that had existed as a mysterious name on a map, or better yet somewhere with no name at all. The strongest memories from those times revolve around the difficulties of the trips and our experiencing them together. The kind of “Type II” fun that make good memories, but in the moment have you wondering why you’re even there. Like waking up in the morning and cramming my feet into hiking boots frozen solid from crossing streams the day before. Or horses breaking hobbles and running 40 km back to the truck. Black flies swarming and harassing us while our arms are elbow-deep inside a moose. Sitting under a leaky tarp in the rain for days on end. Somehow, through all of that my connection with the land and feeling of truly existing was strengthened.

 

And now, in the comfort of my house, when I smell a moose roast cooking in the oven, those moments soak back through me, reminding me who I am.

- Conrad Thiessen