Hunting: "Like Trying Anchovies For The First Time"

Hunting: "Like Trying Anchovies For The First Time"

My whole life up until I was 19 I thought anchovies were disgusting. Without ever having tried one, I let the opinions of others affect me to the point that I had strong opinions about the tiny silver fish. It wasn’t until I was working during summer break from college at a family friend’s restaurant in King George, Virginia. I walked into the kitchen to see my (essentially) second mom snacking on something out of a tin can. I immediately recoiled in disgust when she told me they were anchovies. She asked if I had ever tried one and I replied no. I hesitantly put a small piece in my mouth and to my surprise… I loved it. It was salty like a caper but the fishy taste was actually good. I proceeded to eat a salad with anchovies in it and the rest is history. I truly was that drunk girl in college ordering a pepper and anchovy pizza at 2am.

That adrenaline rush of having an animal 15 yards away from you and it not knowing you are in its habitat, is second to none.

Hunting for me personally, was exactly like that. For so long I had such misconceptions about hunting and the modern day hunter. I let the opinions of others affect me instead of trying to become educated on the topic of conservation. Hunting really is one of those things that you have to experience to understand. No youtube video, book, or even a blog can accurately describe to you the nuances and emotions it can bring out.

The first time I ever went hunting, my eyes watered as the woods woke up around me and different types of birds started to land on the branches of the tree I was in. Even as an amateur birder I had never been that close to an array of birds such as that morning. It was then and there I remember thinking, even if I never hold a gun or pull a trigger, I would like to keep doing this to experience the wildlife. At that time I really was just there to see how it all works. I had asked my friend to show me how to process an animal, even if I was crying the whole time like I thought I would.  I figured I would learn a valuable skill and then never hunt again.

What I didn’t account for, is that even just watching the process of someone taking an animal’s life and me getting to learn how to field dress and then butcher it later that morning, would have me absolutely hooked. It’s why so many people call it an addiction. That feeling of everything coming together for you and being able to harvest an animal, it’s comparable to drugs. Now I won’t say which drugs because generally speaking, I really like my career but it’s the closest thing I can compare it to. That adrenaline rush of having an animal 15 yards away from you and it not knowing you are in its habitat, is second to none.

Three and a half years later, I’m getting a taste of my own medicine. It’s the comments I get under my pictures on Instagram or videos on TikTok. It’s the aggressive DM’s I get in my inbox calling me a, “heartless murderer killing innocent animals.” I laugh because it’s something I used to think. I honestly thought that hunters just do this for fun and have no respect for the animals or nature, which I know now couldn’t be further from the truth. You can be sensitive and sometimes emotional and still want to provide food for yourself while contributing to conservation. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

So if you’ve never found yourself waking up at 3am, covered in camo head to toe, to go sit in the woods to maybe see an animal… you probably shouldn’t be sharing any negative opinions about hunting or the men and women in this country who do it. Try the anchovy. Just try it once, and I promise, it will change you for the better.

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