Typically the first thing that comes to mind when we hear “hunt” involves phrases like “scavenger” or “Easter Egg.” The antiquated image of a woodsman aiming at a deer is one that many students associate with the 18th century. It may come as a bit of a surprise to hear that there are some students at school who are, in fact, avid hunters.
Perhaps our ideas about hunting arise from the fact that customarily many people out west, especially in California, do not really endorse or recognize hunting as a positive or productive activity.
Senior Kyle Sporenberg, who has had his hunting license since he was 12, does not share this popular conception about hunting.
“[Californians] think hunting is bad because that’s how they’re brought up,” Kyle said. “But in other places like the Midwest, hunting is just the normal thing to do.”
Another student who was brought up around hunting is sophomore Jake Hampel. Like Kyle, Jake was taught the rules, legal procedures and ethical guidelines that hunters follow.
“[My dad] taught me [not to] shoot anything that you don’t have a purpose for,” Jake said.
Kyle, who hunted a record-size bear in California several years ago, shared similar thoughts.
“After I got the bear, I had to do everything myself, because with hunting you have to take responsibility for all your actions and own up to your decisions,” Kyle said. “I didn’t waste any part of the bear, used every bit of it and I even donated the leftover bones to [the California Department of] Fish and Game for testing and research.”
Both share the belief that if people eat meat, hunting should be acceptable as well.
“The meat people eat at McDonalds or Burger King is just as ‘bad’ as [meat from] hunting,” Jake said. “So if someone [truly opposes hunting], then they will need to shut down some of the biggest food industries in the world.”
Hunters actually consider themselves and their practices to be much more humane than those of slaughterhouses.
“We’re just regular people,” Kyle said. “When we hunt, we do it right because we don’t want to see animals suffer.”
The hunters also see other benefits to hunting in lieu of buying meat from a store.
“The taste difference is insane because the fresh meat is so much more tender, and the juices are more flavorful,” Kyle said.
Both said that hunting proves to be emotionally satisfying.
“I enjoy hunting because it takes a lot of dedication and when you finally get one you feel proud,” Jake said. “It places me in an environment where my stress and worries can’t catch me.”
Both students plan to continue hunting in the future.
“It’s a fulfilling experience,” Kyle said. “It’s something you do and will remember for the rest of your life.”