Hunting culture proves important to campus

Season opener reveals wide interest in hunting.

Image courtesy of Whitetail Domains.

Everyone has seen a zombie movie or TV show where the protagonist whips out a hunting rifle or shotgun and connects with a string of bloody headshots without breaking a sweat or bothering to reload. The good news is, in case of the ever-nearing zombie apocalypse, I think North Dakotans will be safe.

With this being my first year in North Dakota, there are many things I have noticed from casually traveling around town and living in Grand Forks. One of these things that caught my attention was the amount of hype around the opening weekend of hunting season. Seemingly everyone was wearing their Mossy Oak and going to stock up on camo and ammo at Cabela’s or Scheel’s. This level of anticipation for opening weekend seems unique to this part of the country.

Last year, the North Dakota Game and Fish department reported 65,150 deer gun licences were made available in the state of North Dakota, roughly 10 percent of the entire state population. This shows that the tradition of hunting in North Dakota stays strong.

The North Dakota and Minnesota hunting cultures play a key role in the anticipation that floats around the air at this time of year. Farmers pull in their beet crops, and the weather slowly turns for the worst. To northern hunters, this can only signal their last chance to get out into the wilderness before we all freeze, curse and scream for spring.

Hunting and the activities around it are great ways to observe our heritage. The handing down of a rifle or shotgun to a son or grandson, combined with the countless hours in the deer stand, all result in the act of victoriously mounting a trophy buck on the wall for years to come and connect us to the physical world.

“Hunting is how we fall in love with nature. The basic instinct lines up with the spiritual, and the result is that we become married to nature,” writes Dr. Randall L. Eaton, in an article for a conservation organization. “Among outdoor pursuits, hunting and fishing connect us most profoundly with animals and nature.”

The stories of the first kill and the time spent out in nasty weather connect those who partake in the oldest tradition on Earth. The art of hunting is passed from generation to generation, but it’s also one of the few activities that connects every culture from every era of history.

For all the negative press that firearms receive, there just isn’t enough attention given to the areas of the country blessed enough to have places where land for game and hunting is bountiful. The stories of great hunting trips and time spent outdoors away from the ever-connected world we live in today should be something embraced by society.

The outdoors take away many of the negative aspects of life, many stresses and worries can be forgotten when out in the wild.

For the majority of us who were not able to make it out this weekend, we ought to take some time to get outside, even if it is just for a few hours in the park. And to those who were lucky enough to have participated in the hunting season opening, I hope it went as planned and you were able to bag a killer buck.

For those who didn’t, there’s still a few weeks left to get back out there and have another go at it.

Micah Dewey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].