The Full Process
When you turn on a hunting television show you see the the hunt, the kill, the hunter standing over their kill, and the end. But, as every hunter knows, there is a lot more that takes place than just these few steps. What about the trek into the mountains? Watching the last convulsions of the animal before it dies? The pack-out of the 500 pound creature? Or skinning and the processing of the meat?
Adding it all up, these television shows only show a small percentage of what hunting actually is.
As a hunter, I am supportive of hunting if it is done the right way. If you kill it, you eat it. The poachers, the road hunters, and these television shows poorly represent actual hunters and give them a bad name. The great television hunters would have the world believe that all American hunters ride their ATV’s to their huge deer blinds, and within no time, shoot a huge buck and nothing else follows. One of these times, I would like to turn on the television and see a show that continues with the full process, but I doubt this will ever happen. Although some people would like to see the hardcore truth of hunting, most people would be throwing up their dinners as they watched the hunter pull the steaming guts out of recently killed animal. That is probably why the hunters take this time to advertise their products. Plus it keeps the networks happy.
For me, hunting is a spiritual event. Moving through the mountains, being alone with a wild creature, and eventually killing it for food, connects you with your prehistoric ancestors. It gives rise to a feeling that only a hunter can feel. That is why, when I see a hunting show replaying videos of a deer being shot in slow motion while heavy metal music plays in the background, I feel sick in my stomach. Along with not showing the full process of hunting, these shows completely misinterpret the connection you feel with an animal as you kill it. Sadly, this is what mainstream hunting has become. Its become all about the new camo and bow, and how extreme a kill looks on camera. But yet again, these shows are entertainment and make a profit off advertising. If watching a hunter shoot a huge buck during every show, in an obviously fenced in area, and listening to them try to sell you something for the rest of the time is entertaining to you, then so be it.
The following photos are of only part of the after process of hunting. The hunter in the photos shot this moose in Northwestern Montana. After two days of packing it out up miles of mountainside, he spent the next week processing the meat. This particular sequence is of the skinning of the hide and removing of the antlers for mounting. It is dedicated to the remaining American mountain-men and women who, in the 21st century, still make their living off the land. Also, it is for the Native Americans who were the original American hunters and knew the spirituality of hunting, that mainstream hunting lacks today.