Hunters Have Always Loved Wildlife

While hunting for gemsbuck in South Africa in early June I heard rock carvings etched by Bushmen who knows how long ago were hidden in the rocks near an ancient waterhole. I’ve seen paintings and etchings from ancient hunters in New York, Utah and New Mexico. Later this summer I’m going to see ancient Spanish cave paintings. As a hunter I feel drawn to this prehistoric art. They say something about the connection hunters have with the wildlife that sustain us. Some think hunters today are trying to prove their manhood by killing. I think they’re right, but that the manhood they’re affirming is much deeper and more honest than killing to establish dominance or control. Hunting honestly is to connect yourself to nature and understand and love its process as you experience it. The ancient rock art and modern photos and more show that those who hunt tend to revere what they hunt. They’re connected to it in a very literal way. The Spanish writer Jose Ortega y Gasset said this well when he wrote, “One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted.” I know this from experience and I know this can be very difficult to articulate to someone who only buys their meat and has become very disconnected from where their sustenance comes from. So I asked to see the Bushmen art and found that the etchings are just far enough away from the waterhole to allow the ancient hunters to hide and wait for game to come. The art is how a few Bushmen passed their time as they waited for game they revered to come.