If you were condemned for doing what you love, would you still do it? Would you risk the potential of others thinking less of you in order to follow your truth? It is easy to say that you would, but an entirely different thing to actually go out and do it. Three years ago, Jenna Brewer found this to be the case upon embarking on her journey as a hunter.
This journey was not always easy. She has even questioned herself at times, but, in the end, hunting has taught her many lessons and brought her closer to nature. Whether you are a hunter or not, it is important to educate yourself on what it means to be a hunter before forming an opinion. Read below to learn Jenna’s take on hunting and why she now shuts down the opinions of others against it:
1. None of your immediate family members are hunters. What drew you to become involved?
I’ve always loved nature. If it’s something you can do outside, I want to do it. As far as hunting, it all started because a friend was nice enough to let me tag along on their hunt. I love trying new things, so it seemed interesting enough, and the rest is history. It was during squirrel season, which isn’t exactly the most intense hunt, but I loved every second of it. I quickly found out that hunting requires you to be totally in sync with your environment; it’s almost like therapy.
2. Were you ever afraid to do something that others could be so strongly against?
I definitely have the type of personality that is sensitive to how others feel. I have never felt compelled to blatantly offend someone, because I completely see where anti-hunters are coming from, and know they’re coming from a good place. That being said, I am an animal lover, and I also love hunting; the two can totally co-exist. Like I said, I try to be respectful, but at the same time, I’m incredibly proud to be a hunter. There is definitely an honor system, and being a hunter means you’re carrying on a tradition that is thousands of years old. There is a right and wrong way to hunt. If you are doing it the right way, you’re doing it in an ethical, honest way.
When you make a kill, you’re happy but, for me, there is always a tinge of sadness. No matter what way you look at it, you caused something to stop breathing. More than anything, you’re thankful; thankful to God for giving you a clean kill., and just the opportunity to exist in this beautiful world we live in. I promise, you can’t watch the sunset over a cornfield and question the existence of a creator. To me, hunting is so much more than aiming and the kill. That’s why I have no problem with it.
3. How have you dealt with the negative opinions of others?
When I first started hunting, I was kind of ignorant to the huge opposition for it. In Southern Indiana, it is pretty common. I posted a picture of myself holding a fox on Instagram once, and got a comment from an Irish woman that I was a little taken aback by. She basically told me I was a terrible person and “disgusting hunting like this should be banned”. She said she “didn’t understand why I thought I had the right to take a life”, and that’s just it; she didn’t understand.
I clicked on her profile, and immediately had to laugh at the picture of the juicy steak she had posted a few days before. We’ve all seen the newspaper clipping floating around Facebook that says something along the lines of “shame on hunters, they should get their meat from the store where no animals were harmed”. A lot of it has to do with being educated, and being respectful. When I killed that fox, I had chickens and other animals to protect, not to mention all of the environmental reasons that hunting is necessary.
4. What has hunting taught you?
I have learned SO much from hunting, and with everything I have learned, I’m sure that I’ve only learned about 10% of what all it can teach me. It has taught me that hard work pays off. It definitely has a little bit to do with luck, and being at the right place at the right time, but there are also definitely ways you can increase your odds of success. I still haven’t got that big buck, and to me, that means I’m not working hard enough, and need to figure out what I’m doing wrong. You can apply that to life, for sure. Too many people just think they can perform at a mediocre level, and get extraordinary results, and that’s usually not the case.
The biggest thing that stands out for me is simply respect for the land. I always go back to the quote from the movie “Gone With the Wind” when Scarlett hears the words of her father repeating “land; it’s the only thing that lasts.” The connection to nature you get is unreal. In today’s world, we are so caught up in getting from A to B that we forget to take in all the beauty God has created. Since I started hunting, I’ve heard sounds I never knew existed and was fascinated when I watched a bobcat walk literally 5 feet in front of me. Nature is just so amazing, and hunting has helped me appreciate it to the fullest, kill or no kill.
5. How does hunting help the environment?
This is why I find it so funny when people say hunting should be illegal. That would be a disaster! I’m no expert, but I know that hunting deer in particular is completely necessary for the environment. A world without hunting would have starving deer, and bare forests. Farmers would lose a good chunk of their crops to hungry animals.
Our land could simply not sustain the amount of animals that would exist. Modern day hunting is actually a strategic form of population control, whereas the bag limit is relative to the local game population and laws. If you think people hit deer on the road a lot now, I could not even fathom the amount of accidents caused by deer if hunting were to be outlawed. Like I said, I don’t claim to be an expert, but the take-home message here is we need hunting.
Did You Know?...
Hunting Quick Facts:
6. What would you say to other female hunters?
Hunting is getting more and more popular for girls, and I love it! More than anything, I think female hunters should empower each other. I get so tired of hearing women feeling the need to insult other women, and saying “she’s just doing it to get attention”, or “she’s never even killed anything.” As females, we’re already seen as the underdog, so why make it worse? We should be working ten times harder to hit the bull’s-eye every time.
I’ve only been hunting for three years, and I admittedly have SO much to learn. My biggest mistake was feeling like I had something to prove, and felt like I had to build myself up to be a better hunter than I really am. The first time I missed a deer with my bow was so humbling. It was raining, and I just sat there feeling sorry for myself; it was like a scene out of a movie. In that moment, I realized it was 120% my fault that I missed that shot. (I won’t mention how close it was).
It’s all about setting goals for yourself, and working your butt off to attain them. Ask questions, and soak up any knowledge you can from the veterans. Picture yourself making that shot, and if you put enough into it, it’s going to happen. The fact that you’re female means nothing. I’ve heard several bow shop owners say some of the best shots they’ve seen were females. I'm nowhere where I need to be, but I know I can get there. No excuses; You can hunt with the best of ‘em.
In all, Jenna’s story is just one example of going out and doing what you love despite others opinions. If you feel drawn to something, do not hesitate because of what others' thoughts may be. Instead, educate yourself on its implications. After learning what hunting can do for the environment, Jenna was able to truly stand up for what she loves. Will you be able to take that same chance in doing what you love?
"WHY IS HUNTING GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?" WHY IS HUNTING GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT? Accessed December 23, 2014. http://srel.uga.edu/outreach/ecoviews/ecoview031117.htm.
Piccione, Mike. "How Hunting Helps Wildlife." Accessed December 23, 2014. http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/01/how-hunting-helps-wildlife/
Based in Chicago, Jessica reports on career motivation, marketing, entrepreneurship, and many other topics. She is devoted to helping others see things in a different light.