Respect responsible hunters and non-hunters

  • Article by: DAVE HRBACEK
  • Updated: July 1, 2014 - 7:07 PM

DNR controversy has revealed a lack of understanding about harvesting game.

When it comes to making land available for hunting and trapping, I see both sides of the issue (“DNR weighs opening more rare natural sites to hunters,” June 23).

I am a hunter and appreciate having land on which to hunt. Yet, I also am a photographer and really enjoy observing and photographing the natural and undisturbed landscape.

I do not consider these two perspectives to be at odds with one another. I hunt mostly on private land, and have enjoyed the generosity of landowners. And I have no problem at all with keeping some pieces of public land off-limits to hunting. I know that when people are out in the woods hunting, it can pose a safety risk for others who don’t hunt and want to enjoy walking on the land.

I get that. But what I don’t get is the venom of certain people — recent letter writers — who attack hunting and hunters and want to call us names and make us out to be evildoers.

I would like to respectfully point out that hunting is a very meaningful tradition for me and my family. It goes back to my grandfather, who used to hunt and trap to put food on the table during the Depression.

My dad, who grew up during the Depression and fought in World War II, passed down that tradition to me and my brothers. I continue it today, and have passed it down to my children. We enjoy time together in the woods and have many fond memories of our days in the field.

Yet it’s more than that. We eat what we harvest.

Taking a cue from Native Americans, I try to use what I harvest to feed myself and my family. I do recognize that some hunters don’t show the same respect for the animals they harvest, and see animals as something merely to be conquered as a way to feed their own pride.

Like those who oppose hunting, I am against this practice and attitude. But I urge people to be respectful toward those of us who choose to hunt. I believe we can find a solution to this issue if we can have meaningful conversations and treat one another with respect.

Dave Hrbacek lives in St. Paul.

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