As a meat-eating, gun-owning, do-it-yourself kind of guy, it would only seem natural that I would also be a hunter.
I'm not. However, that doesn't mean that I'm against hunting. In fact, my father hunted to feed my family when I was younger. As a boy - into my teens - I hunted varmints almost daily.
Those who are critical or hateful toward hunters puzzle me. Unnatural death is everywhere - and some form of death brought those critics their last meal. Even raw vegans have to "kill" vegetables before they eat them in an essentially natural state. I guess that's different because vegetables don't have faces or respiratory systems, but on some level it's still the end of a living thing. This is something I've thought about from a young age. Who was I, at twelve or fourteen years old, to fell a tree older than my father's father? When hunting, I didn't go so far as to say a prayer before or after taking a life, but I did silently promise the animal that I would make it quick.
After I left the military, I went on a few hunts, alone and with friends. On most of these occasions, there were no good shots to be taken. When they were... I had crept ridiculously close to animals standing still in silhouette, with a firearm and ammunition appropriate for the quick death of an animal that size. My sights (or the scope) were aligned with the vital zone. I was in a stable firing position and my breathing was under control. The only problem was that I simply couldn't pull the trigger.
Interestingly enough, I have no problem with hastening the end of a dying animal. I have done so on several occasions in the past few years with knives and guns alike. I just can't bring myself to kill something that I don't need to kill.
Again, I'm not opposed to the idea of hunting. It gives us tasty meat. I think it's vital to the management of an ecosystem, and some animals do present a threat to the natural habitats of other animals as well as the livelihoods of farmers, ranchers, and so on. Thus, the wholesale slaughter of feral hogs by warrior dentists shooting machine guns from helicopters does not keep me awake at night. Nor do state-sponsored coyote eradication programs involving aerial shooting as well as poisons and other methods. I'm not bothered when I see photos of friends or relatives with their latest kills; I respect them for getting out there and doing it.
Hunting is necessary, hunting is fun, hunting is natural. Hunting is not something I plan to do again.