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Bourne to Hunt

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

My dad’s whole family is from Mississippi so naturally we have some family traditions and hobbies that reflect these country/southern roots. We all enjoy rainstorms, being outdoors, fishing, and to a lot of people’s surprise, hunting. Yes, hunting. Usually, people think I’m kidding whenever I say I hunt either based upon my obviously darker skin tone or on the fact that I’m a girl, but it actually is really fun. It's a time for me and my family (and sometimes friends) to bond. And one of my favorite things is that it gives us an excuse to be outside and enjoy nature all day long. You get to see birds, bugs, and rodents that you wouldn't normally see in your backyard.

This past weekend, we went to Ephraim, Utah for an elk hunt. What I really love about Utah is how massive and colorful the mountains are. Even as I'm trying to describe the view, there are no words that truly do it justice. You have to see it for yourself.

Usually, I don’t post about when I go hunting because I’m afraid of what people will think. I don’t want people to think I’m some deranged animal hater. I don’t want people to judge me. But this year, I’ve decided that I'm not going to care what people think. As long as I know that I am not some reckless destroyer of nature, then I'm fine.

I went on my first hunt with my dad when I was 12, and I really enjoyed the experience. What a lot of people don’t know is that hunters are NOT careless, heartless people with no regard for wildlife. Well at least not the majority of them, and certainly not my family. Another thing that most people don’t realize is that even being allowed to hunt is a very organized and sometimes tedious process. When I was close to turning 12, my dad gave me a hunter’s education book which has a ton of information about hunting regarding its rules, firearm safety, and other ethical topics dealing with how to treat animals. I highlighted and studied this book for a while before I enrolled in a hunter’s education course where I would spend 8 hours on a Saturday being further trained in the topics I read in the book and then tested to see if I was eligible to receive a hunting license.

I forget the exact amount of questions you had to get right in order to be able to pass the test, but there were some people who did not pass. This meant that they were not yet ready to go out and hunt and that they would have to retake the course on a later date.

Note that getting a hunting license does not even guarantee that you will ever harvest (go hunt and bring home) an animal. Hunters have to enter into what we call “drawings” in order to get “tags“ to hunt. Each tag corresponds to a SINGLE SPECIFIC animal in a specific area.

This is the part where I usually lose people, so I will give an example. In the spring time, my dad will go to the Nevada department wildlife website and decide which animal he wants a chance to harvest (which usually tends to be deer and elk). In order to “put in for a tag” he pays money to put our names into a drawing. This does not guarantee that we will be allowed to hunt an animal, but gives us an opportunity. Towards the end of summer, if our names are called out of the thousands of people in the raffle, then this means that we have a tag to go and harvest an animal. This year, I got a tag to harvest a female elk. This means that I am allowed to go out and harvest ONLY one female elk. If I get more than one, I am considered poaching. If I take home a male elk instead, I am considered poaching. If someone is caught poaching then they can be fined and even have their hunting license taken away.

If you get any tags for the season (I didn’t get any tags last year which means I didn’t go hunting) then you still need to plan a trip to the specific area that you are allowed to hunt in, pay for a hotel, pay for gas, and have all of the necessary equipment. When you get to the field, you have to actually search for the animal and get close enough to it so that you can shoot it. I don’t want to bore you, but there are quite a bit of regulations and precautions rightfully put in place to protect not only people, but wildlife as well.

If you're up for it, here are some pictures from my trip!

Thanks for reading!



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