Every Friday night from September to November school tradition calls for a crowd of teenagers standing in The Jungle decked out in camouflage and neon orange. A smaller number of those teenagers will don the same gear multiple times while participating in one of their most beloved pastimes: hunting.
While these students find joy and excitement in hunting, they also understand the responsibilities it entails. Many hunters strive to use as much as the animal as possible.
“I take the deer to a butcher, so he can make jerky and baloney with it,” junior Tressa Kagarise said.“I do this because I don’t want to waste the life that I just took. My family eats the meat, and nothing is wasted.”
Although hunting is a dangerous sport, many young children still participate. According to a 2011 national survey conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 1.8 million 6 to 15 year olds said that they hunted. Often, the children who hunt come from families that have a background in hunting.
“I started going out hunting and sitting in the blind with my dad when I was about two. I wouldn’t shoot anything, it would probably kill me if I tried,” senior Bobby Lohr said. “But it was always fun to go out there and sit around and watch my dad hunt. It was probably my first memory sitting in a duck blind while my dad shot geese.”
Most people dread leaving a warm, cozy bed at four in the morning, but for these hunters, it’s worth it. Early mornings are prime hunting time.
“If I’m hunting deer, I’ll normally hunt around 6-7 am, around sunrise,” junior Jake Dunk said.
Other hunters spend their day in anticipation for a hunt either leaving school early, or using their early release privilege to get to their blinds in time for a hunt at dusk.
The weapons used to hunt, such as rifles, muzzleloaders and bows are inherently dangerous. According to a 2011 survey done by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 6,759 out of 16.4 million people were injured while hunting with firearms. Hunting safety courses are required in order to obtain a license. Todd Mumpower, an environmental science teacher, has dedicated part of his time to ensure the number of hunting related accidents go down. Mumpower teaches hunting safety courses that are required in order to obtain a license.
“The number one rule of hunting safety is making sure when you use a firearm you always treat it [as if] it’s loaded,” Mumpower said.
Hunting provides some with food, some with fun, and even some with relief. “It’s kind of like a stress reliever. You just get to go out and sit in the blind you don’t have to worry about anything you kind of get away from the world for a little bit,” Lohr said. “It’s a great way to let go and relax, be out in nature.”
This article first appeared in our December issue of our news magazine.