I am not a hunter. I did not grow up around guns, bows, hunting or eating wild game.
Then my mom moved us to Idaho, where hunting is a big part of life. I still am not a hunter. But I married a man who enjoys the sport, so I know a little about it. When “The Hunter’s Creed” by Garn Christensen crossed my desk, I got excited. It’s a brief book, but I thought it would give me some insight into ethical hunting practices and help me understand why my husband enjoys it so much.
The author is a longtime hunter and angler and has been a licensed outfitter and guide on the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The illustrator, Janis Wheeler, an archer, has created artwork for Craters of the Moon National Monument. Each chapter starts with a creed (for example, “I am part of this beautiful earth and will strive to understand, respect and protect its wonders. I will always walk gently so as to leave the wilderness as it was before I touched it.”). In the forward, Christensen explains that this book came to be because of a conversation he had with his grandson about hunting and fishing.
I can imagine, in the way that Christensen writes his chapters, that this is the exact way he explained things to his grandson that day. His words are simple and have a magical, storytelling quality, and at the same time convey a strong sense of responsibility and respect to hunting.
Like I said, I am not a hunter or angler (and don’t see myself going that route anytime soon), but I still found this book very interesting, informative and an enjoyable read. Like the subtitle says, it’s “a great primer for new hunters and a good refresher for seasoned hunters.”
I think this book sums up how most avid hunters feel about what they do. They both love and respect their passion, the animals and the earth around them. In a time when hunting is getting somewhat unfavorable and ugly publicity, I believe that “The Hunter’s Creed” is true to what it means to be a hunter. This is a must-read.