My hubby is a hunter. He recently returned from a week out in the woods, hunting deer. It may seem odd to some people that a vegetarian/animal lover would marry a hunter, but for me, it all comes down to mutual respect.
The way I see it, hubby has been hunting for years. It’s an activity he enjoyed long before we ever met. His experiences as a hunter helped to shape him into the man he is today… just as activities I enjoy have helped to shape me as a person. He gives me space for my activities, and I do the same for him.
Also, I’m tolerant of him hunting because he does recognize how I feel about it and isn’t a jerk about it. He respects my feelings and views about it, even though they don’t mesh with his. This didn’t happen overnight though. In the beginning of our relationship, some experiences were trying…. like, the time he asked me to go to the outlet mall with him. That mall is a 90-minute drive. Hubby waited till we were about 20 minutes from the mall to inform me that the main reason we were going to the mall was because there was a gun show across the street that he wanted to attend too. Quickly miffed about this lack of information, I tried to make the best of the situation and attended the gun show with him… but I wasn’t inside for long. Seeing pro-hunting propaganda like bumper stickers touting “Vegetarian is an old Indian word for lousy hunter,” along with animal skins hanging among the displays just escalated the frustration I was feeling and made the situation go from bad to worse. I left and waited outside for him to finish with the show. I know he felt bad because he purchased a book about cats for me before he left the show. That event was a turning point for us, I think. I wasn’t truly upset about the bumper stickers or animal skins… I was upset at what seemed like him being insensitive in not telling me that we were going to participate in an activity that might not mesh with my beliefs. We both learned something that day and we’ve moved forward ever since.
Before he left for hunting, I made it known that I wouldn’t be thrilled if he pulled up in the driveway with a deer carcass on his car. He said to me, “Honey, you know how I feel about putting bumper stickers on my car… you really think I’m going to tie a dead animal to it?” He promised to get the deer processed before coming home if he shot one. And he held true to that. He didn’t shoot a deer, but he also told me that as the week progressed, and the likelihood of getting the deer processed before coming home decreased, he decided he wasn’t going to take a shot if he saw one. When he told me that, I honestly had mixed feelings. I was happy that he was taking my feelings into consideration but at the same time, I felt bad that my beliefs were interfering with his hobby.
One thing I’ve realized about hubby though, and he’s said this about himself, is that he doesn’t hunt solely for a prize. He hunts mostly for the overall experience of having time off work, being out in the woods, spending time with his father and anyone else who may go along, seeing other wildlife like a black bear while in his blind, etc. He said he truly didn’t care that he didn’t get a deer… and I believe him.
Does anyone else have similar experiences to share? Are you a vegetarian with hunters in your family? Would being a hunter be a dealbreaker? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts!!!