Is there really a divide between archers and bowhunters? Or does the real debate lie between meat eaters and vegetarians?
I admit that these may be odd questions to ask, but ones that I’ve been thinking about over the past few weeks following a piece I wrote for the Archery Trade Association about why I decided to learn how to bowhunt. While many of the comments were positive, a few stood out that really tried to draw a clear distinction between archers and bowhunters, which I think is not the actual issue at all. Instead, I think that it’s the classic argument of which side is right: meat eaters or vegetarians.
As a former vegetarian, my reasons for not eating meat were based upon the ethical side of commercial slaughterhouses and factory farms. I recently completed my M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems and spent the last few years studying what makes up a healthy food system. Here’s a hint: it’s not Tyson or Perdue. I’m not advocating that everyone decide to start hunting or give up a vegetarian lifestyle, but I am asking that the argument be less about archery versus bowhunting and, instead, the realization that the real discussion seems to be meat eater versus vegetarian.
When I decided to eat meat again, it was because my body needed it. My doctor asked me to switch from my vegetarian-soy-based diet to one that incorporated quality meat again. So I started eating the wild caught fish and venison my husband harvested in northern Michigan and gradually became healthier for it — I noticed a distinct difference once meat was back in my diet. Each person is unique and requires a different diet to thrive. For me, that is a meat-based one that incorporates plenty of quality meat harvested from the local woods.
I view archery as a distinct skill, a sport that promotes concentration, patience and practice. I view bowhunting as an extension of archery with the added stress of making a lethal shot at a moving target and the added bonus of filling my freezer with quality meat. I am a meat eater. And feel better physically and mentally because of it. For me, there is a way to ethically eat meat – and bowhunting is one of the ways I’ve chosen to obtain it.
Are You New to Bowhunting? Check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Archery: For Women” DVD available at HERE.