Intro to Archery: Archers vs. Bowhunters? Meat Eaters vs. Vegetarians?

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.

Practicing archery on a sunny summer day.

Practicing archery on a sunny summer day.

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.

Bowhunting practice from the top of my tree stand.

Bowhunting practice from the top of my tree stand.

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.

Beginners-Guide-to-Archery-for-Women-with-Kristen-Schmitt-137x190Are You New to Bowhunting? Check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Archery: For Women” DVD available at HERE.