This winter we have an open season on ducks of only 30 days, and a daily bag limit of 4 ducks. If we look around, we will find that some men bought guns, ammunition, licenses, duck stamps, hunting clothes, boots, and rented boats and hired guides. Many of them had time for only one or two hunts. It is beyond reason to believe that these men went to all this trouble and expense for the pleasure of merely killing four or eight ducks. We must remember, too, that some of them killed no ducks at all. Evidently there is something to hunting that is beyond the mere killing of game.
Although we cannot separate individuals into classes, we often do it for convenience. We will divide hunters into three classes. The first goes out to find and kill game, and no more. This type we call the “pot-hunter.” He kills merely to eat. We are not interested in him here. The second goes into the woods or fields to find, not game, but themselves. The town or city man who loves the country is out of this type. They find city life artificial and go out in the country to get in tune with nature. They call it “getting back to nature.” A day in the woods often does them a lot of good. Their kind are usually more interested in things than ideas…nature lovers. It is the third class of hunter in whom we are interested. The name hunter does not fit them very well. These are the seekers.
Some of us have a feeling that wild things live in a world of their own, on a plane of consciousness that is entirely different from ours. We would like to stand for a while on this plane, to feel as a squirrel feels. But it may be impossible. We are wild things no more. We are tame, domesticated, civilized, far from the nature of wild things. Just as the druggist, if he doesn’t change clothes , carries the aura of the drug store around with him, so we feel that the squirrel is never far separated from his plane of consciousness. If we could get close to him physically, possibly we would find ourselves on his mental plane. But wild things are difficult to get near to. So we shoot them. And their consciousness ends with their life , the “thing” we hoped to capture in capturing them escapes us. Just what is it that we seek?
Have you ever heard the call of wild geese, passing far up, before daylight of a cool fall morning? It is a sound that is thrilling to many people. They feel, for a time, that they would like to be geese, flying with these others. (No cracks, please.) There is about these geese an air of mystery. They come from far off places and are on their way to points unknown to us. The thought of unknown places is always a lure to our imagination. For we feel in one of these unknown places might be found that which we seek.