I was recently interviewed by Wide Open Spaces Magazine for my children's books.
Check it out:
Wide Open Spaces Interview with Author, Shasta Sitton
Last year, my husband and I vacationed in Peru and hiked the Inca Trail with a small group of strangers from around the globe. We were the only Americans, so naturally they were curious about us and wanted to know if we lived up to every American stereotype they had. Yes, we drive a truck. Yes, we love our guns. No, we aren’t Obama fans. No, we aren’t obnoxious know-it-all’s who know nothing about the rest of the world. Their words, not mine.
However, I think the biggest misunderstanding came when we told them what we do for a living. We help to manage a hunting and fishing resort. Many of them were fascinated by this and asked a lot of questions, which I took as a good sign. However, on the third day of our hike we stumbled upon a deer. It was only about 12 yards from me. I was awestruck. It was smaller than the whitetail deer we have in America, and because of all the hikers it sees on a daily basis it was not scared of people. I immediately pulled out my trusty camera to take a few dozen pictures.
Then a few months ago, I had three of my best friends fly across the country to visit me. They are all non-hunters, but have always respected my views on hunting. They came with curious minds hoping to learn more about this culture. My husband and I took them for a drive through the woods. When a deer ran near our truck one of my friends asked an eerily similar question, “Does that make you hungry?” She was not being mean or disrespectful, she was genuinely curious about what I saw when that deer ran by.
I won’t deny that there are people out there who kill animals because they think it’s fun, but that is not the average hunter. The vast majority of hunters I know have an incredible respect for the animals we hunt. We do not see them as walking bags of meat. We see beautiful creatures who exist in an even more beautiful world. Watching a young fawn play or two button bucks butt heads is often just as enjoyable as the actual hunt itself. It is the interaction with the natural world that hunters cherish. The challenge of providing food for their family with their own skills and wits. Not the killing. I repeat; it is not the killing. The connection that a hunter makes with the animal they harvest is spiritual. I have seen grown men tear up after shooting an animal. I have seen them close their eyes and thank the animal for giving its life to feed their family. I have seen them thank God.
Perhaps this will fall on deaf ears, or perhaps someone out there will be open minded enough to accept that even if he or she doesn’t understand hunting, they won’t demonize those who choose to do it. My friends heard this message, and I hope others will as well.