“Snowflakes,” Hell. The Millennials are hunting and conservation’s best hope.
As Generation X ages, we’re learning that one of the great pleasures of middle age is mocking the next generation for being a bunch of oversensitive crybabies…present company definitely included…but the fact of the matter is that the Millennial generation is the best hope for the great American tradition of hunting and the future of our wild spaces. It’s not just because they’re going to be here when we’re gone, either. Millennials as a generation may have their work cut out for them, but their hearts are already in the right place…now let’s get their heads and hands there, too. Here’s why the Snowflake Generation can (and should) become a Conservation Avalanche.
Hunting is the original farm-to-table way to eat.
“Farm-to-table” and “locally sourced” are two of the biggest buzzphrases to come out of the generation born in the 1980s and early 90s. Although sometimes those phrases make my eyes roll so hard I am able to witness my own conception (gross, Dad), here’s the thing: The annoying hipsters have a very good point. It’s called the “locavore” movement, and what it seeks to do is to reduce the amount of non-renewable energy (gasoline) that America needs to move food from one part of the country to the other. If what you’re doing is taking a single deer from your back yard and spending all winter eating it, then what you’re doing is honoring the heart and soul of the locavore movement.
Hunting connects us to the land as little else can.
A lot of what drives the Millennial obsession with the “locavore” movement is a desire to return to authenticity. What they’re looking for is a living experience that isn’t an injection-molded copy of the same strip-mall you can find in every suburb…and that’s a wonderful thing. What non-hunters may not know is that nobody loves and cares for their little patch of Earth like hunters do. Hunters walk their leases and fields in and out of season, scaring off poachers and doing little things to take care of it and the animals that live on it.
So many Millennials were born into a world of little boxes on the hillside, all made out of ticky-tacky and all looking just the same. No wonder they hunger and thirst for a real connection to the Earth…and hunting is what will make that happen. Hunting is what connects us to our heritage and our place in the food chain, and it solidifies our responsibility to the land that sustains us.
Hunting can sustain you during tough times.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has, hopefully, pulled the wool off America’s eyes about just how little it really takes to disrupt our food supply chains. There’s nothing like walking into a grocery store and seeing the butcher counter picked 100% bare of every single speck of fresh protein to make a hipster wonder if those “crazy preppers” don’t have some excellent points of our own. Going home and smugly inspecting the contents of your freezer–shall I start with venison backstraps, or do I want pheasant tonight?–is another of the great joys of the middle-aged hunter…but I’m sure a younger, fitter, more sharp-eyed Millennial could really turn my smugness into envy if he or she wanted to. Fact is, it doesn’t take a global pandemic to make you wish you had a freezer full of healthy, antibiotic-free meat. Anyone would want that (even if they also want to put a barbell through their septum like some kind of prize bull but whatever).
Millennials can and should get interested in meat hunting…let’s do everything we can to help them.
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