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BLOG: A huntress is born

Published 13.04.2009

If you go about asking hunters why they hunt, you will get as many different answers as there are hunters to ask. Some refer to the tradition, others hunt for the thrill, recreation, sports, socializing and subsistence to name but a few. For me it all started with this project.

Even though enjoying various forms of outdoor life is a central part of Norwegians national character (and it really has to be in order to thrive in this remote part of the world, surrounded by mountains and forest) I never had the chance to go hunting. There has never been a tradition for hunting in my family, and coming from a coastal environment most of my time outdoors has been spent fishing and scuba diving. However, I figured that if I’m going to be part of this research project, I need to know what I’m talking about.
Basically, it’s not difficult to obtain a hunters license in Norway. But it takes some energy, and time spent. So you filter out all those who are not dedicated. First you must complete a 30 hour course that includes firearm theory, firearm training, wildlife theory and environment protection training. Then, you have to pass a written exam, pay the permits and the hunting license fee, and you’re all set. So by the end of February I found myself in a group of 50 more or less like-minded wannabe hunters, eager to get started. Over the next eight weeks my schedule was set; from then on it was all about hunting.
-Why do you want to hunt? And what about you, why do you want to become a hunter?
The instructor seemed to be the stereotypical hunter, in person. Fierce looking, ruggedly handsome, and apparently seriously dedicated to hunting.
– To be outside, one replied.
-Can’t you be outside without hunting?
-Well yes, the answer came faintly.
-To spend more time with the dog, another said, same reply from the instructor.
-Whatever reasons, you can do those things without a gun!
It seemed none of the novices in the room could come up with one good reason of which this man approved.
-No matter how you go about looking at it, hunting involves the killing of animals. All the other stuff that comes along is however an important part of the picture.
So the answer was really to kill animals. His point was, when you hunt you are carrying a gun, and it’s lethal. This man had obviously seen it all before, from the action seeking hormonal teen, to the urban girl with a romanticized view on hunting. Here the focus was strictly on safety and sustainable hunting. So we got that settled. However, over the weeks as I learned more, I also started to appreciate this man’s sense of humor, getting right into the hunting jargon.
Finally, the big day came, and I changed from stilettos to hiking boots and went off for the shooting range. I had never fired a gun in my life, and was both excited and anxious.
What a kick, literally speaking. A loud rumble, the smell of gun smoke and I could see bits and pieces of the clay pigeon flying in all directions. I’m a natural!
From that point on I realized there was no return.
Nowadays hunting scenarios fill my dreams at night, and on my evening walks I’m taking fictive aims at passing birds. I’m definitely getting into the hunters mood. Waiting impatiently for the letter telling me that I passed the exam, and then we’ll get to see where this leads me in September, when the hunting season starts.
Camilla Næss, April 13, 2009
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