Sunday, February 18, 2007

Essay One by Brandon McGuire

Brandon McGuire

NWTF scholarship essay

Hunting has been a valuable resource for my family for many generations. My family has always been one of hunters, and we maintain that tradition. My maternal great grandfather was a sharecropper with eleven children who had to supplement their food with hunting. One of his sons, my Uncle Jimmy, was the one to teach me about hunting when I was eleven. Not only was it his influence that sparked my interest in hunting but also it was those moments in the woods together that allowed our relationship grow.
My mother shows excitement when I leave to go hunting because she knows that I am trying my best to help provide for the two of us. Even though she herself was not directly exposed to hunting she saw the value that hunting could provide and made every effort in her busy schedule to see that I was given a chance to learn.
Traditional hunting reflects a form of conservation that all Americans should practice. The cost is minimal as compared with the amazing benefits. I am able to process the animal any way I wish. Steaks are a luxury in a single family home. So I truly enjoy being able to come home with them directly from a deer I was able to process myself. Hunting has become a form of financial relief in that our freezer can become quickly filled with meat just from one deer. The meet is healthier for us to eat also.
In the stillness of a cool morning, I am given the chance to calm my spirit and reflect on God’s goodness in my life. The woods are prone to a relaxing environment. Hunting is an activity that promotes maturity and helps me better develop into a man with a broader perspective on life.
I have been fortunate to have been able to take one deer in the last three years, except for this past winter, while attending the Occoquan Bay Youth Hunts sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. My Uncle, Steve Owens, has accompanied me on each of the hunts and has shown me how to properly skin and process the meat. Because of his job with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as a Biologist, he has consistently forwarded information on other hunts including squirrel and turkeys. My mother saw to it that I was able to attend the workshops. We even participated in a special hunt one cool March in Charlottesville, where she drove us there after receiving permission to set up camp so we would be there when the hunters arrived early in the morning. My assigned area showed active signs for turkey but we were unable to shoot any since we were not able to have one come into view.
Hunting has helped me grow into a young man those around me can be proud of. I have developed life long skills and knowledge of animals, nature and conservation. I have made strong relationships through hunting with my extended family and made new friends for life.