Take golf. To date, acreage the size of Vermont and New Hampshire have been sanitized by golf courses. Overfertilizing pollutes waterways and kill fish. Manicuring landscapes amounts to carpet-bombing wildlife habitat. Forced from their homes, critters end up as road kill.

Compare this to what's happening right now where I live in Michigan. Hunters here are in the process of killing (to eat) their annual 350,000 deer, in a herd that grows larger every year. An additional 65,000 deer, however, are senselessly murdered annually by cars and trucks, deaths that benefit nobody. Few of these accidents occur in areas of stable wilderness. Most take place where human incursion has disrupted natural patterns of feeding, migration and procreation.

Unlike the meaningless deaths agreed to by all of us, including many who oppose hunting, the moment a bird folds in the air, or a trout "takes" on the surface of a stream is a unique connection to the process of nature. Hunters study the ways of the creatures, learn their intricacies, appreciate their beauties, wonder with the same awe inspired by a nighttime sky. Is that a form of worship and the moment of kill an epiphany? In hunting, answers are not as important as mysteries. They are where spirituality always begins, sometimes with a gun in hand.

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