Whenever I talk about hunting, I get critics who think I’m a mean red-neck killer. Before the critics cast their stones, let it be know that I hunt because:
- Hunting provides organic, grass-fed, hormone free meat for my family of 8 children.
- It feels exhilarating to serve food to your family that you trained for, hunted, butchered, prepared, and cooked.
- I like having a tangible connection with the food that I prepare and eat.
- Hunting is the #1 way to promote funding for wildlife conservation.
- I love the outdoors.
- It’s a craft or an art that requires practice and dedication.
- All of our ancestors did it.
We were recently discussing the Troops of Saint George achievement in “Hunting” and I suggested that we focus on Saint Hubert, the patron saint of hunting:
Saint Hubertus was born around the year AD 656. Saint Hubert’s wife (the daughter of a count) died giving birth to their son who would eventually become a bishop. Heartbroken by the death of his wife, Saint Hubert retreated from the court and gave himself up entirely to hunting.
On Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert went hunting. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag, the animal turned and he beheld a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying:
“Hubert, unless thou turn to the Lord, and lead an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into Hell”.
Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself and said, “Lord, what would Thou have me do?” He received the answer, “Go and seek Lambert [bishop of Maastricht-Liège, Tongeren], and he will instruct you.”
He was condemned by God not for hunting but for withdrawing from the world and shirking his duties as a member of court and as a Christian (he was out hunting on Good Friday!).
Saint Hubertus is honored among hunters as the father of ethical hunting behavior. It is said that Saint Hubertus established the hunting principle of conserving wildlife, not killing a mother with its young, and preferring older bucks and bulls past their breeding prime. He also advocated only shooting an animal when a humane, clean and quick kill is assured.
After leaving the wilderness as a hunter, he became a priest and eventually the successor bishop to his master Saint Lambert of Maastricht. He was famous for his asceticism and preaching.
He is thus the patron saint of hunters, and bowhunters in particular.
For those interested, here’s a podcast I did about one of my hunts for Indian Nilgai.
Question: Share your thoughts about ethical hunting and/or Saint Hubert. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died while on a hunt for the members of the International Order of St. Hubertus.
- The Jägermeister logo is taken from the vision of Saint Hubertus. Jägermeister means “master hunter.”