Hunter's Mark And its daily Parallels

Having learned to love hunting at a young age, Gray and his father avidly escape to the outdoors. A trend at the time, Gray asked his father for an airsoft gun. Steve responded with a wise quip: “I don't want the first thing for you to shoot at be another person”. Beginning when he was only 10, His father introduced him to bird hunting. A good omen, the first thing Gray ever bagged was an elegant dove. He claims that this bonding time between him, his father, and nature has significantly influenced the way he perceives daily trivialities. Stepping softly while sifting through the brush awakened his senses to things more subtle than himself. Although having never caught a turkey, each season the Marler men test their skills on the fearful feathered game. Every season has been fruitless, yet Gray explains he always enjoys the hunt. “Feeling the tension between predator and prey”, he ponders, “will spread that relationship to other aspects of your life”. Outmaneuvering other animals is an everyday need. Regarding his hunter’s intuition highly, Gray claims he has learned to predict his prey’s path. He explains the pragmatic effect of this, telling “Knowledge is power, and your opponent's next move can be easily thwarted when you expect it”. Turkeys, though, have proven to be unpredictable. The somewhat literal cat-and-mouse game has most prevalently taught him to have patience. “The predator must appreciate and account for the behaviors of both game and environment”, he tells, “With only careful vigilance can these tendencies be observed, much less countered”. Sorting through his senses while in the flow of the hunt is a tedious task, but Gray explains that it feels natural and timeless. “And only then does the game almost willingly give itself over, like a bested opponent rather than a lesser being”.

Gray's dog Winnie standing behind a shotgun. All photos were taken by Gray Marler

Gray will adamantly try to convince you of his opinions regarding the public’s view of hunting. Mounting his soap box, he wagers “People typically criticize hunting on grounds of humanity, but if they saw the factory style of farming they would be sick.” He then goes to remind that hunting had been the way people lived until just 100 years ago, “before there were grocery stores” , and that mass production is a recent trend. Hunting brings a person closer to the wild, even if only by simply being in it. And, the symbiotic relationship between animals is most noticeable when participating in it. Gray advocates for anyone to try hunting in order to better help themselves understand their context.

Winnie Stands at Attention

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