I got an email from Steven, who had gone back through the Big Deer Blog archives and pictures and come to this conclusion:

You try to make hunting out to be some great and honorable thing, but there is nothing great or honorable about what you do. Hunting is a joke unless you need the meat to survive. (Note: I paraphrase and clean up some of his language.)

My first inclination was to tell old Steve to shove it, but I thought better of it and typed this response:

I do not hunt to be great or honorable, just the opposite. For me hunting is a simple, spiritual and deeply personal pleasure. It is a part of how I was formed as a boy, and a bigger part of me now. You won’t understand that. Here is something you might approve of. After all these years, the seeing and stalking of a beautiful deer is more important to me than the killing of it. But don’t get me wrong, I still love to shoot them and eat them. I have gotten to the point in life where the sights, sounds and smells of the woods make me happy and whole, whether I shoot a deer or not that day. I guess some might say that is great and honorable, though again you won’t understand.