Shifting perspectives. Hunting.

“It’s so crazy that you’ve done this. 5 years ago you still ate a vegan diet,” my friend texted me after I told her that I passed my hunter’s exam.

Yes. A part of me just wants to be challenged again and again. Another part is really terrified by that. So, it was probably the first one that made me sign up for a hunting course in a small village in southern Germany.

Wildlife ecology, basics in forestry, farming, and nature conservancy and their interdependence. Habitat restoration and care. Building resilience. Laws and obligations. Wild animal observations, diseases and inner life (aka organs and intestines in their healthy and distorted state).

The role hunters could play as connectors and facilitators on a habitat and ecoregion scale fascinated me.

Regularly, I wonder how big or small the bubble is that I navigate in when it comes to regeneration. How much I am aware of my own bubble. And how often I actively take a step out of it. Really step out of it. To sit, observe and listen.

Boundary walker.

For 5 weeks I was totally embedded in this other bubble, this ‘hunters in Germany’ bubble. 10 hours per day learning. 10 hours listening and asking questions. In-between skills, traditions and privileges of hunting, at some point I felt something else. Some thoughts and feelings coming together in a sort of peacefulness. 

Something healing inside.

It’s not even 5 years ago that I lived a vegetarian and then vegan diet back in Berlin because I didn’t know what else to do. Climate crisis. Social crises. And being in Berlin, to be vegetarian or vegan felt like an active participation. “I can do something.” Or so they told me.

But the more you dive into the rabbit whole, the more you realize… well, the more you know… that oat milk will not save the world. Or avoid harm and death of animals unless we start ranking animals into the ones for which we care and the ones for which do not so much.

The more I dived into it, the more frustrated and helpless I felt.

Switching to work within regenerative agriculture, with farmers, farm teams, started my healing process. The first time I’ve known the animal, the pasture, the people. The first time I’ve held a heart in my hand with absolute gratitude. Literally.

Regeneration is relationship.

So many of us feel that something is wrong. And we numb this feeling or become extreme, trying our best in a world that feels too big too change.

Acknowledging the pain and the gratefulness are first steps. Were steps for me. To then step into what Joanna Macy calls ‘Active Hope’.

So, what has this to do with the hunting class?

It got me closer to our natural cycle of life and death. It got me closer to understanding. Not on how to take a life, but to know what it means within everything that is. Within the whole.

It brought me a sort of peacefulness and energy for all the work that still lies ahead.


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