ICU Nurse Turns to Hunting For Stress Release in 2020, Harvests First Whitetail Deer

by Josh Lanier

Amanda Peters was never a hunter growing up. When her father would go out she would stay home. But after joining her dad on a hunt earlier this year she’s hooked. The cardiac intensive care unit nurse at Bryan Medical Center East in Lincoln, Nebraska says she’s found her “happy place.”

Peters joined her dad, Marv, on a hunt earlier this year as part of the Take ‘Em Hunting challenge, KRVN reported. It’s a Nebraska Game and Parks initiative that asks experienced hunters to invite a beginner with them on a hunt.

Amanda Peters said the past year has been especially trying because of the pandemic. She said she’s felt stressed, overworked, and emotionally exhausted. But when she’s out on a hunt early in the morning with her dad things feel right.

“The best part about it is sitting in the deer blind when the sun comes up,” she told Ben Jones of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “It’s like watching the world wake up.”

They’ve been sitting in the deer blind for hours frequently recently and that hard work has paid off. Amanda Peters said she brought down her first whitetail deer on a recent hunt. A neighbor had called complaining of an overabundance of the animal on his property so that’s where they set their sites and their stand.

And she’s not the only one. A lot of people are turning to hunting to deal with the stresses of life recently.

Hunting Sees Spike in Popularity, Many First-Time Hunters

Sales of hunting licenses were up 12 percent nationwide, meaning 1 million new hunters joined in the sport this year. That’s according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trade group. Gun sales were also up this year.

The increase has actually been taxing on processors and taxidermists across the country. Some processors closed their doors multiple times during this season just to catch up with the backlog, KLTV in Texas reported.

The reasons for the spike are varied, but one of the driving factors seems to be the pandemic. People have extra time on their hands, they’re looking for things to do while social distancing and some want to find a new hobby or reconnect with an old one. And some people are hoping to fill their freezers with meat in case of food shortages or financial hardships later.

It’s a major turnaround from recent years. Conservationists and wildlife officials have been hoping to stop a small backslide in the number of hunters in recent years. But they’ve picked up what they’ve lost and then some, Pew said.

“I’ve been working on this issue for 15 years,” said Matt Dunfee, the director of special programs at the Wildlife Management Institute. “All I needed was a pandemic.”