I was outside on a cool evening with my bow and arrow, shooting at the hay bale I have kept and practiced on for three years. It was getting darker but it was still easy to see where I was shooting and where my arrows landed. Unfortunately, I have recently developed this nasty habit of breaking the nocks (the thing at the end of an arrow keeping it hooked into the bowstring) on many arrows, by hitting them with other arrows by accident. At least I now have a box of replacement nocks that I can put on and fix before shooting again.
But only having six functional arrows left in the quiver on my back wasn't the worst issue that day, though. When I went to retrieve my shot arrows, I saw a brown rabbit hopping slowly through the two acres of back yard. It came closer and closer, and by the time I had one of my missed arrows nocked into the bowstring, it was within easy shooting distance.
A strange feeling flowed through me, a dark and sudden urge to draw back the string to my jaw and release the black-shafted arrow in the rabbit's direction. 'I could hit it easy.' I thought, with my three gloved fingers hooked around the arrow. The animal was barely moving, and I was less than ten meters away. Why shouldn't I give it a try...?
A horrible vision came to me. A vision of.... my arrow flying through the air, penetrating the rabbit's flesh and out the other side. I recover the arrow, pulling it out of the dead rabbit, its shaft stained with blood and stomach waste. My dad after tending to his vegetable garden sees this scene with a look of sadness and disappointment. "Why?" he says. "Why would you shoot it?" I cannot think of a reason other than sheer ruthless pleasure of shooting game. My reply... "I don't know."
Why would I want to shoot down an innocent and beautiful animal? It had never done me any harm, nor anyone else. It was just sitting there curiously wandering the yard by itself.
With that 25-30lb recurve bow loaded, I held the rabbit's life in my hands (much like David to King Saul). I could have bent it and shot an aimed arrow, but I didn't. The thing that troubles me most is why. Why did I have that urge? I had never gone hunting before, nor do I ever plan to since killing for sport is just wrong and I love wildlife.
It wasn't specifically killing the rabbit that I was urged to do, but plainly shooting it for fun, for a more interesting target practice. But looking at the thought that ran through my head, what the hell is the difference?! I was tempted by a dark side of my soul, the very thing that I promised myself I wouldn't give in to. Only a strong enough will and fear of corruption made me walk away, back to the tree where I was to stand and aim at the hay bale.