For many years, I hunted for the excitement, the adrenaline rush, and probably because my genetics told me I was a hunter-gatherer. But over the last few years, I have had to admit that although I still get excited, that is not the main reason. I think why I continue to hunt is that it grounds me and gives me an escape from this fast paced, troubled, crazy world. It gives me something that I control, no one else. I frequently lose sleep over some conflict or problem at work, some stress in life (finances, family or the "C" word!). But when I hunt, I can leave all those issues behind. I sleep well on hunts! It is just me against my quarry. It doesn't matter or bother me that you might hunt in a different way: my hunt, my rules. Only I decide if I am successful, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says, even on here! And same applies to you, you set your own bar.
That one on one connection to the natural world (and who made it) restores my soul, and renews me to come back and deal with life. And over time, it's less about whether or not I bring home an animal. Some of my best hunts have been when I didn't get an animal. Again, I am in control of setting that bar. And it is different from everyone. That is the beauty of it. And what I think doesn't matter for your hunt.
I pull the trigger much less these days (except when I see a pig!) Haven't punched a tag in Texas in 3 years, but I buy a license every year and hunt probably 20+ days. And I do get lots of joy out of taking young people hunting. That still gets my adrenalin pumping.
I think someone else summed up most of what I feel:
"One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted...If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job."
Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting
Spanish philosopher & politician (1883 - 1955)
P.S. Elk hunting still gets my adrenaline going!
txhunter58 - your entire post describes my feelings as well. My first elk hunt in '02 changed everything for me. In this world of everything being easily accessible, elk hunting humbled me and fed my soul in ways I'd never experienced. It also changed, . for the better, the way I approach all my hunting adventures.
Most of us are old and somewhat satisfied so this is an easy concept that we would like to think that we transcend to!
I am sure that Nick Muche, Hunt Man, and Ermine enjoys the hunt and challenge as much as anyone.
Frankly, I hunt with a lot of young guys and as I like to say “suck the life out of them” but it keeps me focused and makes getting up for that long climb a little easier!
In ways it felt like I skipped the climbing part of reaching the summit and honestly missed it.
But if not for hunting..... I wouldn't be going to church very often. If outdoors is a church, hunting is my Disneyland. My Las Vegas, my..... well, you get the idea. Along with my supermarket, restaurant and gym. I'm.... older. But have lost none of the drive, maybe even kicked up a bit. It's the sole reason I try to eat well, stay fit. While I'm seeing so many of my long time friends get fat, lazy, sliding down into that gulch on their backside. And you know seeing it they will never come back out of that hole. Buried many just the last few years. Very few things I would give up hunting and fishing for. I think there was only two or three weeks I didn't in the last year. (one week was to bury a brother) And IMO, for me.... anyone who would demand me not to.... would not be worth giving it up for.
Like Clint said, "we all got it coming to us kid" but I plan on going out screaming, kicking and fighting, maybe on a mountain packing out someones animal. Not rolling over in bed with a whimper because I had no passion for life or adventure left. In a perfect world, maybe a long walk on a short mountain......
It’s funny, many of us have never met but the relationships developed over the years certainly has its value.
Why the hunt matters.. well the non hunting public will never know and never understand.
As you age, and realize time is priceless, time afield gives one time to reflect and be thankful you get to do this.
This year for me, I went about it a whole new way. While I did my normal preparations, and focused on a target whitetail all summer long, then when the season rolled around, I let the hunt happen. I was fortunate to have the entire month of October and the first two weeks of November to work remotely.
When the weather was good, I went, when it sucked, I didn’t. I seemed to enjoy more of what I almost lost. The desire. By letting things happen, they happened, each day afield.
I enjoyed just being, learning more, listening and riding the E Bike.
Fortunately the time was right to use the decoy and killed a very nice buck over him. Not my target, but a really nice buck. I appreciate this animal as if it was my target.
Shared the recovery with friends and a cold one. Laughs by all.
The hunt does matter in more ways than we know.
I just read a story on a site called “ FIELD ETHOS” THE GLOBAL HUNT FOR ADVENTURE”
The writer hunted bear and early in the season Found what he thought would make a nice bear den. After hunting all season without killing a bear. he remembers the den, goes back and there is a bear in the hole.
The bear wakes and he kind of brags about making sure there were no Cubs and shoots the bear in the head. He doesn’t mention which state or Provence.
I guess technically he didn’t shoot the bear in the den. it came out after he woke it. Is this legal in any state?
He shot it on Christmas Eve if that helps narrow down which states are still hunting bears till Christmas Day
Legal or not, in my opinion it’s not fair chase.