“It’s not about the blood”
I have many fond memories of sitting around a campfire and sharing hunting stories with friends and family. Sharing these stories is one of the reasons I created the site you are on right now. Every time I would get back from a hunt, people that were close to me wanted to hear how everything panned out. It was as if I were a feature film and they were watching me, waiting to see what happened next. Funnily enough, I find myself doing the same thing when people are telling me about their hunts. Even if I already know they filled their tags, I am at the edge of my seat. The excitement or disappointment in their eyes hits me deep in my chest. I know these feelings well. This is the part of hunting I think that many fail to see. The part that only us hunters recognize and appreciate. It’s the road to success, or failure for that matter, we share with others the most. For therein lies the bulk of the journey.
We do not reminisce about blood thirst, but of the anticipation and preparation for the coming chapters in our hunting journals and what they will hold. I have never heard someone tell of a hunt that started with”I showed up” and ended with”I shot him.” We hear about everything in between. The bad weather, the abundance or absence of animals, the mental struggles throughout, and the laughs or crys that happened in between. These are the times that we grow as hunters and as humans. While the pulling of a trigger and the taking of an animal’s life holds its own set of difficulties, the process in getting there can be nothing short of a mental grind. This is the area where a lot of people throw in the towel. When we break through these mental barriers though, success tastes so much better and that is what we speak of. Getting something for free is cool, but when you work for it, it tends to mean a lot more. At least it does for me.
Recently, my brother was fortunate enough to take his first big game animal ever and he did it with a bow. Being with him on his quest for his first harvest is something that I will tell of for many years to come. I was with him during all of his frustrations, while watching him and helping him work through them. When he tells the story of his first archery kill, I know what he will speak of. It won’t be all about seeing that dead animal. He is going to tell how he missed a javelina the year before, the difficulty in locating his quarry, getting a bad hit on an animal the following year, and then finally succeeding. I didn’t fill my tag on this hunt, but I could care less. Watching my brother through this process was plenty enough. It’s not about the blood, but about the memories that are forged during our hunts, for they make our hunts.