“Life of a Bowhunter”
As an avid bowhunter, the anticipation of Fall is enough to drive someone mad. It seems like last Fall came and went faster than ever. Unlike the time of year coming and going, the experiences I had are still fresh as rain. So fresh, that I find myself thinking about them daily. It feels like just last week I was on my first elk hunt in the backcountry of Colorado. That was something special I got to share with my brother and will be talking about with him well into old age. We experienced a lot of firsts on that trip. Some of them being our first out of state hunt, longest backpack hunt, and first bull elk we’ve ever called in. This hunt left a mark and instilled an addiction in both of us for backcountry elk hunting and just elk hunting in general really.
Before my elk hunt, we went through the longest and most difficult bear season(spring) to date for us, with my tag still intact, as well as my determination for next year. Most of you know of my love for bear hunting and this hunt tested that love on every level. While it was difficult, I think that is the exact reason I am drawn to it. It was a different season and a different hunting area for me. The bears had everything in their favor, as they should. While I didn’t come out of the hunt with a filled tag, I did come out with a ton of memories and a plethora of knowledge I didn’t possess beforehand. I’ve already started my homework for next year, and can’t wait to see what the season brings.
After a successful rifle bear hunt in October, I was able to arrow my first deer ever in December. Not the biggest buck on the mountain, but he sure means a great deal to me. That’s something I’ve been working towards for awhile and finally found success. To top that, I was by myself. The 2 mile pack out back to my truck ended with a feeling I chase constantly. The root of why I do what I do. That feeling of driving away after a successful hunt, with not only a great sense of accomplishment, but a cooler full of venison and some incredible memories.
From there we come to the month of January, which was filled with more ups and downs than a seesaw. A great deal of areas we couldn’t even access, due to flooding from the crazy amount of rain we got. Even so, we made the best of it and came out with my little brother’s first archery kill on a javelina. I got to watch the whole thing from above him. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he came running up to me and gave me a hug. That’s a hug that we’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. He worked his tail off and finally was rewarded for his efforts. I truly believe that I witnessed the birth of a bowhunter that day.
The “Off Season”
Once February comes I feel both relief as well as a sort of sadness. I feel relief, because at this point, I am usually plum tuckered from the whirlwind of hunting that just passed by.and I can “relax” at home. It almost feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I say “almost” because it’s a welcomed weight that never really leaves entirely. More on that later. House chores have been shoved to the side for the last 6 months or so. My wife knows this well and I am grateful everyday for how much she puts up with my addiction. She always keeps me on course and encourages me to crush my goals, not just as a bowhunter, but a person. The sadness I mentioned earlier is a selfish feeling really. I feel this, because my favorite time of year is now over. I know…….poor Josh right?
As I write this, we are nestled into the hot and muggy month of July. In under 1 month I will again be taking to the hills with my bow in hand and hopes held high. I have shot my bow all year long and been in the gym on a very regular basis, with the goal of simply being better than my previous self. More hours have been spent looking at maps and google earth than I’d care to mention. The same has probably been spent daydreaming. I’ve been a daydreamer ever since I was a kid. To this day, my wife can be sitting there talking to me, and I will have to ask her to repeat herself, because I was somewhere else. Funny enough, this also happens when I read. I can read a whole page and not retain a bit. Forever dreaming…
Life of a Bowhunter
Living the “Life of a Bowhunter” has been incredibly rewarding. It’s given me something to strive for outside of home life. It’s given me even more reason to stay in shape all year long. From it, I’ve met some stellar folks who share my same passion. Being able to share both your frustrations as well as your success stories to like minded individuals is huge. We help one another pass the time during the “off season.” On that note, I don’t really see this as an “off season,” but more of a “training season.” It’s a cycle really. We spend this time studying and getting better at our craft. Recalling events from the previous season helps us understand where our weaknesses are. Writing has actually been a great outlet for me to “get my fix,” if you would, and I’ve enjoyed our discussions over various topics. Thank you for that.
Next month, the cycle continues and I am ready. Are you?