What Hunting Has Given Me
Now, sure, some folks might think that all hunting gives us is big antlers, tanned hides, and the opportunity to kill, but we all know that is hogwash. We all know that this lifestyle is so much more than blood and bone. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. If it weren’t, a grown man wouldn’t shed a tear at the sight of a downed animal. We wouldn’t put so much effort into getting in shape, studying maps, and making sure our equipment is as dialed in as it can be if hunting didn’t mean what it does to a lot of us. So, what has hunting given me personally?
The first word that comes to mind when I ask this to myself is, “tradition.” When I was younger, it was tradition for my dad and I to go on our annual rifle deer hunt. I looked forward to that every year and still do. From that, came the bond my dad and I shared through hunting and the outdoors in general. That’s really always been our thing, and that’s that. As we trickle down further through time, we come to my brother. If there is one thing that has brought my little brother and I closer, it is our love of hunting and bowhunting in particular. I’m not saying we wouldn’t be close without those things, but I question how our relationship would be if they were absent of it. It seems like every time we see one another, the upcoming seasons are brought up, and with it, everything that revolves around them. I look forward to those little chit chats and seem to engage in them every chance I get. Jake went from being my annoying little brother to my most loyal and driven hunting partner.
with great sacrifice, comes great reward
Aside from family, hunting has shined light on the quote “with great sacrifice, comes great reward.” I knew what that meant, but had never been slammed in the face with it until I started hunting. The more effort I put into a hunt, the more rewarding it is in the end. That doesn’t mean that as long as I put in hard work, I’m gonna fill my tag. For me, it means that I will come out of that experience with way more than I went in with. Not all rewards on a hunt have a trail of blood that is linked to them.
Lastly, I cannot ask myself this question without talking about the meat. The organic protein that we acquire in the field is what made me make the decision to really dive head first into hunting and look at it as more than the annual deer hunts I was going on. I had the goal of providing myself and future children, should they decide to eat meat, with the most free range, organic protein on the planet. For me, with age has come more concern for my overall health. Every year that goes by, I care more and more about what I put into my body and physical fitness. I am by no means a professional athlete, but am someone who has started to train regularly and cares more and more about nutrition. If you have never experienced what it’s like to sit down and eat something that you put so much effort into harvesting, you are indeed missing out. It really brings everything full circle and makes you appreciate that animal and those experiences even more.
Now, that I’ve gone through all of that, I want to change the first word that comes to my mind, when asked this question, from “tradition” to “GRATEFUL.” I am truly grateful for all of these things that hunting has given me to this point. From life lessons to a healthier lifestyle, I look forward to what the future holds. Remember though, that there is no future of hunting without us. Use the things that hunting has given you as a driving force to keep it alive and well. Speak out when needed, and educate others when you can. Now, it’s your turn. What has hunting given you?