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1.) Wester - 01/02/2015
Being out of the sport for 2 years, coming back to the hunting world was pretty exciting for me. I was excited to hunt harder where I've already hunted, and to find a few more peaks to climb. I was also excited to see where my life would take me, and to see what other hunting adventures I'd have placed before me in my future. It's exciting to think about, because we never know what will step out in front of us next!
Yesterday I found myself glassing and filming deer the whole day (besides a few hour break I took to shoot a few birds). Towards the end of the day, about an hour or so before sunset, I was parked off of a dirt road in a snow dirt at the base of a big nasty looking face that was fairly new to me. Spotting scope in hand, I found it a little comical that every sky-lined peak behind that face I had hunted many times before before. The range behind me I had also hunted before (although not as hard as I have wanted to). Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I've hunted every hill, or even crested every peak in my neck of the woods, nor have I even laid my eyes on every gully on even one range. I would say however, that I've spent a fair amount of time hunting and preparing for the hunts, and have therefore covered a decent amount of ground. I would also add that over the years of hunting (although I'm "young" as most of you would say) I have enjoyed it a lot, and it has always been something for me to look forward to, and is a subject that is thought about in my small brain ALMOST as much as girls.

I started making my way home about 30 mins after dark, but before I even made it half way home from yesterdays excursion, some friends had called me up and wanted to go get some pizza for dinner. I was starving, and they added that girls would be there, so I quickly made my way home just long enough to shower and and leave again.

Driving home in the left lane, passing a few people and tired from only getting 3.5 hours of sleep the night before and spending the day hiking around in the deep snow, I was thinking about my day. At this point, I was thinking more about girls and the pizza than how I had spent the majority of my day. But I somehow got sidetracked from that topic and was soon dreaming of my next year of hunting and how I would spend it. I was thinking of the tags that I would put in for, what states I want to hunt, and with what weapons I would be hunting with. I was even thinking about the hunting season after this next one. How and where would I spend that one? It dawned on me that there was no reason I was thinking these things except for the fact that it's the one hobby I have... The only hobby I have that consumes my mind atleast. I'm sure that is how it is with most of us. The first question I ask is: [B]how often do you think about hunting?[/B] Multiple times a day? Once a day? Only when it's hunting season? Talk to me. Am I obsessed?

Pulling into my dark driveway that I had left in the dark earlier that day I had mixed emotions. I was thinking more about girls again than anything else. It wasnt until after a few Snapchats to some friends, and watching, "Now You See Me" (It's a good movie, I'd reccomend it) that I finally pulled the SD cards from my cameras to watch some of the film I had captured earlier that day. That once again pulled my thoughts from the "real world" back to my hunting dreams. I watched film and looked at pics of the day until I finally went to bed around 1 in the morning. Awake for 22 hours, just to get some pics of some decent bucks (not even anything to big, just average bucks)

I had plans to go hunting this morning, but I chose to sleep in instead. I'll probably find my self somewhere tonight though. Whether it be in the marsh breaking the ice and sitting there with some duck decoys or trying to find a 200" muley again. But this morning I have been doing some thinking as to why I even hunt. Which leads me to question number 2: [B]Why do you hunt?[/B] Let me run you through some thoughts that I've been having.

[U]First, let me just say that I'm NOT thinking about quitting. I love it to much to quit! Also, I am not putting girls before hunting... But it might be good for me.[/U] ;)

Money-let's be honest with ourselves here. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, we will never hunt to save a few cents on meat. Even though the price of beef is pretty high right now, look at how much we spend on tags, gas, food and all of that fun gear we drool over every year. Being a broke college student, I might have to redo my hunting budget.

Being with friends and family-my Dad doesn't hunt much. If I'm lucky, I can convince him to come with me for one morning a year, if that. I think it's been 5 or 6 years since we've hunted deer together. I did spend the day yesterday with a friend though, and that was fun. But it wasn't what made it fun. I hunt solo a lot. A lot of my close friends are hunters. I guess the question to ask is, are there more wholesome activities that we can participate in with our families?

It's what I've grown up doing! Hunting has been my passion before I could even hold a BB gun. Obviously it isn't about pulling the trigger, but being outside for anything else just won't cut it for me. I begin scouting for the next season almost before the present season is over. I probably come across dull because I have dang near nothing to say to anyone who doesn't hunt. I can barely remember my own age, but I can recall the details of every hunt I've been on within the last 5 years. So am I just hunting because it's what I do? Would I enjoy something else more, like skiing, or kayaking?

The rush-that's a good reason to hunt. We all get it. It's a ton of fun to pull back on a deer you've been watching all summer, or to have a big buck in your scope, and the adrenaline rush that follows is awesome! Admittedly, I've even felt that rush when I've stumbled across a big deer or elk shed. However, I wouldn't say that shooting an animal makes a "successful" hunt, because I've had some really hunt hunts where I never even pulled back on an animal. But I also feel that rush when I play sports, drive fast or kiss a girl. There's easier and cheaper ways to get a rush.

Hunting is peaceful. Being in the woods or the marsh or wherever you hunt can really help take your mind off of a stressful week, and seeing what the outdoors has to offer is always relaxing. But once again, if I were to buy a snowmobile, I could get a rush, be with friends and family, and be in the pines to see some awesome nature.

To reiterate what I already said, i'm not going to quit hunting. I love every aspect of it way to much, and I don't have a problem with spending the money to have fun. I'm just curious what you guys think.
2.) Deerminator - 01/02/2015
I hunt because I love and grew up in the outdoors.We hunted to put food on the table and it was fun. Even when I would go down to the river backwaters to shoot carp.
If I came home with a northern mom was delighted ( she likes pike ) that fish was dinner. I felt like I was doing my part to help feed the family. aside from that aspect just enjoying the beauty of nature and being in the wild was exciting. When i was trapping many times the rabbits and critters were also added to the table. From cub scouts to explorer scouts we spent our play time outside.fresh clean air. Learning about life from watching the animals. I'd have to write a book to put it all in perspective.
3.) Swamp Fox - 01/03/2015
In Defense of Hunting. Swan, James A. Harper Collins---Much more than a list of talking points, “an exploration of the primal impulse to hunt and its endangered value in modern society.”
4.) Swamp Fox - 01/03/2015
A lot of what you experienced that prompted you to write was due to lack of sleep and hallucination, LOL. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Think of it as a vision quest.

That said, hunting can lead to clarity and insight, especiallly if you are “hunting hard” or there is some element or sense of adventure. I don’t think this is uncommon in outdoor activities, especially if they are somewhat strenuous. However, I think some of this has to do with “getting outside yourself” which hunting is a perfect method and probably a unique example for in the modern world.

I’m not sure hunting or why we hunt have mere rational explanations. I don’t believe you can really explain what’s going on in hunting to someone who doesn’t hunt, or even to someone who does hunt but doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe it (or at least come close). I think about hunting every day, and most days do something towards my hunting jones and goals. When I am not hunting, I want to go hunting, LOL, even when I am fishing, which is about the only thing that takes my mind off hunting.

I started out hunting solo and did everything that way for many years. Possibly because of that, the social aspect of hunting was never that important to me, except that I learned without trying that it was extremely difficult to find a good hunting partner even if you were looking for one. If you do find one (or more than one) who lasts more than a few years, consider yourself extremely lucky, and if you have two you should invest in the state lottery.

As I got older, I came to appreciate and enjoy being around other hunters, even if they weren’t on my level of dedication, even if they weren’t interested in the same angles of interest and method , and even if they weren’t “the right sort.” At this point, I consider some guys I met that way family---in the good way that you’re stuck with your relatives, but you can pick your own family members, LOL. That’s certainly not to say I’ve given up hunting solo or enjoy it less than I used to, but nowadays I enjoy taking someone else out from time to time, or teaming up on a project/hunting goal, and I really strive to get the most out of the whole hunting camp experience (except that sometimes the wrong people are standing upwind).

As you get older, you’ll have more to talk about with non-hunters, but don’t be surprised if you never shake the feeling that they just don’t get it, or even that they don’t get you. Really, if they don’t hunt, they’re not worthy. ;) I do think avid hunters are a special breed.

Along that line but to put a twist on it, Greg Miller-- the construction worker turned deer writer turned TV hunting personality--says in one of his books that to hunt top-rung whitetails there won’t be room for other hobbies, and to a certain extent I think he’s right. Some diehard elk hunter I was reading recently outlined how he’d gung-ho’d himself out of a couple of marriages and more than a few buddies. I think it’s possible to be a well-rounded person and a good hunter, and possible to be a well-rounded outdoorsman and a good hunter. Whether being well-rounded is compatible with being top-tier in any single field is a good question. No one is really one-dimensional, but I’ve been around some people who are up in the stratosphere in their particular universes and I have to say my eyes roll up in the back of my head out of boredom pretty often. Sometimes I even cringe for various reasons. There’s something a little off with some of these rocketmen, LOL.

As far as the Rush and a Peaceful Easy Feeling goes (queue up the music videos) you already know there is nothing like hunting. It’s primal, likely hard-wired and probably impossible to duplicate with some other activity. If you are interested in exploring this more, let me recommend some reading (in addition to talking with any crusty critters who’ve been doing it a while that you come across). Here are a few things off the top of my head that are extraordinary reads. So good, that I find myself going back and re-reading them every few years:

[I]Seasons of the Hunter.[/I] Elman, Robert & David Seybold, editors. Fawcett Columbine. ---An anthology of essays, fiction and reporting.

[I]A Hunter’s Heart: Honest essays on Bloodsport[/I]. Peterson, David editor. Holt, Henry & Co.—Essays and memoirs.

[I]The Sacred Art of Hunting: Myths, Legends, and the Modern Mythos.[/I] Swan, James A.. Willow Creek Press.--"In The Sacred Art of Hunting, Swan gathers a rich heritage of myth, legend, custom, and philosophy from around the world to reveal a penetrating glimpse into the hunter's soul." --[I]Sports Afield[/I]

[I]In Defense of Hunting.[/I] Swan, James A. Harper Collins---Much more than a list of talking points, “an exploration of the primal impulse to hunt and its endangered value in modern society.”