• huntography

    Such a timely post Mark. I am with you on this. I see it many times where success is only judged by what someone shoots rather than everything that has led up to the shot and recovery. And as you mention, I know why. It’s because they really did not do anything special that has led them to kill that animal. They either paid for the hunt, were put in a spot that they did no preparation for, were told when and where to hunt, told when to shoot and didn’t do any pre, in-the-field or post hunt preparation themselves. They just squeezed the trigger.

    They have a smaller set of pre-hunt memories and steps that have led them to their success.

    Now, some may say what’s wrong with that? Nothing really. But to me, I would not be “as fulfilled” in that type of scenario vs one where I had put in a good amount of effort, preparation and scouting myself. Conditions may not always allow us to enjoy everything that leads to our success. But that’s life.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some situations that fall in between the two examples and each person has their own definition of what makes them happy. To that I say just do what makes you happy as my standards may not match yours. And that’s ok.

    But if I had to choose, I want the entire journey to fulfill me, not just the end result. This is why I love all the planning, preparation and anticipation that leads up to a hunt. It’s part of my fulfillment. And, it’s where my fondest memories come from.


    • SoleAdventure

      Great insights, Rudy. I agree with you – it’s about the process and the experience, not about the result.

  • Aznealz

    As I pack, and repack, for opening bow deer season this Friday, I’m thinking, and over thinking, many things. The fact that during scouting and inspecting trail cam images, I’m not seeing as many, or big deer is concerning. But then I step back, breath a little, and remember I’m going hunting. That is the reward already.

    Perspective and a big picture make all the difference. I wish I’d remember this more, but I’ll take it when I can. Thanks.

    • SoleAdventure

      Amen, Neal! “Going” IS the reward. Good luck this weekend – let me know how it goes.

  • Perfect timing and well-stated, Mark! I’ve spent years beating this drum myself after seeing some guys succumb to the stress of “success”. For what, I say!? When the self-imposed pressure to fill tags on huge animals steals the raw passion and joy of the hunt itself, it’s time to re-evaluate one’s motivations. Over the years, we’ve all seen this behavior violate the line of ethics, fair chase, and the law. How sad. It’s hunting; enjoy the hunt, enjoy the adventure, enjoy your friends and family, and give thanks for filled tags and the load of high-quality meat you’re taking home to your family.

    On Saturday I was presenting my “After the Shot – From Field to Freezer” seminar at Cabela’s in Lacey, WA. I Iove this topic and after several years it still draws the largest crowds. In my introduction I shared my passion for bowhunting and the wonderful source of high quality, lean protein provided by wild game. I feel that many hunters simply forget this important aspect of the hunt, or they fail to talk about it much. It’s almost a side-benefit to a punched tag.

    In my experience, a heartfelt conversation with a non-hunter or even a borderline anti-hunter about the health benefits of 100% organic wild game is a quick path to common ground. Toss in some commentary about the purity and honesty of harvesting and processing it yourself so your family is eating only the best quality food source, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who can argue with you. In a world focused on carbon footprints and eco-this and eco-that, hunting and processing wild game is about as “green” as green gets!

    • Aznealz

      Yep. Well thought and written. Thanks.

    • SoleAdventure

      You’re right on (as usual), Tom! The growing acceptance of hunting is, in many ways, tied directly to the health/eco/green/locavore/natural/organic/authenticity/etc movement. The antlers should be the side-benefit…the meat is the purpose!

  • 365Whitetail

    Great article, Mark! As someone said, “Hunting is a great hobby, but a very poor god.” The temptation is real for all of us. Appreciate your transparency and honesty. Wishing you the best as you head out West.

    • SoleAdventure

      Great quote, Randy – Thanks for sharing!

  • Al Quackenbush

    Well written article, Mark. I am constantly asked why I continue to hunt California. I have yet to arrow an animal here, but to me it is all about getting out there and enjoying myself. I have had people tell me I don’t hunt enough to write a blog. I laugh because I put my family first and if I have to miss an opening day or a weekend of hunting to spend time with my family, well you bet I will.

    The jealousy part kinda drives me nuts. I see people getting down on other hunters, especially young hunters who have great success. It is sad when a hunter bags on another for their success. You are right. We should congratulate the hunter for his/her success and strive to work harder ourselves.

    This is one of your best articles. I hope many eyes get to see it!

    • SoleAdventure

      I admire your persistence and passion for hunting in CA! It’s going to be a glorious victory when you harvest a hog or deer out there.

      • Al Quackenbush

        My wife will be happy, too!

  • John Abernathey

    awesome article Mark, best one I’ve read in awhile! keep up the good work. cant wait to see your colorado hunt go down!

    • SoleAdventure

      Thanks, John! You’re a great example of how to do it right!