For the past handful of years I have been immersed myself into the world bowhunting and learned as much as I possibly could about every aspect of the pursuit. This journey has increased my passion for hunting, but it’s also left a bitter taste in my mouth. My attempts to learn as much as I can about bowhunting have been fulfilling and defeating. This pursuit has been part Jekyll, part Hyde.
You see, hunting isn’t meant to be mastered. And we, as hunters, aren’t meant to embark upon the pursuit as something that can be completely planned for, strategized, and understood. Our movements in the wilderness should be driven by instinct, and not primarily the byproduct of what we’ve read, researched and rehearsed as the latest and greatest what-you-should-do tactic that was shared in the most recent article we read; or, God forbid, from the (most likely horrible) hunting show we watched.
Too many hunters have confused passion with seriousness. If you truly want to treat hunting as a serious endeavor, then I certainly don’t want to derail your efforts. But I think most of us have been subtly convinced that if we want to love and enjoy hunting, then we must spend all year obsessing about it and preparing for it. (I’ve been guilty of preaching that message at times, too.) But most of us will find that increasing the seriousness of hunting will decrease our enjoyment of it.
After all, the industry (affirmed by our egos) has convinced us that joy is found in hunting when – and only when – we wrap our hands around massive headgear. But what the industry fails to disclose is how many of these success stories are paid for. (I am not saying that these aren’t fair chase hunts, but the fact remains that even most of the “earned trophies” are the byproduct of opportunities that are paid for. That’s another topic for another day…)
Two weeks from today I will awake in the dark, climb a steep mountain ridge, and bugle out over the trees – hoping that a bull elk’s response rises into a heated fervor, as the sun does the same. You see, I am still really passionate about hunting, but I don’t want to master it anymore. I am perfectly content with whatever adventure unfolds as I enter into the untamed wildness of hunting, instead of trying to use my knowledge to control it or guarantee a result that was never meant to be under my dominion.
I don’t know what’s going to happen, and its better that way.