Loving the Hunt: Enjoying the Small Things Again

Paul CampbellContributor IAugust 18, 2010

STEAMBOAT - SEPTEMBER 22:  Nordic combined skier Johnny Spillane scouts for elk near Buffalo Pass on September 22, 2005 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Spillane also lives in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images


Hunting as an essential necessity of survival faded decades, quite possibly centuries ago in America. For a majority of hunters, the “sport” of hunting is just that—a sport. For some it is the only way they provide food for their families. But for most, myself included, it is purely an obsession providing memories, building character, and providing our families with wonderful and healthy food.

Humanity, in its infancy, was built on the skills of the hunter. Today, companies, television shows, celebrities, and a multi-billion dollar industry are built on the skill of the hunter.

As with everything else in this country, the hunting industry has been highjacked by unrealistic expectations, illusions of grandeur, constant marketing, infomercials, FPS, MOA, cutting diameter, best camo, pattern this, most effective that, dvds, Twitter, Facebook, and 24 hour outdoor entertainment television. The list of noise could go on for pages.

I understand the concept of making a profit. I get it. I get the idea of using celebrity spokespeople to pitch your product.

But weed through all the noise of the modern hunting industry, the pressure to get the fastest bow, or the rifle that all the celebrities are using or the most expensive camo gear you can get, and come to the reality that many weekend hunters will never see. Harvest a true trophy white tail, while people on hunting shows pass up 140s class bucks because they’re not big enough.

Think back to the first time you ever stepped into the Turkey Woods, or spent a weekend in Deer Camp. Do you remember the first time you put a buck into your sights, or a Tom came running to your feeble attempts to sound like a boss hen?

Remember the perfect sunrise on a cold October morning as you sat in your tree stand, fog burning off the fields as all wildlife awakens, the sun warming your face, and the idea of arrowing the buck of a lifetime helping you forget that you didn’t eat breakfast.

Remember the first time you shot at a duck, and you realized that they fly a lot faster than they look. Think of the proud feeling you have when you cook a meal that was provided by an animal you shot.

Did tears well up in your eyes when your son or daughter shot their first deer after years of learning from you? Does peace fall upon you when you leave your job on Friday, leave the city, and head to the woods?

These are the reasons we hunt. The reasons why we sit in trees in the middle of winter for hours, or walk into freezing water to place decoys. This is why we spend hours sighting in a bow or gun, why we spend our hard earned money on gear, or anger our wives by not spending our vacation time with them but with our friends and the woods.

The peace that comes with being in the woods and beholding all that nature has to offer keeps us coming back for more. If hunting were hectic and chaotic we wouldn’t enjoy it. Hunting offers us the peace we seek and the chance to fill the primal desires we have to be the hunter, to dominate nature, to kill.

Slow down. Embrace the quiet and the challenge of hunting. Hunt like a child again. Ignore the noise and constant pressure, and start to enjoy hunting and the outdoors again.

A person only has so many years to hunt. Cherish them. Share them with others. Be free and go hunt with a peaceful mind and renewed spirit