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Looking In


Myself with a doe I harvested during Indiana's 2017 firearms season.

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I want to jump right into things and discuss a subject that I don’t hear come up much in my everyday life or the media. When looking in from the outside, I’ve found that non-hunters (not just anti’s, but the general form of non-hunters) don’t look much past the kill of the hunter. They constantly fail to recognize the preparation, patience, determination, hardships and just the general process of the hunt. I know most of you are following because you are sportsman yourself, but if you’re not try to hear me out. I’m going to use whitetails as an example since deer season is rapidly approaching and because I think it is most easily relatable to the general public. I’m also going to note that this writing is focused more towards compulsive deer hunters and less towards the “opening day of gun season crowd.”


Scouting

Nothing comes easy in the real world. Most hunters don’t have access to hundreds of acres of virgin hunting ground that’s been seeded with the years newest highbred of clover or some other sort of “secret” food plot mixture. Finding deer means finding the food sources (outside of the rut). Scouting takes time and often a lot of time in order to be successful. We utilize Google Earth, topo maps, and other forms of data before ever putting boots on the ground. Once we have found a “promising” spot we again spend hours upon hours walking and observing doing our best to narrow down that specific area until we are convinced that it will bring us the highest success rate. We don’t just strap a hunk of metal to a tree and hope we see a deer. The ones that do are often unproductive.


Jingle

We spend extensive amounts of money on tags, bows, guns, clothing, safety equipment, scents and calls. We are additionally taxed for purchasing outdoor recreation equipment which in turn helps to fund conservation of the activity that we hold so dear to our hearts. We often spend hundreds of dollars in fuel throughout the season just, so we can get those here and there glances of the game that we pursue. To be truthful, it’s downright expensive.


Practice

Most non-hunters think you just pick up a gun or a bow and head on out to the woods to shoot a deer. It’s so much more than that. It takes energy. It takes persistence. You have to practice and most of all you have to be willing to put in the time. You have to be dedicated. It doesn’t come easy and those that tell you that it does so are lying. Have you ever heard “If you don’t use it you lose it?” same applies here. Still don’t believe me? Watch the crowd that practices and the crowd that doesn’t. Who’s more successful?


Grit

If you’re from the Midwest, you probably know how brutal the summers can be and how cold the winters can get. Many of us can be found hanging stands in 100-degree temperatures in July and then found sitting in those same stands when its 0-degree wind chill. We battle the elements that we have a love-hate relationship with. Sometimes mother nature plays nice, but more than often she can be downright ornery. We sit for hours, waiting for the deer of a lifetime whom is often a no call no show. We hold steady and practice self-control hoping that soon all the hard work will pay off. We go days without seeing deer, our minds telling us that they may have gone extinct. Sometimes we question our sanity.


Aesthetics

One of the big things non-hunters overlook when thinking about hunting is the beauty of nature and the natural world. There is nothing like a cold frosty morning watching the sun come up through the trees or a slightly breezy 80-degree late afternoon hunt on the opening day of archery season. You get see the trees slowly fade to fall and then follow them on their journey into hibernation for the winter. You get to see squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and an abundance of other wildlife in its natural environment. It makes you feel like you’re part of the big picture and not caught up in the domestication of the human world. For a moment, you’re free.

These are just a few points I feel like a lot of non-hunters fail to recognize when they generalize hunting. So many people think it’s about the kill, but for myself hunting is about the whole experience. The good, bad beautiful and ugly. I once heard someone say that there are two kinds of experiences in life. Low-grade experiences are something that comes easy without much effort and is fun for the time being, but quickly fades. High-grade experiences (hunting) are something that comes difficult and is often times downright miserable but looking back is highly satisfying and rewarding. What do you prefer?

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