Monday, July 7, 2008

A Brief Look Back

As many of you know, I recently started hunting again. I hadn’t hunted since I was probably a senior in high school and even as a youth, while I had hunted some, I never really got in to it as more than just a casual hobby. I have always enjoyed the outdoors but never got obsessive about hunting because you had to get up early and it was too cold among other reasons.

Cut to many years later, after I quit Drivn (the band I had been in, on and off again, for the last 6 years) I realized I needed a new hobby to take up my time. I had slowly been rediscovering my love for the outdoors, and doing a lot of hiking and just anything outdoors related. After giving it some thought, I decided to give hunting another try. Needless to say, I have found a new lifetime hobby and I’m really glad! It’s a hobby that not only gives me some much needed exercise but it also gives me time to clear my head and think, a peek into the animal kingdom, challenge, adventure, and a view into things that I would never see unless I spent some time in the woods. I have developed a passion for hunting that is rivaled by only my family and friends. There are not many places that I would rather be now than out in nature.

I’ve had some great adventures since I started hunting again. I have gained strength in my mental toughness and determination, confidence in my abilities to survive off of the land, and my appreciation for wildlife has been regained. I’m in better shape now and I’ve learned to enjoy simple things like watching birds flit around through my binoculars. I’ve also learned just how shy a squirrel can be and how funny a bird can look at you when you’re in a treestand 20 feet off of the ground. I like taking pictures of deep woods that I would never have seen if I hadn’t ventured out. I’ve also enjoyed the thought of teaching all that I’m learning to my son, Harry III. Part of what fuels me to keep going is wanting to teach him to set goals and keep at them so he can achieve anything no matter how hard it seems to be. I also want to teach him to enjoy being outside and to not base his life around TV and video games as most of this generation does. Maybe one day he’ll be the next hunting celebrity that all the outdoor channels are featuring! No matter what, I want him to get to know what it’s like to be outdoors, then he can decide how much he wants to be involved in it after that.

Hunting has taught me to pay more attention to my environment, politics, and conservation. I’ve learned more about such things as topographic and aerial maps as well as just learning more about this country in general. It has brought me closer to some of my friends and to my dad as well. When I was younger, Dad had always been active as an outdoorsman. Once retired, he became very inactive and was not in very good shape. He has really gotten back into hunting and fishing though and really enjoys having a hobby and spending time with me doing something he had forgotten that he loved. Obviously, hunting has gotten me interested in writing again as well. I started out just keeping a hunting journal to keep track of what I was doing, and whether my techniques were working or not. It has made me love writing again, and with such a great subject as hunting and the outdoors, it’s so easy. My attitude towards life has improved as well. There’s just something about knowing your place in the world that tells you things are going to be alright, even when times get tough. Knowing that you can handle the cold and ferocity of the wild puts a bad day at work into perspective for sure. There’s nothing like taking on Mother Nature to let you know how tough you really are. Without mental and physical toughness nature can beat you down very quickly. There is such a challenge in spending a cold, snowy, December day on a treestand, but it’s worth it to experience the quiet of a new fallen snow alone in the deep woods where not everyone will venture. The sense of accomplishment you feel from knowing that you tried and survived when nature itself seems out to get you is tremendous.

There’s also nothing like the taste of food you have harvested yourself, whether it’s fresh vegetables from your garden or an animal that you have taken. Wild animals are much healthier than the steroid fed animals that most people buy at the local store. They generally have less fat and definitely have no additives.

I have to say that I feel so grateful for the fact that I’ve rediscovered my love for hunting and the great outdoors! I also feel that due to the way things have unfolded in my life I feel that one of my new missions in life is to be a spokesman for the outdoors lifestyle. I’ve been on the other side and I know of all the stereotypes and misconceptions of hunting and I feel it’s my duty to do all I can to educate people and let them know that hunters are some of the best people out there and that hunting is a great lifestyle to pursue. There are so many people out there that are misled in their believes about hunters and we as outdoors people have to get out there and show them that these believes simply are not true. I really want to become a truly great hunter and outdoorsman but if nothing else I really want to bring more people in to this lifestyle. I know that this lifestyle is not for everyone but I really want to open up minds and bring education to those out there who don’t understand what we are all about!

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