Don’t Ever Forget

28 Jan

Here is a really quick article I wrote the other night while I was up with the flu.

 

Hunting is my passion, it is my life.

Hunting is my passion, it is my life.

 

How many of you remember your very first trip in to the timber? Do you remember the sights, sounds, and smells? Do you remember the excitement, the anticipation? Were you by yourself, with your father or uncle? Do you remember the first time you ever drew back or settled your scope on a deer, your first kill, your first buck kill? Do you remember the feeling you had when you walked up on your first successful harvest? Do you remember the disappointment of your first miss, or the first time you hit a deer but never recovered it?

When I was younger, somewhere around 1986 let’s say, I can remember one of the first times my father ever took me fishing. We sat on the bank of a creek that made its way through a cattle pasture. I can remember that my excitement level was spilling over as my father helped me dodge cow pies on our way to a sand bar in the shade of a locust grove. We were armed with a can of corn, a couple discount poles, and our target was bullhead and carp. After a heavy layer of suntan lotion, it was time to fish.

I don’t remember what month it was, but I do remember it was warm. I wasn’t that good as casting, but I had practiced reeling with a sinker weight on my grandparents front yard. I felt confident that I could get the job done when the bobber went under.

It didn’t take long for that bobber to go under. “DAD! DAD! DAD! DAD!” I was so excited that I forgot how to reel, I just started walking backwards. It took my fathers encouragement to remind me what I needed to do to get the fish to shore. Within a minute I had landed my very first fish, a small bullhead. Once the fish was out of the water I did what little boys do best. I remember observing its every feature, poking it with a stick, and asking my dad hundred questions. After my father felt like the fish had enough torture he kicked it back in the water. The rest of the afternoon was spent laughing, catching fish, and him answering the questions that little boys ask. I will never forget this day, and one day I hope to explain and repay my dad that this day, among others, influenced my love for the outdoors.

Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love bowhunting, but in 2012 and 2013 I lost my way.  I found myself comparing myself to other hunters who did not have the same hunting setup as myself. I found myself getting antler envy. I was doing and saying things that in the past I would have never done. I lost track of what hunting was all about. I realized that I was taking the fun out of hunting. It was at the end of the 2013 season that I had an “Ah-Ha” moment. I had turned in to the person that I despised. That year I had a pretty big life change, and I made a promise to myself that I would never again think or act like that again. 

The 2014 season was spent repaying a favor to a friend and acting as a camera man. That year I gave up my rut vacation and focused on getting him a deer on a property I hunt. To be honest, it was a nice break away from being a hunter, I think my soul needed that. I was able to sit in the tree and just enjoy Mother Nature.

Since 2006 I made the decision to try to document my hunts on camera. Partly because I wanted to be able to show and share all of my hunts with my friends, and partly because I had been a part of a “Hunting Show”. About two weeks in to my 2015 season I made the decision put down the camera equipment and just hunt. This was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. As a bowhunter you know there is a period of time before you actually start hunting that is used to pull up your bow, hang up your pack, check your safety harness, and so on. For me, I also had to set up my camera arm, my camera, check the lighting, and make sure the setting on the camera were where they needed to be. When I decided to stop filming, it was weird for me. I was used to getting in the stand and spending 15-30 minutes setting up my camera gear. The first time I decided to not bring my camera I was in the tree stand 90 minutes before sunrise thinking I forgot something. It was a refreshing feeling knowing that I had one less thing to worry about and I got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes every day.

Although 2015 was a difficult year, it felt good to get back to the basics, getting back to just hunting, just enjoying myself, just absorbing the world around me. I needed that. Will I ever film my hunts again? Maybe.

I guess the whole point of this article, in a very indirect way, is to remind you about how much fun hunting was when you first started. If for some reason you are feeling some sort of pressure to kill, if you have lost focus of what is important to you, if you are passing deer that deep down inside you really want to kill, or you have stopped having fun… stop it. Take it from someone who has been there, it’s not worth ruining friendships, your passion, the resource. Hunting is about memories, nature, and is my passion, and that’s something that I don’t ever want to lose track of again. Let’s all get that excitement back and just have fun!

Thanks for reading,
Dan (DFW)

3 Responses to “Don’t Ever Forget”

  1. Tom Waters January 28, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Amen.

    Recreation. We need to examine that word in relation to hunting. Given the correct attitude of gratitude in our pursuits, we will re-create ourselves within the process.

    Thank you for reminding us to do just that.

  2. Dave January 29, 2016 at 12:24 am #

    Well said Dan, I knew and know guys like the person you turned into. I can tell by listening to both wired and nine fingers your not that guy anymore. Hunting deserves and means more than that. As far as filming. I never had that desire. If I wanted to video, I’d be at weddings every Saturday. Not in a tree stand. I’m there to hunt. That’s it. Keep up the good work my friend.

  3. Joe January 31, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    Great article Dan. Hold on to that first passion and things will be great. You should be very proud of the choices you have made to change your direction, your world is a better place because of it.

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