The entire aspect of a day’s hunt touches every one of your senses. The fresh smell of damp leaves as your boot presses the edge of a creek bank when you cross a mirrored image of rolling water, the feeling of a slow breeze on a warm day drifting down the back of your collar or the sight of heavy steam flowing in front of you as your breath escapes into a cold winter morning. The feeling of anticipation at first light as the sun slowly creeps just above the tree tops while you wait for the sun’s warmth to reach you as you sit in the cold. The hunt itself is made up of more than just a simple harvest but essentially all the surrounding events that lead to the end result.
I believe that it is the obsession of the harvest that ultimately drives every hunter. The idea of harvesting game, the opportunity of the shot and the excitement of the moment. Hunters dream, talk, plan and tell the stories of their hunts. I have days when my obsession to harvest game drives me to study the woods in extreme detail and spend time in heavy thought of how game is moving through the woods. Questions often haunt me as I try to determine what they are eating, where are they going and how can I be in the right place at the right time. Once I start thinking on those terms I usually always harvest game. There are other occasions where I become so relaxed in the enjoyment of the woods that I spend all my time just admiring the amazing scenery and the changes in the outdoors. This state is often found when I already have a freezer full of game.
Hunting can often test you patience and bring on frustration at all levels. I remember many days in the early part of the season trying to remain totally still while the sound of one or two small mosquitoes filled my ears with total aggravation. The hardest part is remaining patient and trying not to move while the attacking insects attempt to expose your presence. Another great feeling of frustration happens when spending a long time walking quietly only to accidentally snap a twig which sends something bolting through the woods far away from you. Most likely the most difficult frustration of all can be taking a shot at your desired prey only to just barely miss the animal as your watch helplessly while it continues out of sight.
All the frustrations and difficulties eventually bring on the amazing moment when your hard work pays off. The exciting moment when you see your prey, make the shot and are able to finally take possession of your harvest. The celebrations of the moment and the incredible memories often seem to stay imprinted in my thoughts for years.
The experiences of hunting can leave great memoires to reflect upon and shared stories to pass on for generations. The obsession of hunting is something that only each hunter can truly feel and know but sharing our obsession through stories and the day’s adventures is what builds the fires in others. Take the time to share the obsession so others can have the opportunity to enjoy the experience.
Story by Hampton Brewer AKA VAOUTDOORSMAN