For many of us, fall is football, back to school, and hunting. This is often a solem tradition that has been passed down through many generations from grandparents to parents and is now something that many of us share with our children.
In my case, my dad was not a hunter; so, hunting was shared with my uncles and cousins. I can still remember every visit back to see my extended family. We were in the woods hunting every chance we got. It didn’t matter if it was raccoons, rabbits, turkey, or deer. It was such a great feeling to just be out in nature and creating memories with my uncles and cousins.
Those glorious hours in the stand, spent glassing from the side of a mountain, or in a secluded blind, give us a break from our daily lives and time to reconnect with ourselves, people, and nature. It is this natural connection to the land, nature, and survival that draws us to the woods.
As John Muir once said, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” This connection, this calling has been part of our DNA since the dawn of time. Long ago our ancestors had to hunt for their food to live and sustain life, but now we have every convenience at our fingertips. However, it doesn’t matter if the calling is still the same. Our tools have changed from rocks and spears to modern firearms and modern archery; but we still hunt for food and provide for our families.
No matter if you were able to scout during the off-season or just did some e-scouting with your favorite hunting app, the planning, prepping, and thinking about the hunting season are on your mind constantly. It does not matter your age, you can be 12 or 60, the night before you are to head out on your hunting trip and just like a child trying to sleep on Christmas Eve.
The excitement of what’s to come takes over your body and your mind. Good luck shutting it off and getting a good night's sleep.
Once the day arrives, it’s time to get to camp. Some camps are what some may consider glamping (having every comfort of home). Others may go a little more rustic or for some you may go solo and hike into the backcountry. Though it doesn’t matter where you are sleeping, the mountains are calling, and you are hunting.
The thrill of the hunt is great and being able to harvest an animal is the ultimate goal, but for me, it’s about the people. Having those experiences when I was a kid with my uncle, his buddies, and my cousin set in motion this sense of camaraderie. The people are what makes the hunting season memorable every year.
So, who cares if you hear the same stories? Maybe the antlers have grown since last year or the shot was a little further out this time; being in a camp with people you care about and doing something you enjoy puts you in a better place physically, emotionally, and mentally. It is about reconnecting, with yourself, people, and nature, and how you come away a better person.