Technology benefits humanity in countless ways. Medical treatment is better than ever, communication is easier, bigger and better buildings are constructed, etc. Technology allows many of us to work from home. In the area of work and health, I can’t argue that technology has been a huge win.
My concern is in the area of recreation, media, and socialization. As individuals, are we slowly losing our ability to think creatively? To socially interact with others? To appreciate the outdoors? I’ve been mulling over these thoughts amidst the Corona Virus scare where we have all been ordered to stay home.
We are living through rare times with this COVID-19 virus. In the last few days, I have been afforded the gift of life slowing down. I took a step back from the situation and analyzed the lessons we should be learning from the experience. I guess it's the silver lining in the cloud. Here are my top five:
When it comes to intentionally developing toughness, most people quit. Why? Well, it's all mental and becoming mentally tough is, well… tough. It requires you to consistently put yourself in uncomfortable situations and to push through the discomfort to completion of the task or experience.
What makes a successful hunt or hunter? Is it a huge set of antlers, memories made, the experience, or meat for the family? If you look at social media, a successful hunt results in trophy antlers. But there is more to it. Was the hunt on public or private? Was it a special draw unit? What was the animal genetics there? Did the hunter find the bull or buck by his skill or by paying outfitters, guides, and scouts to do all the work for him? Ultimately, a successful hunt is in the eye of the beholder. Where I grew up, a small two-point blacktail was a trophy and reason to celebrate. Success is relative and may not even be about the animal. A successful hunt could mean leaving the field thankful for God's beautiful creation, for camaraderie with friends, or for a time of refreshing solitude.
At church recently, my brother-in-law was talking my hunting skills up with a fellow church member I didn't know very well. He quickly came over to ask if he could go hunting with me this fall. Not knowing how to navigate through the urgent and slightly awkward request, I introduced myself and started asking a few questions.
This spring I was blessed to get into the bear woods with a lot of great action. Ultimately, my season ended in a filled tag, but that is a story for another day! Today, one hunt lingers in my thoughts. It was a beauty of a day and I covered 14 miles in stunning country, got a fantastic workout, and didn't see any big game. Yes, I did not see any game but had a blast. I learned about the hunting area and how I can better attack it next time. I left refreshed and more knowledgeable.
During casual lunchtime conversation, a coworker recently posed two hypothetical hunting opportunities and asked which I would choose. The catch: it would be the last hunt I could ever go on.
The balance of marriage and hunting is a challenge. For some couples, the process is more natural than for others. The best balance results in an enriched marriage. The worst balance leads to a hunter's spouse feeling resentful, lonely, and jealous.
The arrow has been released and flown true. The blood trail was short due to the ethical shot. Now you stand over your kill. What do you feel? Simple joy? Sorrow? For others less in tune with the wild, there may be little emotion at all. Why does this even matter? Perspective plays a key role in the big picture of our approach to conservation. With no respect for the beast pursued, thoughtless killing takes place. Such a perspective lends no hand to stewardship and historically places animal populations on the brink of extinction.
SB 127 is a bill recently introduced in the state of Montana. If passed, the bill will make it illegal to sell information or coordinates revealing the location of game animals. The point of this bill is to support fair chase hunting. The bill prevents people from paying large sums of money to kill a trophy class animal someone else found on public land. SB 127 is not about habitat or animal populations; it is about ethics. It is a sad state of affairs when hunting becomes about the highest bidder paying not to hunt but to kill for a living room decoration.