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.
I remember walking the final miles back to the trailhead beneath the stars. My legs were weary but I could not help looking around in the dark and feeling like a wild man. The air was cool and fresh, the moon glimmered on the nearby river, and my heart felt alive. It was a successful hunt in my book.
I always want to remember why I hunt. The vacuum of Instagram photos, trophy scores, competition, gear, and recognition is powerful with the uncanny ability to make us greedy and forgetful. What about recognizing God's beauty in creation, refreshment, camaraderie, and adventure?
Naturally, I want to fill my tag and, of course, I will test my hunting prowess by pursuing the "big one." All I am saying is, if I give it my all and keep my priorities right, it is a successful hunt regardless of a punched tag or not.
I live in a hunting mecca during a time when abundant technology attempts to sell the glamour of trophy animals as the definition of a successful hunter. While social media has its value, I fear it is objectifying antlers and trophies to a form of lust—causing hunters to forget the wonder of creation, camaraderie, and the value of the animal. Sometimes, it is the little things along the way that matter most.
We must remember the accomplishment of the summit is only fulfilling and enriching if the climb is a worthy challenge.
As always, nothing good comes easy.