Do you ever think of why you hunt? When I ask this question, I mean like why do you do all the crazy things that you might do? What's the point of getting up at 4:00am, or sitting in a tree for hours in subzero temperatures? I have been pondering this question for quite some time now. I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic in the comment section or on the Facebook post for this article.
When I ask the question of why we hunt, what I'm really getting at is what do we crave? As hardcore deer hunters, what are we really searching for, besides the fact that we all want to kill big bucks? There has to be something that we are constantly searching for, because when it comes down to it, if we shoot a big mature buck, we're not suddenly done hunting right? We may hunt in another state, or at the very least you will hunt again next year, and the year after that, so what is it that we are constantly craving?
Close Proximity to Animals
If your a bowhunter like I am, something that makes me always want to sit in the stand, besides the fact I could shoot a big buck, is being one with the animals. We are constantly being as stealthy as we can be, sitting in a tree, or ground blind for hours upon hours. When we are out sitting, waiting for deer, how many times have you come back to the house with a cool story about how a bird landed on your stand, a mere inches from your body, not knowing you were there. How about that one time maybe a doe and her two fawns fed at the base of your tree for a half hour, clueless of your existence. These are moments we live for, and can never get enough of.
The Constant "Anything could happen"
Be honest, how many times has, "you never know, it could be tonight" come out of your mouth before heading to the field? I know for me it's about every other time I go out to hunt. I think we crave the fact, that we really never know what's going to happen while we are out pursuing whitetails. It doesn't matter what time of the year it is, if we have a buck patterned or not, or if we even have a trail camera at the location your going to hunt. Every single hunt is different, and the fact that while sitting in a tree, being one with mother nature is never the same, is something that drives us, subconsciously to go hunting as much as were possibly allowed.
We all know the feeling right? That feeling of deciding your going to shoot a deer that is approaching you, and you start shaking like a leaf. The beauty of this, is it doesn't even have to be some giant buck. I get like this for every single deer I shoot. The adrenaline rush us deer hunters get is an addiction in itself. Non-hunters will never be able to understand the moment of shooting a deer and the feeling it creates within you. I like to think back to the first deer I ever shot. For me, it was a yearling with my bow at age 15. I can remember the hunt like it was yesterday, and the feeling that came along with it. I think for most of us, that first deer we shot was the start of an addiction. I was hooked, and it created something in me that craved that situation again and again, and there is nothing else that can replicate it.
Appreciating God's Creation
What I mean by this, is how often do we marvel at sunsets, or sunrises while sitting in the treestand? Or how many times do you pull out your phone or camera to take a quick picture of something that just amazes you. It might be just of the forest floor because of the way the sun is hitting it. Maybe it's of a frosty, sparking food plot, just after sunrise. As a bowhunter myself, and being out in the stand around 50 days a season, I am always appreciating the sites I get to see, and I am always excited to know that I may see something that is so beautiful, it almost isn't fair that others aren't seeing what I might be seeing in a particular instance.
Friendships That Last a Lifetime
I'm putting this into the category of things we crave, because I think a lot of us would be lost if it wasn't for hunting. Think for a second about all of the friends you have in life. Odds are most of them hunt? Maybe you even hunt because of them? Some of my hunting buddies will be my best friends for as long as I live. I always tend to think of my mentors that got me into hunting, and how much they have taught me not only about deer, but about life in general. If it wasn't for hunting, I would be a completely different person than I am today.
After giving this a lot of thought, I think these 5 things are what most deer hunters crave more than anything else. It's not always about just shooting a big buck, because if it was only about that, many of us would have multiple seasons that we would call unsuccessful. But the experiences along the way in themselves are just as important as anything else. The things we crave are more important than the kill itself, and they are what defines a successful season. I'd love to hear from you if you agree with me, or if there is something else that we crave as lifelong deer hunters.