-I AM A HUNTER-

Hunting….What does that mean? When you think of hunting, what comes to your mind? Deer camp, beers with your buddies, shooting a big trophy? For me, especially as a kid, my mind set was certainly this way. I just wanted a deer. THE BIGGEST DEER and I didn’t care how I got it, I just wanted it! My Dad was always setting up my spots teaching me how to find the wild game trails, rubs, scraps, and the perfect trees to hang my climber. And then at hunting camp I would sit around the table and listen to all of the stories of years past from the mighty hunters that I was fortunate enough to be around. I still think about those stories and how star struck I was at every word that came from their mouths. As I got older in my hunting career, I really started to pay attention to the wise council of the mighty hunters that told such great stories. Their knowledge helped influence, shape, and sharpen me into the hunter and person that I am today.

So now I’m a grown man with 20 years of hunting under my belt and I find that more and more often, this handful of thoughts are what people seem to be concentrating on. It seems that the world wants to take these stereotypical ideas and label all hunters with these mind sets. We are all just a bunch of beer drinking, animal killing, damn I can’t wait to get my ass away from the family bunch of dirties! And although I love my buddies, enjoy me some brew and the end result of hunting generally ends up with the taking of an animal’s life, that is far from the core of what hunting is. “Hunting” is that fill you up feeling of I’ve just done something worth doing! It’s to sit and literally become one with nature, or to be so elusive that you rival the most cunning of predators.

When I sit in the woods…still…silent…for hours on end. The woods become alive! I creep in the woods before daylight making as little noise as possible getting settled into my blind or stand, waiting for day break. In the dark…silent…still….every noise peaking my senses and jump starting my heartbeat. The dark begins to fade and light slowly creeps it’s way in through the trees. It’s cold..real cold…but day break is magical, eye opening and full of surprises. As the sun begins to break over the horizon, it hits my face and is warm and comforting. At the same time the woods starts to come to life, the birds singing, squirrels chasing each other and those damn wood peckers squawking and pecking on the damn trees. Personally I don’t even know why God created wood peckers. Maybe the devil did just to annoy the piss out of us hunters. I mean if they were legal to shoot, I’d be having “pecker pot pie” on the reg…….yeah that didn’t come out right…. Ok back to it…

So with all that happening, I hone my ears to all these sounds, sharpen my eyes to every bush, tree, branch and even leaf. Constantly listening and looking for anything different in “MY” surroundings, for I have molded myself into my surroundings and became one with the life that surrounds me. CRACK! What was that?!….where did it come from?…”leaves shuffle”…..it’s behind me…what is it? My mind begins to wonder, is it a doe? What if it’s a monster buck?! Calm down…. breathe…you haven’t even seen what’s coming yet. Should I turn around and look? NO! Remember what you’ve practiced, be patient…wait.

Minutes seem like hours as I sit there waiting, wondering, trying to not give myself away. Trying to control my heartbeat that wants to pound it’s way out of my chest! Finally I get a glimpse of something from the corner of my right eye. Yup, I was right, I did good. He’s a nice buck, not a world record but everything about him has me excited! He steps behind a tree, I’ve got a brief second to grab my bow and I do so…he hangs out behind the tree longer than I thought. You need to draw back. I do so. Now I’m nocked, locked, and ready to rock. Breathe…is your cheek placement correct? Yes…ok just hold this position…breathe…wait for the right moment. The buck steps out from behind the tree. Hold it man.. hold it. Concentrate, just 2 more steps……NOW! I take the shot. My arrow flies and in virtually slow motion, my eyes follow the bright green illuminated nock of my arrow as it streams towards its destination. Then I hear it. THWACK! The sound of success! My arrow met it’s mark! I watch him run off into the dense forest. I then sit down and breathe as my hands and legs begin to shake. I have to talk to myself in order calm down. I tell myself good job, you did it! Then I bow my head and thank God for all he has given me and the opportunity to harvest such a beautiful animal for my family and myself.

Ok so this may not depict all hunters, but since being apart of the online hunting community for a few years now, I’ve come to know tons of great hunters from all different walks of life and most all of them seem to have the same mindset and mission as myself… to show others that hunting isn’t just about the kill, it’s about everything that leads up to it! The camaraderie, memories, influences, stories! The scouting, planting, time away from home, practice with your weapon and most importantly in my book, the meals your harvested animal brings to your table! All of these things go into what makes a hunt special, what gets your heart beating! Even as I wrote this my heart began to beat thinking about the past and what is to come this season. I’m so thankful that my Dad took the time to take me to the woods and pass down his knowledge of hunting. I plan on doing the same with my son if he so chooses, and also to anyone else who is willing to listen. Knowledge is power and the more we as hunters immerse ourselves in the knowledge of our lifestyle and expose those to what makes our heartbeat and why we do it, the sooner this world will see the true makings of a mighty hunter. I am a son, husband, father, provider,…… I am….a hunter.

– Home Cookin Hunter –    www.homecookinhunter.com