Lose Yourself In The Hunt and You’ll Find So Much More
Ours is a story as old as time itself.
Recent evidence suggests early humans were hunting over two million years ago. In fact, archeologists now think that ancient meat eating may have fueled big changes in the Homo species at the time. Hominin brains got bigger, body sizes increased and they began leaving Africa for Eurasia. It’s now believed that meaty meals provided the energy for those transformations.
Hunting changed us then and it still changes us now.
It affects our mind, body and spirit in ways that are easy to see yet difficult to explain. We see what others cannot see. Hear what others refuse to hear. Feel what others are too busy to feel.
We are truly connected to the world and know our place in it.
Willing participants in the process of life and death, a flood of emotions run through us when an animal falls to our skill. Feelings of joy, achievement, even pride are tempered with a touch of remorse, guilt and sadness knowing a life was taken by our hand. Those who hunt understand this internal struggle, while those who don’t unfortunately never will.
Harvesting an animal, regardless of size or season, may be the final act of the hunt but it doesn’t define the experience. In fact, it goes much deeper than that.
Hunting Feeds The Mind
In a world so often defined by instant gratification, hunting promises something entirely different. It involves patience, work, commitment and a desire to constantly learn with no guarantee of success. That’s what makes it special.
Hunting forces us to focus on little things most people ignore: wind speed and direction, weather patterns, distant animal sounds. We look for subtle rubs or scrapes, thick cover where animals bed down and natural shooting lanes. We learn to be quiet—to listen more than we talk. To blend in rather than stand out. In short, we concentrate on being part of the natural world rather than the master of it.
That concentration, that mental calibration on the task at hand, actually clears the mind of everything else. We soon find ourselves lost in the sights, sounds, actions and emotions of the hunt itself. And that cleansing freedom allows us to live in the moment. A moment where purpose becomes singular. Where outside influence and distraction fade. Where intense focus creates a space for peace to exist.
Hunting Pushes The Body
The game we love isn’t played on city streets or virtual platforms. It’s found where the dirt road ends; beyond the trappings and comfort of modern society. Deep in the hardwood forests. Throughout the open plains. High above the alpine meadows. Across the never-ending tundra. That’s where we find the deer and elk and antelope and caribou, and that’s where we go.
It’s not easy. Lacing up the boots and strapping on a heavy pack at the trailhead, you mentally prepare for the physical test to come. Weather and terrain and altitude will try to push you around, but they just give you a reason to push back. To hike one more mile. Cross one more stream. Round one more bend. Just because you can.
A certain exhilaration comes from moving beyond your own physical limits. You quickly realize those restraints are often self-imposed and you can do much more than you think. Hunting may help us find our place in the natural world but it also helps us find our true selves in the process.
Hunting nourishes the soul
It happens the moment we climb out of the truck or bush plane. A smile begins to appear as we soak up the view, take in a deep breath and head out for the tree stand, blind or distant ridgeline. Every step we take puts us farther from the grind of life and closer to the source of it.
This is where we find perspective; where the daily hustle, pressure and stress of the life we live fades into distant memory. By losing ourselves in the hunt, we end up finding so much more.
We reconnect with family and friends in lasting ways. We discover strength and future fireside stories battling the elements. We uncover courage pushing ourselves and we gain confidence when packing out a successful harvest. All of which somehow makes us feel more…complete.
It’s so inexplicable that it seems almost instinctive.
Because it is.